January 2005
On-line connection to the British Marine Life Study Society web pages
Index for the Torpedo News Bulletins
Link to the forum for marine wildlife of the NE Atlantic Ocean and adjoining seas
GATEWAY:  Further European Links
New EMail address
Courses (Marine Life)
Discussion Groups
Marine Information Service
(Marine Life Information Network)
Marine Nature Conservation Review Survey Database
National Biodiversity Gateway
National Biodiversity Network
World Oceans Day
Link to an on-line page for younger students of the seashore. Spider Crab and youngsters at Adur World Oceans Day 2002 (Photograph by Duncan Morrison)
7-14 years

Norwegian Marine***

National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth

Scottish Association for Marine Science

Silver Dolphin Centre, Helston, Cornwall



Monthly electronic news bulletin for the marine life of the NE Atlantic Oceans including the seas and seashore around the British Isles. 
The bulletin is designed for Microsoft Explorer 4 and above using medium fonts at a resolution of 800 x 600.
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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.

9 January 2005
A post storm check of Thurlestone (south Devon) beach for stranded cetaceans or oiled birds revealed my first ever UK sittings of by the Jack-by-the-Wind-Sailors, Velella velella, several hundred, some as just the chitinous float and sail. I have never noticed them before in Britain but I saw millions on beaches in SW Corsica last May. There was no sign of the predatory Violet Sea Snails, Janthina sp., often (rarely in the UK) associated with this creature or tropical seeds but three species of Cuttlefish were present in reasonable numbers.
Lots of Large (Turban) Topshell, Gibbula magus, and Necklace (Moon) Shells Polinices sp. were washed up on Slapton Sands, Devon.

Previous Reports
BMLSS Jellyfish
BMLSS Beachcombing

2 January 2005
A juvenile Bottle-nosed Dolphin, Tursiops truncatus, was discovered on a remote north Cornish beach at Gwithian, near Hayle. This is unusual as it is usually Common Dolphins, Delphinus delphis, that are washed up, often killed in fishing nets with a total of 220 recorded in 2004. 
In this case it seemed to be heavily scarred with fresh "rake marks", wounds inflicted by the sharp teeth of one or more other dolphins, which may have attacked the individual. This behaviour has been seen in Bottle-nosed Dolphins off America.
It is not known why they occasionally attack one another but fatalities appear to be
confined to fights between males. If the post-mortem confirms that this was the case, it will be the first recorded incident of its kind in the UK.
Link to Photographs

Full Report
Cornish Wildlife Trust News
BMLSS Cetacea
Cornish Marine Wildlife (Ray Dennis Records) 2004

1 January 2005
A Sunfish, Mola mola, was washed up on the beach at West Runton, near Sheringham, north Norfolk. 
Sunfish (Photograph by Rupert Smith) Sunfish (Photograph by Rupert Smith)

Although this fish is frequently seen off the south and western coasts of Britain during the summer and autumn, sightings and strandings in the North Sea are much less common.

Report and Photographs by Rupert Smith
BMLSS Sunfish

December 2004 to January 2005
There are at least a dozen reports of at least 16 Triggerfish, Balistes capriscus, being found washed up dead on Cornish beaches, and these are probably only a fraction of the actual strandings. 
Fish Strandings in Cornwall
There were also dead Triggerfish reports from the Channel Islands.
BMLSS Triggerfish

8 December 2004
A pod of seven White-beaked Dolphins, Lagenorhyncus albirostris, off Dungeness, Kent. They gave a spectacular display including leaping clear of the water as they fed and were in view for most of the afternoon. I have looked at the sea on an almost daily basis at Dungeness since 1989 and this is the first time I have seen White-beaked Dolphins.

NB:  This species of dolphin is not often recorded in the eastern English Channel.
BMLSS Cetacea

7 December 2004
Commercial fisherman Andy Le Prevost trawling on the Lady Patricia caught a Almaco Jack, Seriola rivoliana, (originally identified as a Guinean Amberjack, Seriola carpenteri),  on the south-west Casquet bank, near the Channel Islands, at night.
ID Details
The fish was caught at a water depth of 25 metres. The fish was small (length: 30.7 cm, weight: 637 grams) and similar in size to the specimen caught by George Staples east of Herm Island on 7 September 2000. The sea temperature was 11.7°C. My records indicate that this is the fourth confirmed Amberjack species caught in Channel Island waters.
Full Details
Previous Record

Report and Photograph by Richard Lord (Guernsey)
on the Marine Wildlife of the North-east Atlantic Ocean Group

6 December 2004
A 40 cm long Oriental Flying Gurnard, Dactyloptena orientalis, was hauled up in a herring net less than a mile from Penzance. The fish is being kept at the Blue Reef Aquarium in Newquay after skipper Tony Richards, from St. Ives, kept it alive. 

Flying Gurnard
Photograph by Jim Greenfield (taken in Gozo)

We were in only about 15 metres depth and were hauling up our herring nets by hand. It was the last fish in the net. I could feel by touching that it was an extraordinary specimen its skin is armoured. It had a flat head and when I picked it up it spread its wings. They are as wide as the fish is long, about 40 cm. 
It is a beautiful animal. Its wings are all different colours: blue, red, yellow and grey. Ive never seen anything like it in all my years at sea. Its an incredible beast. 

Report from Times On-Line
This southern species of gurnard has only been recorded on one or two occasions off British coasts, both if them off the coast of Cornwall. 

