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Marine Life News Bulletin
If you receive this Bulletin direct from the British Marine Life Study Society it will contain only *.htm *.gif & *.jpg files.
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The Glaucus 2001 CDROM has been sent out to Premier Members for last year. This information packed disc contains the British Marine Life Study Society web pages and other wildlife information (some not available through the web site). This was a limited distribution copy because of technical difficulties and the the next CD-ROM to be produced will be the Glaucus 2002 CD-ROM. New 2002 members subscribing for the CD-ROM will receive the beta version until the tested copy is available.

On 8 November 2002, the main BMLSS computer broke down and this may have resulted in restricted services for November 2002. A few EMails were lost at the beginning of November.  Please send a repeat EMail if you did not receive a reply. 


Reports of marine wildlife from all around the British Isles, with pollution incidents and conservation initiatives as they affect the flora and fauna of the NE Atlantic Ocean.


Narrow Profile (Photograph by Paul Parsons) Late November 2002
A Short-snouted Seahorse, Hippocampus hippocampus, is captured by an oyster fisherman in the Solent. In Victorian times, there are records from off Dorset and the Solent.
Report by Ivor Rees

Earlier 2002 Report from off Dorset 

19 November 2002
A dead Boar Fish, Capros aper, was brought into the National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth for identification. The fishermen call them "Zulus" and used to catch them regularly, but they are now almost unknown in the local catches, but I am told that lots are caught by the beam trawlers fishing for Sole in deep water on the Parson's and Great Sole Banks about 120 miles SW of the Lizard, Cornwall.

18 November 2002

Another large Common Octopus, Octopus vulgaris, is captured alive off the Channel Islands and brought into Guernsey alive but failed to survive the trauma and injury on capture. This is the third one recorded since the beginning of October 2002

Report by Richard Lord (Guernsey)
Full Report

Photograph by Richard Lord (Copyright protected throughout the World)

                               Common Octopus 
                            Photograph  ©  by Richard Lord (Guernsey)

Three Common Octopuses were also reported from Cornwall during the first weeks of November 2002.

Velella (Photograph by Steve Trewhella) 15 November 2002
After the recent gales, further large numbers of freshly dead Velella are washed up on the Dorset (Studland) coast with over 50 counted in a stretch of strandline of 100 metres. The dead Velella were still coloured blue which showed that that they only recently dead. They disintegrate and turn white over night. There were live specimens at five miles off the Dorset coast. 

Report by Steve Trewhella (Poole, Dorset)
Velella 2002

13 November 2002
An exceptionally large Electric Ray, Torpedo nobiliana, 25 kg and almost a metre across was brought in alive at Plymouth and it found a home at the Blue Reef Aquarium, Newquay. This ray is rarely seen in Public Aquaria, because of their danger and the difficulty in keeping them. Unfortunately, this specimen was damaged on capture and did not survive its ordeal.

5 November 2002
Collecting a few rocks for aquarium props in fading light on Lancing Beach, West Sussex, on a moonless evening under torchlight, I made my first discovery of the Arch-fronted Swimming Crab, Liocarcinus arcuatus, at low tide. This is the first BMLSS Report  from the shore. The identity of this crab has been confirmed by Dr.Reindert Nijland.


Liocarcinus arcuatus

This small specimen of this crab (carapace width 25 mm) had a heavy carpus on both chelae, a rough carapace in chocolate brown, swimming legs that were pointed, slower moving than Necora, with also are pronounced creamy white underside, and at dusk that was only its fractionally different movement that made it stand out from the Shore Crab. There were no "teeth" between the eyes, and the carapace was in a straight line between the eyes, with red antennae and antennules. 
Full Report
BMLSS Intertidal Crabs

Boarfish from Hove (Photograph by Peter Weight) 2 November 2002
The capture on rod and line by Peter Weight of a Boar Fish, Capros aper, from Hove beach is the very first record of this fish caught from the shore off Sussex. The books say that this fish lives in depths of over 100 metres and as there are no seas of this depth on the English side of the English Channel. This pretty little red and silver rhomboidal fish about 55 mm long, excluding its caudal fin, large eye and large mouth, with a spiky first dorsal and vibrating second dorsal and second anal fins (vibrating like the dorsal fin of a pipefish). Although this fish is rarely caught, it is abundant in deepish water (on the edge of the continental shelf in the western approaches of the English Channel) and it is just that normal fishing methods do not capture this small fish. All records and especially all live records from the shore or on dives, and all Sussex records are newsworthy. 
This fish is thriving in the BMLSS private aquarium (Shoreham-by-Sea). This fish is rarely on display in British Public Aquaria and the only known display of this fish was for several years at Mevagissey Harbour Aquarium
This specimen appeared live on Meridian TV Southern News on 6 November 2002.
On 10 November 2002, after a week in captivity, the Boar Fish commenced to feed on frozen brine shrimp after being initially encouraged with live daphnia. 
Previous Sussex Record of a Boar Fish
Previous Report from the Channel Islands
BMLSS Boar Fish

