One man’s trash is another man’s treasure and that’s never been truer than it was yesterday in the Kermadecs! Looks like we’ve clocked another new species record for New Zealand and it was all thanks to some floating rubbish.
Ash Mangnall the ship’s engineer was out on the back deck just after lunch, and saw a small plastic bottle drifting past. After two weeks with us he now knows that everything from the sea will interest someone on the expedition so he and Carl set out to retrieve it.
Sure enough, the bottle was home to a thriving population of goose-necked barnacles which pleased Stephen and Mandy. But there’s more to this tale – for swimming along under the bottle was this little cutie!
It’s a juvenile trigger fish – exactly what sort, we don’t know yet. Trigger fish are the tropical equivalent of leather-jackets, and this is almost certainly a new species record for New Zealand.
In the open ocean many small fish hang out underneath drifting objects such as logs and rubbish – these FADs, or Fish Attracting Devices, provide shelter and often an in-built supply of food, too.
Lots of juvenile fish that spend part of their life being semi-pelagic and floating at sea before they find a reef to settle on are distinctively black and white spotted like this one is.
Check out this video to see Te Papa’s Carl Struthers talking about their incredible fish find underneath the old plastic bottle they found floating in the ocean: