Australasian fishes's Journal

Journal archives for March 2023

March 02, 2023

First record of a Shortbill Spearfish from the South Island of NZ

Cameron Eddy (see photo) caught this Shortbill Spearfish, Tetrapturus angustirostris, on 14th January 2023. It's possibly the first record of a Shortbill Spearfish caught recreationally off the South Island of New Zealand.
Pete Thomas is the Founder and Life President of the Hokitika Offshore Sports Fishing Club. In his words, "We headed out of Greymouth chasing Bluefin Tuna – after a slow day on the water with only a few Albacore landed we finally found a good current edge with some good bird activity. Trolling in the area had the short corner lure hit twice before it stuck. The fight was unusual for a Bluefin Tuna and we were shocked to get a billfish up to the boat! We immediately recognised it as a Shortbill Spearfish as it's quite a distinctive fish. It's not totally unexpected to find a billfish off the West Coast as Striped Marlin and Swordfish are known to be present, and with the highly elevated sea temperatures this season we were discussing the possibility of catching vagrant warm water species."
Pete also stated, "As far as we can find it is the first recorded South Island capture of a Shortbill Spearfish, but no longer the most southerly – that record has been subsequently taken by a fish caught out of Milford sound not long after."
The Shortbill Spearfish is an oceanic species that is rarely observed near the coast. In New Zealand the species is known from off the north and northeast of the North Island. In Australia the species has a wide distribution in tropical, subtropical and temperate waters.
This observation shows the value of citizen science and is yet another example of fishes being found in warm water south of their recognised distribution - perhaps further evidence of climate change.
Thank you to Clinton Duffy (@clinton) for uploading the observation.
Posted on March 02, 2023 01:14 AM by markmcg markmcg | 0 comments | Leave a comment

March 06, 2023

Calling all keen anglers and fish experts

Following on from the journal post about the upcoming Port Macquarie bioblitz, Ted Giblin has provided some additional information.
We would like anglers who are going out on Friday 12th May and Saturday 13th May to record all the fish species they see.
On a normal fishing trip offshore, you might see 3 or 4 different types of fish, maybe lots more.
Let us know, so we can add them to our lists.
You can even take photos if you want - we'll use them.
If you are interested, feel free to drop me an email at tedgiblin@hotmail.com, or phone me on 0487 690 439.
Posted on March 06, 2023 03:06 AM by markmcg markmcg | 0 comments | Leave a comment

March 16, 2023

Juvenile Grey Demoiselle out of range

When Kirsty Wiseman saw a small fish in a rockpool at the southern end of Serenity Bay, New South Wales, she dipped her camera into the water to take photos.
It's a good thing she did because she captured photos of a juvenile Grey Demoiselle, Chrysiptera glauca, well south of its recognised distribution. According to the Australian Faunal Directory the species is recorded south to Minnie Water, northern New South Wales (29°47'S). The fish in Kirsty's observation is about 50km south of this.
To date, the Australasian Fishes Project has documented 31 observations of Chrysiptera glauca. A quick look at the distribution map shows Kirsty's observation located well south of the other observations of the species.
Thank you Kirsty for uploading your observation. It's now one of many observations that show a southern shift of their distributions that may result from climate change.
Posted on March 16, 2023 01:29 AM by markmcg markmcg | 2 comments | Leave a comment

March 28, 2023

New Glidergoby for New Zealand

It's not every day that a species of fish is documented for the first time in New Zealand waters. On February 14, 2023, Craig Johnston, @craigrj, photographed this Blacklined Glidergoby, Valenciennea helsdingenii, at a depth of 12m on the north-west side of White Reef, Deep Water Cove in the Bay of Islands.
Craig said, "I realized it wasn't a species known from New Zealand waters, so I was keen to try and get some good shots of it so it could be identified." Thank you Craig, we are delighted that you did.
In a comment added to Craig's observation, @fiestykakapo pointed out that marine ecologists Crispin and Irene Middleton observed another Blacklined Glidergoby at the Poor Knights Islands, New Zealand on April 17, 2022.
Well done Craig, Crispin and Irene. It must be pretty exciting to photograph a species of fish that is rarely encountered in New Zealand waters.
In Australia, the Blacklined Glidergoby is known to occur from Lizard Island, northern Queensland to Sydney, New South Wales. View the Australian Faunal Directory webpage for the species.
Posted on March 28, 2023 04:31 AM by markmcg markmcg | 0 comments | Leave a comment

March 30, 2023

Have you seen fish using tools?

This post was written by Barrett Wolfe. It first appeared on the Redmap website and is reproduced here with minor changes, so that Australasian Fishes Project members will be made aware of the request.
Some fish use rocks and corals as anvils to crack open hard-shelled prey. The fish images, above and below, were taken by Joseph Garcia. They show a Graphic Tuskfish, Choerodon graphicus, striking a cowrie shell on a rock. Two scientists at Macquarie University, Juliette Tariel-Adam (photo above) and Professor Culum Brown are running a citizen science program on this behaviour and need your help.
Divers have reported that some fish can grab a prey item (typically an urchin or clam) and bash it rapidly and repeatedly onto a hard surface until it breaks. This is a case of tool use: The fish uses an external "object" to extend its physical capabilities and limit the oral damage caused by broken shells or spines.
Have you seen this behaviour during your snorkels, dives or at an aquarium? Please fill the participation form available at https://fishtooluse.com or send an email to juliette.tarieladam@gmail.com. Any information is helpful, so don't hesitate.
Otherwise, open your eyes! You might see a fish using a rock as an anvil very soon. Try to identify and remember the species/genus/family of the fish when you see it.
Your participation would help identify all species of fish that use anvils in order to (1) find out if this behaviour evolved one or more times in the evolutionary history of fish, and (2) test hypotheses about the evolution of tool use, such as whether tool use only evolves in species with large brains. Check the project website if you want to know more https://fishtooluse.com
Posted on March 30, 2023 01:57 AM by markmcg markmcg | 0 comments | Leave a comment