The author knew of this fish in the early days of Hokitika. The land where they were found was covered with the usual bush, and in rainy weather was always under water.
When the ground is cleared there is generally only a few inches of the top soil, and then from two to four feet of whitish blue clay, something like pipe-clay. This clay as it nears the shingle gives way to a gritty brownish coloured soil. At an average depth of four feet the shingle is reached, and is firmly held together by a rust-coloured cement. This shingle holds water to a depth of as much as six or eight feet. Below that a drift is reached which drains the water. A trench was cut about two feet wide into the shingle, completely separating a block of land except in floods, when the trench was filled and the land under water. About two years after the land was cleared the roots were grubbed up, and numbers of these fish were found in the soft clay. Some were very lively and others torpid, some showing a bright skin and some a foul slimy coat. The shape of the fish could sometimes be seen in the mud from which it had been dislodged. They are found in great numbers in making new roads through swampy land, but seem to disappear from the land on its being drained and cultivated.
Mr. Lodder remarked that he had collected a similar fish under stones on the banks of a fresh-water stream, near the anchorage ground for coal vessels, at the Bay of Islands.
Mr. Gillies stated that fish apparently similar, and which manifested the same dislike to fresh-water, had been obtained by Mr. G. B. Owen at a depth of several feet when sinking a well at Newmarket. He also drew attention to the interesting account of the mud-fish given by Dr. Hector in his Notes on the Edible Fishes of New Zealand.