Springtime - the source of so much joy as the sun returns after winter - is a time of dread for many scuba divers in New Zealand. It brings with it phytoplankton blooms that provide salps with the food source they need for rapid reproduction. Colonial species can form chains twenty metres long.
Small and shy - the life of a triplefin
I'm fascinated by the tiny triplefins that make up a big part of the New Zealand reef ecosystem. We have 26 endemic species - triplefins that are only found naturally occurring in NZ.
Octopuses can do this cool thing - change colour and texture. They can blend into their surroundings and become practically invisible. Thousands of colour-changing cells called chromatophores are manipulated to pull off this remarkable feat.
Named for its polka dots, the Clown nudibranch (Ceratosoma amoenum) livens up New Zealand's underwater world.
Someone is always watching
Scorpionfish (Scorpaena cardinalis) behave like rocks so they can ambush their prey. Sometimes they ambush divers.
This striking triplefin is found all around New Zealand, from the Three Kings Islands in the north to the Auckland Islands in the south.
It's Spring in New Zealand. This is a great time of year to hunt nudibranchs with your camera.
Disguised as a harmless triplefin, the Mimic blenny launches a surprise attack on passing fish, nipping off a chunk of flesh with its underslung jaw.
This purple beauty is called Jason mirabilis. I know I've shared photos of this nudibranch with you before but I think it's special enough to share again because it's only found in New Zealand.
Textures of the ocean
When you take time to examine ocean creatures like this sea urchin up close, you discover that they are made up of the most amazing textures and colours.