1 December 2004
Guernsey commercial fisherman Steve Fallaize landed a handsome Couch's Sea Bream, Pagrus pagrus, on weighing 2688 grams whole (5.93 lb). The fish was netted in a water depth of about 20 to 25 metres over a mixed shell-gravel bottom off Guernsey's west coast. This is the largest Couch's Sea Bream that I have recorded in Guernsey.
Small Couch's Sea Bream have been frequently landed in recent years around the Channel Islands, but this is a southern fish and it is uncommon any further north. 

Click on the graph for a clearer image.

Angling graph of Black Sea Bream, Spondyliosoma cantharis, 
and Red Sea Bream, Pagellus bogaraveo, catches recorded 
by Len le Page off Guernsey in the Channel Islands.

Click on the graph for a clearer image.

Red Sea Bream were common during the 1970s but disappeared from his catches after 1984.  Black Sea Bream were also almost completely absent from his angling catches during the 1980s but have, in the last five years, made a spectacular comeback.

Report by Richard Lord (Guernsey)


All reports by Andy Horton unless the credits are given 
to other observers or reporters.

Cornish Marine Wildlife (Ray Dennis Records) 2004


Each month, at least one special marine image will be published from images sent to the BMLSS. This can be of the seashore, undersea world or any aspect of the marine natural world, especially the underwater life, but not restricted to life beneath the waves. Topical inclusions may be included instead of the most meritorious, and images will be limited to the NE Atlantic Ocean and adjoining seas, marine and seashore species and land and seascapes.


Photograph by John Walters
Is anybody able to identify the piece of jaw I found on Aldeburgh shingle beach on 31 December 2004. The strip is 27 cm long, the base of the teeth are about 12 mm in width and their height are 8 mm. The strip seems to be made of cartilage so I suppose shark or dogfish (but probably too big for a dogfish).
Query and Photograph by John Walters

Fish Eggs:  Photograph    Richard Lord

The two photos attached were taken in different years but both in March.  Both deposits of eggs were nestled in a crevice and completely out of the
water during low tide.  They were deposited at the mid-shore level. In relation to other eggs I find on the shore these eggs were quite large but I do not have exact measurements - certainly each egg was well over 1 mm in diameter.  The orientation of the photo indicates the orientation of the eggs.
Query and Photograph by Richard Lord (Guernsey) 
British Sea Anemones

Photograph by Andy Horton

Two studies of the Sagartia troglodytes sea anemone
which is very common on the Sussex coasts where 
there is a minimum of shelter. 
The background picture in the left column shows a typical Sagartia troglodytes habitat with chalk bedrock partly covered with sand. 

Shore Topography Series

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 150K in size.

Photographers submitting pictures should indicate if they wish them to be considered for inclusion as confirming permission takes work and time and can delay publication of the news bulletins. 

Shore Topography Portfolio

Link to more marine life photographs

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





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.

See the venues for talks and activities in the left hand column.
Click on the images (on-line) for the latest information.

BIOSIS  Conference Calendar for Zoology 

(Major Link of all biological conferences around the world)




18 to 20 March 2005

at The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD

Offers of talks and/or posters, either on the theme or on any appropriate subject, are welcome now. We shall attempt to accommodate talks of from 20 to 30 minutes into the programme. Please specify equipment requirements.

Speakers so far include:

  • Martin Angel: Towards an Atlas of North Atlantic Planktonic Ostracoda
  • Geoff Moore: Richard Elmhirst: the 'other' Cumbrae naturalist
  • Kim Last: Biological rhythms of Nereis virens
  • Brian Bett: Viewing the depths of the sea
  • Peter Davis: '19th century marine biology in north east England' 
  • CCW: Distribution and character of Sabellaria alveolata reefs around Wales
  • Jean-Claude Dauvin: Marine census of benthic invertebrates in The English Channel
  • The Conference Dinner will be held on the Friday night. Advance notice of intention to attend the dinner (plus payment of a deposit of £10) is essential.
    Full Details (Click on this text)

     Public Aquaria List




    Marine fish & invertebrates
    of Northern Europe
    Frank Emil Moen & Erling Svensen

    In May 2004 the English edition of the very popular Norwegian Marine Fauna (Dyreliv I havet) was published. Prof. David Bellamy has written the foreword. 

    More than one thousand underwater photographs  and 608 pages with updated information on marine fish and invertebrates from nearly all marine phylum in Northern European waters. The largest newspaper in Norway, Aftenposten gave the Norwegian edition 6 out of 6 points in a book review. It is in use at all major higher marine biology studies in Norway. 

    The English edition is translated by Prof Fredrik Pleijel and Dr. Sabine Cochrane
    The book is available from Aquapress in the UK, Skandisk, Inc. USA and KOM in Norway .


    BMLSS: Marine Life Articles in Publications (Link)

    The British Marine Life Study Society are responsible for producing the journal GLAUCUS, which is the first publication exploring the marine life of the seas surrounding the British Isles available to the general public. 

    Change of EMail Address

    New EMail addressPlease note that the EMail address for messages to the British Marine Life Study Society has now changed

    from bmlss@compuserve.com to Glaucus@hotmail.com

    Messages to the first address will not receive any guarantee of a reply and from year 2003, the old EMail address is expected to fall into disuse. 


    Membership 2005
    Plans have not yet been finalised for the publications and subscriptions for year 2005. 

    How to Join

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

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    Torpedo compiled by Andy Horton
    Background design by Andy Horton and other contributors

        12 January 2005

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    Boar Fish, Capros aper