modified ecosystems

Winter went for a bit of test drive today – stark contrast with the superbly Wellington clarity and brightness of yesterday. Walking along the waterfront I was intrigued to see five different fish species just swimming around by the the rocks, dumped there as part of the construction process.

Triplefin image from were shoals of juvenile mullet (probably yellow-eyed mullet – Aldrichetta forsteri), spotties (Notolabrus celidotus), two types of triplefins (Forsterygion lapillum), and cockabullies (Cheimarrichthys fosteri? or maybe Forsterygion ?robustum?). Jeepers, that Forster guy must’ve been busy. Of course he was, he was the naturalist on Cook’s second voyage to New Zealand.

The spotties were particularly lovely in the soft pinky beige – although small they’d already lost the green colour of youth. And it’s possible, if not probable, that the two different types of triplefin was one type, but a female in the gold colours and a male in the mood for lurve in black. How utterly Wellington is that? Even fish wear black when they’re in the mood for lurve. I really like triplefins – they’re a uniquely New Zealand fish. They breed mid-winter to late summer, and they deposit their eggs in a nest. How cute is that?

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