Lanternfish in shallow waters – and other sights to make a fish curator’s heart sing

Every dive on this expedition has been a good one. We’ve got great visibility and an incredibly rich marine environment to dive in.

This dive footage captures the fairly typical marine environment where we are – a sandy bottom with big pinnacles or boulders rising from the depths – and then a plethora of marine life. As in the earlier footage we shared you can see there are lots of boarfish and the demoiselles.

What’s really got me excited though is what we did last night – we set up lights off the back of the boat which attracts the fish. We were able to collect samples of lanternfish or myctophids which are typically found in depths of 200m. We were sitting in just 20m of water!

Lanternfish - attracted into shallow waters by a night light off the back of the boat

Lanternfish - attracted into shallow waters by a night light off the back of the boat

Each dive reminds we what an absolute privilege is to be here recording the marine life in this spectacular environment and it makes me more determined to share what we find and get everyone excited about protecting it.

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8 Responses to “Lanternfish in shallow waters – and other sights to make a fish curator’s heart sing”

  1. Malcolm Francis

    Amazing to see lanternfish in such shallow water. The thought of potentially seeing them on a night dive is mind boggling. Great also to see the school of striped boarfish is still hanging out at Milne Rocks, and also nice to see plenty of spotted black grouper and Galapagos sharks. I’ve just returned from Lord Howe Island where I did 12 dives and saw only two small SBG and seven Galapagos sharks (6 in one hole where tourists go in glass bottom boats and feed the fishes). And I only saw kingfish a couple of times – including a school of more than 100 fish, which sounds great, but they were all small, around the size limit of 65 cm. It really makes you appreciate the value of the marine reserve at the Kermadecs and the difference it makes – those top predators are the first to disappear under fishing pressure.

    Hope the rest of the trip goes well and say hi to the crew for me.

    • Steve Hathaway

      Hi Malcolm, on our last dive one of the team counted 7 SBG, with large kingfish and a few sharks in attendance….unfortunately I came across this area too late in the dive to descend to capture any of it….all I could do was watch from the shallows in frustration as 2 large SBG swam below interacting with each other in a very spectacular way….I definitely feel I have some unfinished business at the Kermadecs!
      The Striped Boarfish were one of my highlights of the trip – we counted 52 in the school you originally found. As for the Lantern fish, yes it’s a very exciting proposition but as you know, not one for the faint- hearted at the Kermadecs. We had flying fish racing in under the lights chasing the lantern fish, with large Kingfish smashing the surface and swallowing the flying fish, with plenty of Galapagos sharks following in behind :-)

      • Malcolm Francis

        Thanks Steve – great to have another count of the numbers of striped boarfish in that school. Your count is larger than either of my previous ones (43 and 38). Amazing that those fish are so site-attached.

    • Leona

      I saw your painting in Beer mitunes before they were taken down to be sent off for another exhibition. I have both of your books but they don’t compare to seeing your actual work. They are beautiful. I always look in at the Marine Gallery to see Micheal Morgan’s paintings so it was a lovely surprise to see your work.

  2. Mark McGrouther

    Hey Tom. I’m enjoying following the expedition. It would be more fun being on it, but I can’t have everything. JP will be interested in those myctophids!

  3. Steve Hathaway

    Hi Dan, between us we saw about 5 turtles I think….I have glimpses of footage of 2 of them, but unfortunately they were not keen to hang around for any quality footage to be taken.
    I will pass you the footage when we catch up on the 17th Dec


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