Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Fish of Tokelau


faThe three tiny atolls of Tokelau are placed  in the vast Pacific Ocean, and are surrounded by a range of fish species, four of which feature on the ‘Fish of Tokelau’ stamp issue.

The fish illustrated in this colourful stamp issue are the kakahi (yellowfin tuna), the palu malau (ruby snapper), the paala (wahoo) and the mahi-mahi (common dolphinfish).

The 40c stamp represents  Kakahi (Thunnus albacares) fish. Kakahi (Thunnus albacares) are commonly found at depths of 100 to 120 metres in Tokelau, and are a favourite catch of Tokelauans. They are torpedo-shaped with dark metallic-blue backs, yellow sides and silver bellies.
Kakahi (Thunnus albacares) or The yellowfin tuna is among the larger tuna species, reaching weights of over 400 pounds. Yellowfin tuna prey include other fish, pelagic crustaceans, and squid.

The 45c stamp represents the Palu malau fish  or Etelis carbunculus that  found in Tokelau’s tropical waters and is a fairly long fish with a forked tail.
It is found at depths of 90 to 400 metres, and while it can measure up to 120 centimetres in length, it is often smaller.
Etelis carbunculus or The Ruby Snapper, is found throughout the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is known from the coast of East Africa to the Persian Gulf and Red Sea, across the Indo-pacific, north to Japan and south to Australia
Etelis carbunculus or The Ruby Snapper inhabits rocky bottoms on the continental shelf, and feeds on fishes and large invertebrates such as squids, shrimps and crabs. It also feeds on planktonic organisms.
Etelis carbunculus or The Ruby Snapper is an important food fish in some areas. It is mainly caught with bottom long-lines and deep hand-lines, and is marketed fresh or frozen. It is vulnerable to heavy fishing.
 The $1.40 stamp represents the paala or  the   wahoo or Acanthocybium solandri is one of the fastest-moving fish in the world and is streamlined with an elongated body.
It is covered in tiny scales and is usually found on its own, or in groups of two or three. Where conditions are suitable can be found in schools as large as 100 or more .
The wahoo may be distinguished from the related Atlantic king mackerel and from the Indo-Pacific Narrow-barred Spanish mackerel by a fold of skin which covers the mandible when its mouth is closed. Their diet is made up of other fish and squid.
The flesh of the wahoo is white to grey, delicate to dense, and highly regarded by many gourmets. The taste is similar to mackerel, though arguably less pronounced. This has created some demand for the wahoo as a premium priced commercial food fish.

 The $2.00 stamp represents the mahi-mahi or  the  common  dolphin-fish, Coryphaena hippurus is found in warm waters such as those of Tokelau.
Mahi-mahi or common dolphin-fish (Coryphaena hippurus) is a surface-dwelling ray-finned fish and has a long, compressed body and mature males are known for having prominent bony crests on the front of their heads. The average weigh 7 – 13 kilograms.
Mahi-mahi are carnivorous, feeding on flying fish, crabs, squid, mackerel, and other forage fish. They have also been known to eat zooplankton and crustaceans.Mahi-mahi live 4 to 5 years.
As part of this issue, two first day covers are also available. The kakahi and palu malau are featured on the respective covers, and the date stamp portrays a wooden fish hook that would have traditionally been used throughout the Pacific.

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