Marine Biota of Parengarenga Harbour Technical Report
- Hayward et al
- Journal / Source
- Records of the Auckland Museum
- New Zealand; Northland; Parengarenga Harbour; biogeography; subtidal channel benthic associations; intertidal communities; Zostera flats; nudibranchs; warm-water molluscs
- Four hundred and fifty-two species of marine fauna are recorded from Parengarenga, New Zealand's northernmost harbour. This tally comprises 266 molluscs (13 chitons, 179 gastropods, 73 bivalves, 2 cephalopods), 86 crustaceans (including 33 crabs and shrimps, 22 amphipods, 16 isopods, 7 barnacles), 50 polychaete worms, 32 fish, 8 echinoderms and 10 species from other groups. The fauna in Parengarenga's subtidal channels exhibits a zonation corresponding to decreasing salinity and wave exposure from the harbour mouth to the headwaters. The slightly deeper lower harbour channels have a benthic faunal association characterised by four common bivalves (Tawera spissa, Felaniella zelandica, Myadora striata, Gari stangeri), hermit crabs, the whelk Cominella quoyana, polychaete Oweniafusiformis, and amphipod Proharpinia. The subtidal upper harbour faunal association is characterised by three common bivalves (Nucula hartvigiana, Austrovenus stutchburyi, Paphies australis), whelks Cominella adspersa and C. glandiformis, pillbox crab Halicarcinus varius, cumacean Cyclaspis thomsoni and a wide diversity of amphipods and polychaetes. The intertidal flats are dominated by Zostera seagrass meadows with smaller areas of bare quartz sand near the harbour entrance. Around the upper reaches of the harbour there is extensive mangrove forest between mid and high tide levels, with salt marsh and minor salt meadow mostly above mean high tide. Extensive areas of intertidal Zostera-covered quartz sand flats bathed in clear, warm water and periodically influenced by eddies from the East Auckland Current provide an unusual habitat for New Zealand. It is home to low numbers of subtropical gastropods, seldom seen intertidally or on sand elsewhere in the country (e.g. Charonia lampas, Cymatium exaratum, Cymatium parthenopeum, Sassia parkinsonia, Ranella australasia, Cabestana spengleri, Conus lischkeanus, Polinices simiae, Natica migratoria, Bullina lineata and Hydatina physis). Many brightly coloured nudibranchs live at and below low tide at Paua, Te Hapua and Ngatehe Point.
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