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By Marina Skinner F&B Communications Manager

posted Mar 1, 2011, 8:13 PM by Allie BioBlitz

I I spent a fascinating day in the company of two scientists on a trip to Mana Island on Friday 25 Feb. Rick Webber and Graham Bird were looking for amphipods, isopods and tanaids – new words to me. I know these creatures as sandhoppers or slaters or shrimp-type creatures, and I was surprised to learn they are all types of crustacean.

Rick and Graham explored the rock pools at the south end of Mana Island, turning over rocks and picking up crabs just as they did when they were kids.

Graham gathered bits of weed and other rock pool habitat to take away and search later for tiny tanaids. He also used a sort of colander to search for marine creatures.

He picked a fragile limpet (Atalacmea fragilis) off one rock and found a spider sheltering underneath. We encountered half crabs (Petrolisthes elongatus) and other creamy-coloured crabs, along with glossy red beadlet anemones (Actinia tenebrosa).

Rick held in his hand what looked like a delicate blue bottle – a by-the-wind-sailor (Velella velella) – which are completely harmless to humans.
We have since learnt that Graham has found several new species which will be described in scientific papers in the near future - it was exciting to be part of this new discovery.