A checklist of the fishes of Goat Island, North Auckland, New Zealand, with an analysis of habitats and associations, BC Russell

Tags: rocky bottom, Zone, habitat associations, Rockfish Family, Whaler Sharks, Grey mullet Family, band, Carpophyllum maschalocarpum, Goat Island, habitat, nocturnal feeders, rocky bottoms, common preference, Red Mullet Family, Blue Maomao Family Pempheridae, Richardson, Rock Cod Family Berycidae, Bloch & Schneider, Bronze Whaler Shark Family Isuridae Isuropsis oxyrinchus, Mako Shark Family Torpedinidae Notastrape fairchildi, John Dory Family Mugilidae, Piper Family Gadidae, Parapercicthyidae Parapercicthys colias Bloch, ray Family, Schneider, Gunther, Family Syngnathidae, Electric Ray Family Dasyatidae
Content: 105 A CHECKLIST OF THE FISHES OF GOAT ISLAND, NORTH A U C K L A N D , NEW Z E A L A N D , WITH AN ANALYSIS OF HABITATS AND ASSOCIATIONS By B.C. Russell* During the two years 1967 to 1969, underwater observations were made of the habitats and associations of fishes; using S C U B A techniques, the observations were limited to calm conditions during daylight. The aims o f the report are: 1. To present a checklist o f fishes and to report on the distribution of each species; 2. To propose a scheme for the analysis of habitats; and 3. To note associations of fishes in each habitat. THE study area Goat Island is typical of most rocky inshore localities of the north-eastern coast of New Zealand. The island is situated close to the Leigh marine laboratory, about 60 miles north of Auckland, and lies just beyond the northern extremity of the Hauraki Gulf. Goat Island itself is a small steep-cliffed island about 100 m . offshore separated from the mainland by a narrow, shallow channel. There is little effect from land run-off in the area, although following a heavy rainfall a small creek sometimes discharges silt into the channel. However, such occurrences are infrequent and there is a general clarity o f water with the underwater visibility averaging 10 m . Seawater temperatures vary between 12°C. (winter low) and 2 2 ° C . (summer high). A virtual isothermal layer extends down to the maximum bottom depth of about 23 m. The eastern side o f Goat Island and the adjacent shore areas not sheltered by the island are exposed to the full influence o f the Pacific from the north to east. Strong winds and rough seas appear to be more frequent in winter than in summer but periods o f calm or rough weather may occur at any time o f the year. Strong winds and heavy seas come from the N . E . and E . S . E . N . E . swells are common and may have an amplitude o f over 2 m . in a storm. The rock in the area is o f hard greywacke basement overlain by softer, welleroded conglomerates and sandstones o f the Waitemata Group. The steep greywacke cliffs of the eastern side of the island continue sublittorally to a *Zoology Department, Auckland University.
107 sandy bottom at 23 m . On the adjacent shores the rock slopes more gradually to an open rocky bottom or shallow sandy b o t t o m at about 6 to 10 m . A great variety of bottom types provides many different habitats for fishes. A detailed account of the sublittoral rock ecology of the study area, with particular reference to the sessile fauna, is given by A y l i n g (1968). A SYSTEMATIC CHECKLIST OF FISHES The nomenclature and order of families follow Whitley (1968). Common NameS for families and species are included where possible, whilst to avoid confusion, the common names are those referred to by Doogue and Moreland (1960). The list covers some 39 families and 62 species which have been observed personally or reported by Ayling (pers comm). ZONATION AND HABITATS A definite pattern of distribution in relation to bottom topography was observed for many fishes. Most species are characteristically restricted to certain bottom features or water levels. Some fishes live in open water, other close to the bottom, and still others in, or amongst the bottom material. This spatial relationship of fishes in the water column suggests a method for the analysis of reef Fish Distribution. On this basis, three zones may be differentiated. 1. A n extensive Hyperfundal* Zone in which the fishes are independant o f the bottom for food and/or shelter, and live in open water. Within this zone two habitats are distinguished: (1) a surface habitat (2) a mid-water habitat 2. A narrower, intermediate, Epifundal Zone containing fishes living close to the bottom, and more or less dependent on it for food and/or shelter. Four habitats are recognised: (1) an algae-covered bottom habitat; (2) a broken rocky bottom habitat; (3) an open rocky bottom habitat; (4) an open sandy bottom habitat. 3. A narrow, lower Infundal Zone, in which the fishes are to a great extent dependant on the bottom for food and shelter, and are always closely associated *The term fundal is used here to emphasise THE RELATIONSHIP of the proposed zones to the sea floor.
