Fact, Fiction or Fallacy

Print this page, then mark your guess/answer as you go.

First, we got an octopus.

Well, hey look over there. There's another octopus. And right behind your head is a third one! Now we have three ...

  1. Octopi
  2. Octopuses
  3. Octopede

Darn, I hate it when those octo...... creep up behind you and jump on your tank. From your tank an octopus can reach around and tug on your regulator, pretending to be a bit of weed snagging your air hose. Hey, give that back ...


Now we got things with hard shells.

Ooh look, there's a crustacean. And right beside it is an echinoderm. And darn, if that's not a bivalve beside them. Yep. I'm looking at .....

  1. A reef star, a nudibranch and a paua.
  2. A paddle crab, a sea cucumber and a scallop.
  3. A crayfish, a kina and a shield shell.

Darn, who cares. Put them all in the pot - someone will eat them.


Jumping shellfish!

If I held this thing in the palm of my hand and it took off by flapping its shells (valves), it would have to be a ...

  1. scallop
  2. horse mussel
  3. bluff oyster

And look, it has at least twenty eyes, all glinting like jewels in the beam of my torch.


Yike, that's big!

Wow, look at that transparent tube! It must be a metre across and about three metres long. I could swim inside it with room to spare. It must be a ...

  1. bryozoa
  2. snakeskin chiton
  3. salp


In the weed line.

I love diving at two metres - that weed line is full of little fish that are always pleased to see me. Now look at these cute wee things. They are all variously emerald green, weedy yellow or silver, but they all have a single spot on their side. They must all be ..

  1. female
  2. spottys
  3. notolabrus celidotus sp.


Still in the weed line.

For a change I have dived down to three metres to check the base of the weed. Daring stuff! After a bit of fossicking I find a hippocampus abdominalis to investigate. It has a thing like a small penis sticking out of the bottom of its abdomen so I know it must be a ...

  1. female
  2. male
  3. juvenile


Canyon country.

It's a great day for diving. The sun is shining, the sea is flat, there is no swell and the wind has been non-existent for three days. We have decided to dive the north coast at Whitireia Point and hunt for stingrays - the person who sees the fewest provides the biscuits when we have our cuppa after the dive. Right, eyes down and looking. Great, there is a dark grey one with white spots along its sides - that's one. Hmm, its been a while now - but hey, look, there's a ray down on the sand between those rocky walls - look at that prominent ridge around its head - that's two. Darn, no more this dive - I was hoping to see a ray with a tail twice as long as its body. Oh well, that would have accounted for ...

  1. a short-tailed stingray, a long-tailed stingray, an eagle ray
  2. a short-tailed stingray, an eagle ray, a long tailed stingray
  3. an eagle ray, a short-tailed ray, a manta ray


Fat black lumps.

Saturday morning again - great! Out for a dive with my buddies - sun shining, bubbles burbling, just tootling along checking out the rock walls along the south coast. Now there is a curious thing - wonder what it is? It looks like a black lump about 150 mm (6 inches) long, just sitting on a rock. When I stroke its back it feels sort of velvety and hey, its back slits open slightly and I can see a shell. This must be ...

  1. a snoozing shield shell
  2. a paua that has lost its shell
  3. a paua growing a new shell
  4. a large sea slug


Right, now for the moment of truth - or otherwise. Lets sort out the facts from the fiction and fallacy.