Rockpooling Report

by Robert Jones (Trowbridge)

On Sunday 18 February 1996, I travelled down with my family to Lyme Regis in west Dorset,and visited the beach to the east of the seaside town. It was cold, at 6ºC, and this meant that sea temperature recorded at 10ºC was warmer than the air.
 Despite the conditions, we found plenty of life under the rocks, with a selection of small rock pool fish including Shannies (Blennies) Lipophrys pholis, Rock Gobies Gobius paganellus, 5-Bearded Rockling Ciliata mustela, and Worm Pipefish Nerophis lumbriciformis.


Shore Crabs were in 'berry' with some eggs dark green and others orange. Edible Crabs, Cancer pagurus, were found with the smallest ones a dirty white to 15 mm, and the larger red ones. Both species of porcelain crab were recorded. Hairy Crabs Pilumnus hirtellus, were found under rocks with Velvet Swimming Crabs Necora puber and under one stone over 100 small Hermit Crabs Pagurus bernhardus. The Squat Lobsters Galathea squamifera carried eggs that were almost red.

   Squat Lobster Galathea squamifera

A solitary Sea Gherkin Pawsonia saxicola (=Cucumaria), a species of sea-cucumber, was discovered well wedged in a hole. The sea slug (a pleurobranch) Berthella plumula was quite common. If you had a very keen eye you might be able to spot the small true sea slug (nudibranch) Flabellina pedata (=Coryphella), which is a purple-pink in colour. We found them  up to 15 mm long as well some even smaller species, up to 14 mm, which I think were Facelina auriculata (=F. coronata).


Peter Glanvill discovered some tiny nudibranchs in a purple livery in the Fleet narrows near Ferrybridge early this year. They were common in a pinkish colour with purplish gills and have been identified as Flabellina pedata.

On the BMLSS rockpooling expedition to Monmouth Beach, west of Lyme Regis, in May 1993 (04.02.15) the Long-clawed Porcelain Crab, Pisidia longirostris, was noted by its absence. (See also 06.02.45).

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