fundal 7. one
1 pihind.il Zone
Infundal Zone
Family Galeidae (Whaler Sharks)
Galeolamna brachyurus (Gunther)
Bronze Whaler Shark
Family Isuridae
Isuropsis oxyrinchus (Rafinisque)
Mako Shark
Family Torpedinidae
Notastrape fairchildi (Hutton)
Electric Ray
Family Dasyatidae (Stingrays)
Bathytoshia brevicaudata (Hutton)
Short-tail stingray
Bathytoshia thetidis (Waite)
Long-tail stingray
Family Aetobatidae (Eagle rays)
Aetobatis tenuicaudatas (Hector)
Eagle ray
Family Leptocephalidae (Conger eels)
Leptocephalus verreauxi (Kaup)
Conger eel
Family Muraenidae (Moray eels)
Verdithorax prasinus (Richardson)
Yellow moray eel
Family Syngnathidae (Pipe fishes and seahorses)
Campichthys filum (Gunther)
Short-snouted pipefish
Long-snouted pipefish
Macleayina abdominatis (Lesson)
Family Hemiramphidae (Halfbeaks)
Reporhampus ihi (Phillips)
Family Gadidae (Codfishes)
Physiculus bachus (Bloch & Schneider)
Red Cod
Lotella rhacina (Richardson)
Rock Cod
Family Berycidae (Redsnappers)
Hoplostethus elongatus (Gunther)
Family Zeidae (Dories)
John Dory
Family Mugilidae (Mullets)
Aldrichelta forsteri (Cuvier & Valenciennes)
Grey mullet
Family Acanthoclinidae
Acanthoclinus quadridactylus (Bloch & Schneider) Rockfish
Family Anthiidae (Perches)
Ellerkeldia huntii (Hector)
Banded sea perch
Caesioperca lepidoptera (Bloch & Schneider)
Butterfly perch
Family Carangidae (Jacks)
Usacaranx lutescens (Richardson)
Decapterus koheru (Hector)
Family Arripididae
Arripis truttta (Bloch & Schneider)
Family Mullidae (Goatfishes)
Upeneichthysporosus (Cuvier & Valenciennes)
Red Mullet
Family Sparidae
Chrysophrys auratus (Bloch & Schneider)
Family Kyphosidae
Segutilum sydneyanum (Gunther>
Family Girellidae
Girella tricuspidata (Quoy & Gaimard)
Family Scorpidae (Sweep)
Scorpis aequipinnis (Richardson)
Blue Maomao
Family Pempheridae (Bigeyes)
Pempheris adspersa (Griffin)
