This large crab can be found in large numbers in sheltered parts of the Otago Harbour and local inlets. It can crush cockles and other shellfish easily using its strong pincers.
The Painted Prawn has a colour pattern of longitudinal bands of green and red. It hides by day in dark rocky crevices and can be found in tidal pools on rocky shores.
This nudibranch sometimes appears circlular in shape because its mantle is much larger than its foot.
This large sea star can be lavender grey to orange in colour and has 11 arms. It is found from low tide to below the water and is common around mussel beds where it plays an important part to stop their expansion.
This nudibranch looks and feels rough like sandpaper. Its colour is variable and may be reddish brown to creamy pale and even have a spotted leopard appearance.
Many different species of Salp frequent our waters. A Salp is a barrel-shaped, Planktonic Tunicate. It moves by contracting and pumping water through its gelatinous body.
A large anemone with a smooth short column that is streaked with red and white. Tentacles are dull grey and may have purple or pink tips
This anemone has a bright orange or salmon coloured smooth column, it is endemic to New Zealand and only known to be in the Otago region.
Sea centipedes have long bodies that consist of 8-10 plates. They live on seaweeds in the intertidal and shallow subtidal zone.
Sea hares come and invade our local dive site Wellers rock throughout the warmer months of the year and then disappear again after laying large egg Masses all over the place.
It is the most common sea cucumber in New Zealand. They appear mottled grey-brown to black in colour and have small soft spikes along its length.
Spiders will follow you every where, yes even on a dive! How ever sea spiders are not true spiders even though they resemble the same shape.
Sea tulips are filter feeders and prefer wave and current swept areas or cooler water where they can attach themselves to rock.
The Kina is a round shelled animal covered in spikes. Divers should be wary not rest or press against a Kina as it can puncture and cause injury.
This large is New Zealand's largest seastar it's is light blue or yellowish brown in colour and has large orange coloured tube feet.
It's shell is often completely covered in black velvety flesh, but can sometimes be seen through a gap in the covering.
The tentacles of this worm resemble spaghetti and are usually the only part of the animal visible, the rest is permanently burrowed into some soft substartes.
Thick swarms of juvenile squat lobsters or whale krill as it is sometime known, come down our coast and into the harbour over a small period in the summer.
Small squid are sometimes seen foraging about the water column on night dives around the harbour entrance.
Small tunneling systems are sometimes seen on muddy bottom inside the Otago harbour including the Wellers rock area.
The three-and-three seastar is a small sea star its colour ranges with different shades of orange. It has six arms, three of which maybe smaller than the other three.
It is named after its triangle-shaped shell which is bright red, however they are often covered in other marine growth.
The triton nudibranch is easily identified by its large orange body with small tufts of gills along its back ridges.
The variable nudibranch comes in many colour formations, most commonly locally they are a smooth pale white, and can be found with brown staining along its back.
The wandering anemone is not permanently attached by its base, it frequently crawls and drifts in the current from one spot to another.
It is found in relatively high water in the intertidal zone. It's commonly found completely out of the water with its tentacles retracted waiting for the return of the tide
The wellington nudibranch is the largest nudibranch found in New Zealand. It is covered in round pustules, and is stiff and slimy to touch. It ranges in colour from yellow green to pale purple.
The white-striped anemone is the most common anemone encountered in shallow water. It's column is orange to brown and striped with white, Its disc is flat, bright orange and surrounded by it's white tentacles.
This sponge is endemic to New Zealand, it forms thin encrusting mats on rocky surfaces. It is bright yellow, soft and compressible to touch. It's commonly seen encrusting the boulders and wrecks of the Aramoana.
The yellow-foot paua has a smaller and more elevated shell compared to the more common black-foot paua. It's shell is reddish to yellowish brown, the animal is black but it's tentacles and underside of the foot are yellow.
We have multiple species of Camouflage crab and it can be difficult to determine which species is which.
The apricot anemone is a large anemone with a golden, orange or apricot coloured column that is covered in small pale verrucae, and white tentacles.