Late October 2002
A Cornish fisherman reported netting a shoal of 10 stone (140 lb = 64 kg) of these small Boar Fish just 10 miles off the Isles of Scilly whilst fishing for squid. 

30 October 2002
A Mantis Shrimp, Rissoides desmaresti, was captured off Selsey Bill (Pullar Bank), West Sussex. The skipper of a registered fishing vessel operating from Selsey caught the shrimp in his lobster pots. This was only the second he had ever caught in over 20 years commercial fishing from Selsey. Robert Clark, Senior Fishery Officer with the Sussex Sea Fisheries Committee, identified the shrimp to species level.

Report by Tim Dapling (Sussex Sea Fisheries Committee)
BMLSS Mantis Shrimps
News 1999 Page (Mantis Shrimp Report)

23 October 2002
An organised whale watching boat trip off West Cork, Ireland, discovered the usual cloud of Gannets diving into the sea with three species of dolphins all feeding on the large fish shoals. 30+ Atlantic White-sided Dolphins Lagenorhynchus acutus, 20+ Common Dolphins  Delphinus delphis, and a small group of four or five Striped Dolphins, Stenella coeruleoalba.

BMLSS Cetaceans

11 October 2002
A very large gastropod called the Triton Whelk (now usually called the Triton Shell), Charonia lampas (L.), was discovered in the mouth of the River Fowey, Cornwall, and put on display at Mevagissey Harbour Aquarium. This is a very rare find, and this large gastropod has only been recorded in British seas on a few occasions. It is a southerly species known from the Mediterranean Sea. It may have received assisted passage on the bottom of a boat?

Previous Record from Cornwall

October 2002
Anglers Gareth Larry and Ryan Dalziel caught 20 Redfish (=Ocean Perch), Sebastes marinus, 40 miles north west of Muckle Flagg, Unst, northernmost island of the Shetland Isles, at a depth of 166 metres (91 fathoms) with Coalfish (=Saithe), Pollachius virens. The largest Redfish weighed 1.58 kg (3½ lb) and this will probably qualify as a new species rod and line record for Britain. The Redfish is a common fish of the Lophelia (deep water coral) beds like the Sula Ridge. However, it is a deep water species and in shallow water a similar species Sebastes viviparus, sometimes called the Norway Haddock is sometimes caught. 

Report in Sea Angler (December 2002 issue)
7 October 2002
A Bluefin Tuna, Thunnus thynnus with a reported weight of 321 kg (708 lb) was caught off the north-west coast of Ireland by angler Martin O'Malley. Bluefin Tuna were also caught of the Galway coast and in Donegal Bay earlier in the year. At least 24 tuna were hooked off the Irish coast in 2002.
Report in Sea Angler (December 2002 issue)
BMLSS Tunnies

Late August 2002
Three specimens of the Short-snouted Seahorse, Hippocampus hippocampus, were discovered about 95 miles east of the Solent in the English Channel. They were picked up during DEFRA sponsored fish habitat studies by the University of Wales Bangor research vessel Prince Madog. Each came up in separate gear deployments, though at a single sampling station. On UWTV the benthic biotope where they came from was seen to be sand with a dense bed of tube worms, Lanice conchilega. All three seahorses were "pregnant" males.

Report by Ivor Rees


The British Marine Life Study Society web pages are available for permanent reference on the CD-ROM. 

The Homepage can now be accessed by typing in:

Sub-directories cannot be accessed directly through this domain.

Please send any reports of missing links and images to: Glaucus@hotmail.com




Forum for discussion about the marine life of the North-east Atlantic Ocean, including the North Sea, English Channel and all the seas around the British Isles including Ireland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium, France, Spain and Portugal.

This forum can be used by members to report finds, ask questions, queries over identification, concerns about environmental issues etc. This eForum is participated in by members of many groups studying the marine environment. 

