Taylor’s Mistake Rock Pools, Trip #57

Every time we visit the rock pools at Taylor’s Mistake we find species that we haven’t seen before. Here is some of what we saw on this occasion – in approximate order of size, from smallest to largest:


Sea slater

These sea slaters are less than 1 cm long. This one appeared to be feeding on a dead crab, in a shallow pool. The NZ Marine Studies Centre notes that they live in intertidal areas and are known to scavenge. They sift through sand for their food and can live out of water.

Sea slater (Isocladus armatus).



Marine isopod

The 2nd marine isopod we found is a slightly larger species. They live on rocky shores and feed on detritus, see here.

Marine isopod (Exosphaeroma gigas).
Marine isopod (Exosphaeroma gigas).

Snails & Slugs (Gastropods)

Blue-banded periwinkle

Blue-banded periwinkle (Austrolittorina antipodum).
Murex snail (Haustrum albomarginatum).





This rock, from one of the pools, had several chitons, anemones, flatworms and amphipods.
Snakeskin chiton (Sypharochiton pelliserpentis).
Blue green chiton (Chiton glaucus).
Butterfly chiton (Cryptoconchus porosus) – the pale, bumpy creature in the middle of the photo.


The wide dark brown creature, middle left, is a flatworm.


Several different species of starfish were present. CM has done a post on the most common starfish we saw, which was the NZ common cushion star.

Starfish have tubular feet, which you can see in the short clip below.

Allostichaster polyplax.
Closeup of the arms of Allostichaster polyplax.
Tubular feet of Allostichaster polyplax.


Paddle crab (Ovalipes catharus).
New Zealand hermit crab (Pagurus novizealandiae).
Common rock crab (Hemigrapsus sexdentatus).
BM with a New Zealand half crab (Petrolisthes elongatus).


Crab juvenile, unknown species.


Searching for fish and crabs.

Olive rockfish / taumaka

This fish looks prehistoric with its large spines and eel-like shape. It only occurs in New Zealand. For a little more detail see here.

Olive rockfish (Acanthoclinus fuscus).

New Zealand lumpfish

At least one of the fish we tried to pick up was quite slimy – it was likely one of these inspiringly named individuals.

New Zealand lumpfish (Trachelochismus pinnulatus).

Orange clingfish

Unsurprisingly, now that we know their name, these fish were particularly hard to pick up.

Orange clingfish (Diplocrepis puniceus).

Their pelvic fins are modified into a sucking disk. They also have a layer of mucus on them.

Diagram of the sucking disk underneath an  orange clingfish. Albert Günther [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


Dead man’s fingers

The only seaweed photographed on this occasion was dead man’s fingers.


The volcanic origins of the Port Hills are very visible at a site like this – it is easy to imagine the rocks flowing down as lava from Lyttelton Volcano and then solidifying.

We greatly appreciated being able to use the ‘Southern New Zealand Rocky Shore Guide”, produced by the NZ Marine Studies Centre. They are available here.

Southern New Zealand Rocky Shore Guide, by the NZ Marine Studies Centre.
Examining some of our finds.

The critters that ‘volunteered’ for a photo shoot were all returned to appropriate locations – thanks BM & TC-S!

Our thanks also to NatureWatch for help with identifications.

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