20 He aha tērā? What is that?

These tiny water creatures are much sought after by people and birds in spring and early summer. They are most easily found in the river. He aha tērā? What is that?

Long thin transparent creatures swimming in a bucket of water.
Photo by Miraz Jordan. Used with permission.

Scroll down to see the answer.

Answer: they are whitebait:

Whitebait are the juveniles of five species of galaxiidae …:

  • inanga ( galaxias maculatus )
  • koaro ( galaxias brevipinnis )
  • banded kokopu ( galaxias fasciatus )
  • giant kokopu ( galaxias argenteus )
  • shortjaw kōkopu ( galaxias postvectis ).

The larvae of these species are born in freshwater, swept out to sea with the tide and return to rivers and streams in spring as whitebait. The most common species is the inanga … Whitebait are translucent in appearance, and are around 4-5 cm long.

With thanks to the whitebaiter who allowed me to take a photo of their catch.

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Waikawa Beach or Manakau

New Zealand

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