Go to menu bar above and click on Database and then on Marine Life Organisations to find a list of web sites. 

Photographs and illustrations are best uploaded to the Document Vault and should not exceed 75K in size (*.JPG).

Andy Horton (Manager)

The Message Archive "Search Messages" facility is now working.

This is a reminder about the operation of the Smart Group.


The normal rules of eforum behaviour apply. Please keep on-topic as far as possible. 

Complaints about messages should be sent directly to me. These will be
forwarded on to the source of the complaint, unless it is specified that the sender does not want this to happen. 

Spam (off-topic emails etc.) will not be tolerated and any abusers of the
free services could be banned immediately. 

Special points: 

Please take care with your subject headings, as this helps researchers and makes life easier for everybody. Most EMail software has functions where replies can be sent to the original message sender, maintaining the thread.

Scientific names with correct spellings are important on this Smart Group
to enable researchers to use the Search Message Archive facility at a later date to find all entries under the scientific name. 



In chronological order, the most recent events are at the top of the page. Events open to the public, free or for a nominal charge only are included. Most Seminars need to be booked in advance.

BIOSIS  Conference Calendar for Zoology
(Major Link of all biological conferences around the world)

SAMS Seminar Series

The Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS)

Dunstaffnage Marine Laboratory, Dunbeg, Oban, Argyll PA37 1QA

Tel: 01631 559000 Fax: 01631 559300 Email: mail@dml.ac.uk

For more details/how to find SAMS see our website: http://www.sams.ac.uk

Unless otherwise stated, seminars are held on Fridays at 4:15 pm
in the SAMS Conference Room ** Followed by the Friday R&R **



  • Argyll College Informal talks are hosted by SAMS on FRIDAYS at 16.30 in the Conference Room.  These talks are given by researchers based at the Scottish Association for Marine Science, Dunstaffnage Marine Laboratory and at other research institutes throughout the UK and abroad. They present the very latest developments in marine science and technology.  All the talks are open to members of the public and are available via video conferencing links.
    • 13 December - John Gordon (SAMS). 30 years at sea - inshore to offshore fisheries research at SAMS 
    For more details on the forthcoming talks, please contact Murray Roberts (mailto:mr-t@dml.ac.uk) or tel: 01631 559 000


    Southampton Oceanography Centre back to Southampton Oceanography Centre Homepage

    A series of monthly talks on marine conservation topics
    These talks are open to the public, admission is free.

    5 December 2002: Walking the Dogwhelk Simon Bray

    2 January 2003: t.b.a.

    6 February 2003: Seabirds in Hampshire, UK, and beyond Russel Wynn 

    The Marine Life Talks are held on the first Thursday of the month at 7.30 pm, please arrive at 7.15 pm to be met in Reception. Southampton Oceanography Centre is reached via Dock Gate 4 (between Town Quay and Ocean Village). 

    For more information, contact:
    Jenny Mallinson
    Tel:  023 80 596299
    More Information Link
    Map to Southampton Oceanography Centre

      Diary Page (Link)


    The British Marine Life Study Society Web Site has been included as an Encyclopaedia Britannica Recommended Site and included on the BBC On-line Internet Guide.

    There are more entries on the GATEWAY pages of the BMLSS Web Site. The logos for the various organisations have been removed to reduce the size of this file.

    Quick reference links:
     GATEWAY:  Links
     GATEWAY:  Further European Links

    Courses (Marine Life)
    Marine Information Service
    (Marine Life Information Network)
    Marine Nature Conservation Review Survey Database
    National Biodiversity Network
    World Oceans Day
    Sewage Pipeline Discharges (old 1993 article by popular request)


    Secret Life of Rock Pools (Video)

    Secret Life of Low tide (Video)

    "The secret life of low tide" was filmed over 3 years for the Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve, the Marine Conservation Society and the WildlifeTrusts. 

    This video is an information packed guide to rockpooling, giving details on how to find the intertidal marine life. 

    Presented by marine biologist, Julie Hatcher, this production is an essential guide for anyone interested in life on our shores. With over 50 marine animals and seaweeds this is a very informative video.

    Click on the image above for more information (on-line).

    Recommended for the younger viewer by Andy Horton


    Edited by C. Howson and B. Picton
    Ulster Museum & the Marine Conservation Society 1997.
    About £27.50 (including CD-ROM 1999)

    The project to collate the species that live in the seas off Britain is an ongoing project. The Directory is a list of all the species grouped systematically according to their scientific names, with a comprehensive bibliography. The 1997 edition, not available until 1998, is the latest list and is useful on the rare occasions (about once a week for me) that I have to look up a vagrant, unusual species that is not listed in the usual identification books.