109 TABLE I. Continued..
Hyper hi tidal Zone
Epifundal Zone
Infundal Zone
Family Histiopteridae (Boarfishes) Paristiopterus labiosus (Gunther) Family Aplodactylidae Dactylosargus arctidens (Richardson) Nemadactylus douglasii (Hector) Cheilodactylus spectabilis (Hutton) Family Chironemidae Chironemus fergussoni (Hector) Family Latridae (Trumpeters) Latridopsis ciliaris (Bloch & Schneider) Family Pomacentridae (Pullers) Parma microlepis (Gunther) Chromis dispilis (Griffin) Family Odaciidae (Kelp fishes) Coregonoides vittatus (Richardson) Coridodax pullus (Bloch &. Schneider) Family Labridae (Parrotfishes) Pseudolabrus miles (Bloch & Schneider) Pseudolabrus celidotus (Bloch &, Schneider) Pseudolabrus pittensis (Waite) Tiricoris sandeyeri (Hector) Coris picta (Bloch & Schneider) Family Parapercicthyidae Parapercicthys colias Bloch & Schneider) Family Acinaceidae (Barracouta) Leionura atun dentatus (Euphrasen) Family Blenniidae (Blennies) Ericentrus ruber (Hutton) Cristiceps aurantiacus (Castlnau) Gilloblennius tripennis (Bloch & Schneider) Forsterygion varium (Bloch & Schneider) Notoclinops bucknilli (Griffin) Helcogramma medium (Gunther) Zeablennius laticlavius (Griffin) Family Scorpaenidae (Scorpion fishes) Ruboralga cardinalis (Richardson) Family Triglidae (Gurnards) Currupiscis kumu (Lesson) Family Gobiesocidae (Clingfishes) Dellichthys morelandi (Biggs) Trachelochtsmus melobesia (Phillips) Trachelochismus pinnulatus (Bloch & Schneider) Diplocrepis puniceus (Richardson) Family Aleuteridae Allomonacanthus convexirostris (Gunther) Family Diodontidae Allomycterus whitleyi(Phillips)
Giant boar fish Marblefish Porae Red Moki Hiwihiwi Moki Black Angelfish Demoiselle Kelpfish Butterfish Scarlet Parrotfish Spotty Banded parrotfish Sandager's parrotfish Cleaner wrasse Blue Cod Barracouta Crested weed fish Threefin blenny Twister Grandfather hapuka Red Gurnard Leatherjacket Porcupine fish
l i 10 IS 13
110 with, or living amongst, the bottom material. Three habitats are recognised: (1) rock crevices, cracks and small holes; (2) amongst fronds; (3) in caves and beneath deep overhangs. Each habitat is an easily recognisable natural identity having characteristic physical and biological features. ZONE INHABITANTS 1. Hyperfundal Zone The fishes found in the surface and midwater habitats form comparatively distinct associations: (1) The surface association extends to a depth o f 1-2 m . and is primarily composed o f small plankton-eating fishes such as piper and grey mullet, and fast swimming carnivores such as barracouta and kahawai. The surface association contains eight species, (table 1). (2) Below the surface habitat, the midwater habitat extends to about 2 m. above the bottom, and is essentially composed o f slower swimming shoal fishes, such as blue maomao, and demoiselle, which feed on macrozooplankton, and fast, roving carnivores such as the bronze whaler shark and kingfish. Some fishes of both surface and midwater associations range widely and enter other habitats on occasion. The midwater association contains twelve species, (table 1). 2. Epifundal Zone In this zone the majority o f reef-dwelling fishes are groupable into four main habitat associations, each o f which is distinguished by a common preference of many fishes for certain bottom types. The profile shown in fig. 1 illustrates a typical sucession o f bottom types at Goat Island, where the following general pattern is apparent, from the sublittoral fringe down. An algal band of Carpophyllum maschalocarpum and C. angustifolium forms a dense cover of long fronds over rock; followed by a narrow band of open rocky bottom covered by an algal turf, chiefly small red algae, Corallina officinalis and Vidalia colensoi, and small, closely cropped brown algae. Below this is a broken rocky band covered with encrusting and sessile organisms (Ayling 1968), followed by a dense forest of the laminarian, Ecklonia radiata which forms a canopy over the rock, thinning towards the maximum depth at
Ill which photosynthesis occurs. The extent of each type depends on the nature and slope of the bottom, and the depth of the water. (1) Three fish groups may be discerned, according to the algal types with which they are associated. Some fishes have a limited distribution and are associated only with a single type of alga, others, chiefly non-herbivores, range more widely and tend to use the algae primarily for shelter. The Carpophyllum band extends from the sublittoral fringe to a depth o f 2-3 m . , and provides a dense thicket o f fronds, amongst which the herbivorous kelpfish and butterfish browse. Other common inhabitants o f this band are the browsing parore and carnivorous banded parrotfish. Below the Carpophyllum, a narrow open band (1-2 m.) o f algal turf is heavily grazed upon by the marblefish parore, and an echinoid, Evechinus chloroticus. At depths from 9-15 m., the dense sheltering canopy o f Ecklonia radiata provides shelter for a number of fishes, which includes the herbivorous parore, red moki, leatherjacket, and blue cod. (2) The fish fauna o f broken rocky bottoms is dominated by bottomfeeding carnivores (15 species). Some of the inhabitants also range over open rocky areas but others, such as the black angel fish, prefer a more secluded habitat and are restricted solely to broken bottoms. T w o browsing herbivores the parore and drummer commonly occur in broken rocky areas. (3) The fish fauna of open rocky bottoms comprises many of the larger bottom-feeding carnivores (12 species) such as the m o k i , porae and snapper. The large bronze whaler shark and the John dory are also frequently seen. (4) Three true reef fishes forage over the open sand close to protective rocky areas; the red mullet, porae and moki. Four other species sometimes occur over sandy bottoms close to the reef. 3. Infundal Zone The Infundal Zone contains fishes that characteristically seek shelter amongst the bottom substrate and make only short forays to obtain food. It is on this distinction that the fishes o f the Infundal Zone are seperated from those of the Epifundal Zone. Most Infundal fishes (many o f which are nocturnal feeders,) are apparently territorial or restricted to a small area. (1) A rocky bottom provides numerous microhabitats. Very small fishes such as the blennies and banded seaperch live in crevices, cracks and small holes;
112 moderate to large fishes such as the conger eel and red cod live in larger crevices and holes. The clingfishes (Gobiesocidae) and Rockfish are characteristic only of the intertidal region. (2) Algal fronds may provide distinct microhabitats for a few fishes. At Goat Island, fishes living amongst algal fronds were observed only in the Carpophyllum band. Five species from two families (Blennidae and Syngnathida are represented, and feed chiefly on small crustaceans living in the weed. (3) Caves and deep overhangs provide a habitat for two groups of fishes -- those nocturnal feeders which live in dark caves and under deep overhangs and forage over the bottom at night; and those fishes which typically feed during the day but tend to spend much time in caves and beneath overhangs. The nocturnal feeders are represented by 3 species: the roughy, bigeye and grandfather hapuka. The daytime foragers are also represented by 3 species: the red moki, drummer and marblefish. The distribution o f fishes into habitats is summarised in Table 1. Fishes do not commonly occur outside the habitats noted for each fish. The assemblag of fishes in a habitat is characteristic o f it and identification o f a habitat is possible where only a small number o f species is k n o w n .
SUMMARY A checklist is presented in which 39 families and 62 species arc recorded from Goat Island Bay, North Auckland, New Zealand. A zonation scheme for fishes is proposed in which three zones are differentiated on the basis o f the fishes relationships spatial with the bottom. Habitats are grouped within each zone. Nine habitats are briefly described and the fishes associated with each are shown to be characteristic.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Thanks are due to Mr A . M . Ayling and Mr R . V . Grace for their encouragement and advice in compiling this report; Mr A.B. Stephenson for original identification of some species; Dr Ann Chapman, Dr W.J. Ballantine and Mr Wade Doak for their useful comments.
The Ecology of sublittoral Rocky Surfaces in Northern New Zealand. (BSc Hons thesis, University of Auckland)
1960 1968
New Zealand Sea Angler's Guide. A . H . & A.W. Reed (3rd Ed. 1964) A Checklist of the Fishes Recorded from the New Zealand Region. - The Australian Zoologist, Vol XV, part 1.
Note At present, the Technical subcommittee of the New Zealand Underwater Association, in conjunction with the underwater magazine 'Dive South Pacific' and the Leigh Marine Laboratory, has undertaken a fish survey of the New Zealand coast.
The first stage o f this project was the circulation o f questionaires to divers in New Zealand. Presence, absence, and relative abundance were recorded, thus building up a picture o f fish distribution along the coast.
The second stage o f THE PROJECT will be the collection o f more specific data on the various fishes, and it is hoped that this paper will form some sort o f basis to which divers may relate their observations, aiding in the collection and interpretation of distributional data.
The Editors.

BC Russell

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