What will you find in New Zealand’s waterways?
Here at Habitat Tours, we love to talk about New Zealand’s birdlife and plant life – a lot. However, we don’t want to forget the creatures that inhabit our waterways, either!
So what will you find lurking beneath the waterline? Here are just a few examples of some of the country’s coolest underwater inhabitants.
New Zealand eels
New Zealand longfin eels spend most of their lives in freshwater, which is why you’ll find them in streams and lakes throughout the country. It’s only when it’s time to spawn that they head to the ocean. Sadly, these eels are slowly losing numbers. Part of this is due to the fact that they only reproduce once, and the other main reason is due to fishing.
The shortfin species is fortunately much more abundant, although they can look quite similar to the longfin variety. Both species are only found in New Zealand.
Crayfish are New Zealand’s lobster. In fact, the two species are known as the red rock lobster and the packhorse lobster. The only way they are different is that crayfish don’t have the large pincers on their first legs like lobsters do.
Red rock lobsters grow to 45-50 centimetres and can weigh 2-3 kilos. Packhorse lobsters are much larger at up to 60 centimetres when full grown, and up to a whopping 15 kilograms at their heaviest.
Both species are found throughout the country, largely in coastal areas.
Whitebait are the juveniles of several types of fish, many of which are only found in New Zealand waters. Despite the fact that whitebait are great hiders and tend to stick around bushy streams, they are still caught and eaten throughout the country as a favourite spring dish. Even then, there are strict regulations on whitebaiting.
Tristan Cullen - Passionate Conservationist