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Welcome to Creature Features, where BLAKE NIWA Ambassador, Hiromi Beran, introduces you to some of our voyage’s fishy cast of characters. These are all inhabitants of the Sub-Antarctic region south of New Zealand, in the deep waters of the Campbell Plateau.

Blobbing their way to stardom Right: BLAKE Ambassador Hiromi Beran (a.k.a. me!) meets a blobfish. For the final creature feature, I present you with possibly the greatest of them all: the blobfish.  If this species is unfamiliar to you, you are in for a treat.  The blobfish, Psychrolutes microporos, is the most endearingly ridiculous inhabitant of […]

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A new species joins the ranks Talking about squids without talking about taxonomy (the study of the classification of organisms) is impossible on this ship.  Our resident expert is Dr Heather Braid, a squid taxonomist and conservation geneticist.  And thus I bring you: the warty squid, a large helping of taxonomic information, and a new […]

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Immortal super-organisms made up of gelatinous fire clones Pyrosomes, so many pyrosomes.  This was the result of several of our more southern mesopelagic trawls, when the free-floating colonial tunicates (Pyrosoma atlanticum) swamped our net.  Pyrosomes are closely related to salps, jellylike barrel-shaped organisms which were the focus of Tangaroa’s SalpPOOP voyage in 2018. We had two other BLAKE […]

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The ridiculously cute critter with a cunning camouflage method Meet Stoloteuthis maoria, one of the bobtail squids: tiny, glowing and with flapping fins like Dumbo ears.  These fins are huge for its size, almost as large as the minute mantle, and the squid uses its ear-fins to power itself through the water. The whole squid is about […]

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Exactly as the name implies Warty seadevils are the kind of hideous and awesome creatures which come to mind when we think of the deep sea.  The females have huge heads, massive mouths, sandpaper skin, are covered in tiny spines and have a bioluminescent lure.  The lure’s glowing light is perched at the top of […]

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Haunting the deep sea for 300 million years Ghost sharks – also known as chimaeras or ratfish – are distant cousins of sharks and rays, separated by a whopping 300 million years.  Creatures more ancient than dinosaurs, they glide through the darkness of the deep sea with wing-like fins and long tail filaments, their bodies […]

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When burying your head in the sand brings results The giant stargazer, Kathetostoma giganteum, is another fantastic critter we met during our deep-sea surveys.  With its ridiculously wide, flattened head, massive pectoral fins and disproportionately small tail, it looks like an artist had way too much fun with their interpretation of a prehistoric fish.  Their name comes […]

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New homeowners or salp murderers? Barrel shrimps are a regular in our midwater tows.  All barrel shrimp species are part of the genus Phromina, and they are hard-core homebuilders.  A female grabs a salp (a barrel-shaped jellylike plankton) and gobbles up the inside, hollowing it out to form a transparent floating house.  There she lays her […]

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If a shark was crossed with a hedgehog This beauty of a critter is the prickly dogfish.  A small deep-sea shark endemic to the continental shelves of New Zealand and Australia, it lives in the ocean’s Twilight Zone – a permanent dusk 200-1000m below the surface. Collecting data on quirky creatures like these is important […]

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Speedy Little Lanternfishes, Hunted by All First off, the tiny stars of the show: myctophids.  These are little open-ocean fishes, about the size of a house key.  They have silvery scales and light organs called photophores dotted along their bodies, and they move in schools. Almost everything eats them. With this unfortunate role of being […]

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