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Whitebait (Inanga)

The small fish caught each spring by whitebaiters all around the country are actually the juveniles of five species of fish. They are banded Kokopu, Giant Kokopu, Inanga, Koaro and Shortjawed Kokopu.

These five are part of a group of fish called galaxiids (so called because of the patterns of their skin which look like a galaxy of stars) of which there are 20 species, the rest of which don’t migrate.

Those that escape the whitebait net grow into silvery, slender adults (about 9 cm long). They spawn in streamside vegetation, even rank exotic grasses are suitable.

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