Kermadec Expedition update! October 08 2015

A small but very important fish

Hi outside world, it’s Richie Robinson here, guest blogger for today.

I’m a photojournalist with NZ Geographic and I have the extreme privilege of being tasked to photograph one of the biggest animals in the ocean during The Great Humpback Whale Trail. But as soon as our scientists turn their backs, it’s well documented that I sneak off for dives to try and photograph some of the smallest animals in the ocean and yesterday struck gold with a new fish record for New Zealand with an undescribed Pygmy Goby Eviota species.

Underwater photographer Richie Robinson spotted this small fish at the Kermadecs - the first recorded sighting of it in New Zealand waters!

Pygmy Gobies are from the Gobiidae family which is the largest family of fishes in the ocean. There are even species that occur in freshwater! Despite this, there aren’t many gobies in New Zealand and this pretty little fish is easy to miss, only measuring around 1.5cm.

Even though this is an undescribed fish and the first time it’s been recorded in New Zealand it is an old friend of mine as we discovered them earlier in the year at Minerva Reef during the Auckland Museum’s South Pacific Biodiscovery expedition.

Diving the Kermadecs often turns up great surprises, this is my fourth expedition to the Kermadecs and with two decades of marine protection it is one of the last pristine marine ecosystems. I’m excited that I was underwater here when the Government’s decision was announced to extend its protection out to the 200 nautical mile zone. It’s incredibly rewarding working with such esteemed rouges of scientists on this expedition, they are an eclectic blend, part Darwin with a mix of Captain Ahab. It’s fascinating photographing them at work, even though they wouldn’t let me go swimming with the Great White Shark we spotted today.

R.