The decorator crabs, or camouflaged crabs, are very different creatures from the paddle crab. They’re slow movers that rely on disguise to evade predators, decorating their shells with whatever flotsam and jetsam comes to claw.
Think you’ve got your favourite surf beach to yourself? Think again! There’s life hidden beneath those waves.
“It may look barren, but the high-energy surf zone of exposed beaches is a very productive place, second only to coastal upwellings,” says Keith Michael, a fisheries scientist at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA). “It’s rich in phytoplankton [microscopic plants], such as diatoms, that provide a constant ‘soup’ for animals tough enough to survive the waves.”
Snapper are New Zealand’s most prized fish; they are the fish fishermen love-to-love. They live in a wide range of habitats in New Zealand’s warmer coastal waters, around the North Island and the top of the South, and prefer depths of 5–60 metres. They grow to a decent size: up to 105 cm in length.