The cool thing about working at Rotokare is that lots of different scientists come to visit. On Monday morning when I arrived at Rotokare, there was already a group of people gathered outside, one of whom was Stella McQueen. Stella is a fresh water ecologist and author, currently working with DOC in Taranaki. Stella had brought out a troop of fish enthusiasts to check out the Banded Kokopu fish in the stream at Rotokare.
I had seen these fish and photographed them a few days earlier, but I hadn't known much about them at all! The Banded Kokapu are one of 5 species of fish that, when they are babies, are known as whitebait! This is what whitebait look like if they are given the chance to grow up. I was surprised to hear that 4 out of 5 of the whitebait species are threatened (Banded Kokopu are the one that is not listed as threatened). Banded kokopu are normally nocturnal, but the interesting thing about the Rotokare fish is that they unusually like to come out in the day. Stella is passionate about educating the public about the risk that our native fish face, not only from whitebating, but from habitat loss. Check out her Facebook page New Zealand Native Fish.