    Now available with the CD-ROM, this proves useful list of all the species for professionals, but it could be improved to make it more useful, e.g. facilities for biological recording and an interchange with Recorder 2000.

    MCS books On-Line

    BMLSS: Marine Life Articles in Publications (Link)


    This is a simple project or request to members and readers of this Bulletin. It is to take pictures of the coast when you are next down on the shore.

    Capros aper (specimen caught of Hove, photograph by David Cropp)

      Boar Fish
    Photograph by Steve Cropp (Hove)

    This fish is thriving in the BMLSS private aquarium (Shoreham-by-Sea). This fish is rarely on display in British Public Aquaria and the only known display of this fish was for several years at Mevagissey Harbour Aquarium

    This specimen appeared live on Meridian TV Southern News on 6 November 2002.

    On 10 November 2002, after a week in captivity, the Boar Fish commenced to feed on frozen brine shrimp after being initially encouraged with live daphnia. It ignored other alternative foods like boiled mussel flesh, very small live prawns (mysid-sized), micro trout pellets (formed into a ball). It seemed initially to feed better when the circulatory water pump (powerhead) was turned off, but within an hour it recognised the food and fed when the pump was on. Feeding was observed when the aquarium fluorescent light was on and was continuous swallowing of very small particles of shrimp collected in mid-water, and the water was kept in motion by the use of an airstone attached to a powerful diaphragm air pump. If the particle was disliked it would be examined and ignored, very occasionally it would be swallowed and spat out again. 

    Previous Sussex Record of a Boar Fish
    Previous Report from the Channel Islands

    Aquarium Observations:

    Aligns itself at an oblique angle to the current at night and sometimes at other times. Very nervous disposition and will not feed for several days if netted and moved or after being caught. This is a slight problem.

    Feeds on live daphnia and frozen brine shrimp, but needs encouragement to feed and this is a worry at first. Finicky feeder, usually taking food only of its preferred size, e.g. my small 55 mm fish will prefer frozen Artemia to frozen mysis. After a bit (2 weeks), the fish will now take frozen mysis as readily as Artemia (brine shrimp).

    Even general views have value, but ideally we would like photographs of the shore showing the type of rock, topography and rock pools, dominant fauna, and information that cannot be described adequately by words on the Report Cards.

    Kimmeridge Bay, Dorset (Photograph by Steve Trewhella)

    Kimmeridge Bay Bay, Dorset
    Photograph by Steve Trewhella

    Please take an opportunity to get a photograph of the waves breaking over an interesting shore. These opportunities are not too frequent when the the tides, weather and photographic conditions all coincide
    Steve Trewhella's excellent photographs of undersea fish and invertebrates also appear on the Marlin web pages. 

    The name of the particular coast should be included and the grid reference, if known. Print photographs can be included in Exhibitions and on the BMLSS Web Sites and electronic publications. Electronic images in *.JPG format can also be considered for the web site. They should not exceed 100K in size.

    Click on the album for more links (On-line link)

    Shore Topography Portfolio

    Printing the two column version of Torpedo (from issue 28)

    These pages are not designed for the default settings on the Page Set-ups of your browser. I recommend viewing in Internet Explorer 5 and altering the right and left hand columns in the Page Set-up menu to 9 mm (from 19 mm).
    The page set-up can also be amended in Netscape Composer, and this has the advantage of enabling the specified number of pages to be printed and the information about the file (name, path, date) to be deleted.


    British Marine Life Study Society membership information was sent out with the Shorewatch newsletter in January 2002.

    If you are unable to view this file with all its images through your EMail software, one way around this is to go to your directory for incoming email, where this file should be stored, and open the file Torped78.html in your favourite browser. Microsoft Internet Explorer 4 and above is recommended. 
    Some of the images may not display if you have changed your directory for downloaded files. The images may also not display properly if your settings on your EMail software do not allow you do this automatically. Unfortunately, I am unable to cater for all the Email software in use nowadays. I am looking into this problem. When received in Pegasus the format is changed slightly, but the bulletin is still readable.  

    Torpedo  compiled by Andy Horton
    Background design by Nicolas Jouault

      2 December 2002

    Use these links if your are familiar with the scientific classifications of marine life

    Compiled on Netscape Composer