Pink maomao are a type of sea perch with a flat body and forked tail; the only indentation on their body is the eye socket. Their amazing pink colour is why they are commonly nick-named “Pinkies”. Females are pink to red whilst males are pinkish with yellow spots and a large dark blotch on their dorsal fin.
AGE & GROWTH
Not a lot is known about the pink maomao species. They can grow to around 50 centimetres, but a more common size is around the 28 to 30cm range, with a weight of around 1kg. Larger pink maomao can weigh around 2kg. Young pink maomao are rarely seen, suggesting that this species reproduces slowly and only occasionally.
HABITAT & FEEDING
Never in a hurry, they typically live between 20 and 50m, but schools of pink maomao can be usually found by spearo’s in depths of 10-20m, especially in areas around islands and rocky headlands swept by currents. Trevally, yellowtail mackerel and blue mackerel are frequently found swimming with them. They feed on plankton and small nekton where there is a nice flowing current. At dusk they stop feeding and return to rocky areas where they settle in for the night. It is at this time that they can change their colour to become an orange-red. They like the warmer northern waters, common around the Kermadec Islands and the Three Kings but can also be found as far south as Hawkes Bay.
They are excellent eating fish, with a thick white flesh.