Marine Life News Bulletin

February 2006

ISSN 1464-8156

Skye (Photograph by Jon Bramley)
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 the Cornish Marine Life Reports (by Ray Dennis) for 2005
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

Link to the Porcupine Society web pages

Marine Life Society
South Australia ***

De Strandwerkgemeenschap




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 and can be viewed satisfactorily at a resolution of 1024 x 768.
Subscribe and unsubscribe options are at the foot of this page.
If you receive this bulletin as an EMail subscriber, you may find the best way to view the file is on your hard disc in your directory of Incoming EMails.


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.

30 January 2006
The Bottle-nosed Dolphin, Tursiops truncatus, that visited Maryport Harbour, north-west England, was finally released into the open sea. A team led by British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) successfully captured the animal, assisted with a veterinary examination and then released the animal offshore, where it was joined by two other dolphins of the same species, before strongly swimming off to safety.

Report by Dave Jarvis on the Cornish Mailing List
(West Cornwall Co-ordinator, British Divers Marine Life Rescue)
First Report
BMLSS Cetacean Reports 2006

29 January 2006
A Triggerfish, Balistes capriscus, had washed up dead on the beach west of Grand Avenue Worthing West Sussex, and the fish was beginning to smell a bit. 

NB: Triggerfish are a southern warm water fish that reach their most northerly point of distribution in the English Channel and some of the fish may die of cold during the winter months.
Marine Life Reports (Sussex)
BMLSS Triggerfish

28 January 2006
Thousands of dead specimens of the Common Starfish, Asteria rubens, were washed up on the beach about a mile and a half to the north of Tywyn (north of Aberystwyth) on the Cardigan Bay coast of north-west Wales.  There seem to be various interpretations of these mass strandings, including winter storms and changes in water temperature.

Report by Derek Williams
BMLSS Echinoderms

21 January 2006
A Boar Fish, Capros aper, is washed up alive on at Branksome Chine, Dorset (near Bournemouth). It was thrown back in the sea but it may get washed up again.

Boar Fish (Photograph by Robert Aquilina)

This attractive deep water fish is very occasionally washed up alive or found in rock pools and very occasionally caught by anglers. 

Report and Photograph by Robert Aquilina (Oxford Brookes University)
via Julie Hatcher (Secret Life at Low Tide)
and Doug Herdson (National Marine Aquarium at Plymouth
NB:  Although very tricky to keep and only recommended for advanced marine aquarists' these fish make fascinating aquarium fish. 
BMLSS Boar Fish
Wet Thumb (Marine Aquarium Study)

White-beaked Dolphin (Photograph from Paula Gent)A three metres long White-beaked Dolphin, Lagenorhyncus albirostris, was washed up dead on the north Scotland mainland coast, Caithness. It appeared as though it was a fishing capture and it had been gutted to make it sink. Pods of forty or so of these dolphins have been seen before off the Scottish coast.
The Gruesome Gallery

Whales & Dolphins in British Seas (by Steve Savage)
BMLSS Cetacea

A six metres long Basking Shark, Cetorhinus maximus, was spotted by the Amethyst fishing vessel heading in the direction of the Lizard off the south-west of Cornwall. This appears to be the a very early winter sighting and the first of the year.

BMLSS Basking Sharks

20-21 January 2006
A four tonne 5.8 metres long immature female Northern Bottle-nosed Whale, Hyperoodon ampullatus, swam up to central London and was seen as far upstream as Lambeth Bridge, Westminster, (within sight of the Houses of Parliament). Three adult whales were spotted east of the Thames Barrier the day before and at 8:30 am a man on a train spotted a whale in the Thames out of the train window. Rescue attempts by British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) and the authorities are being directed to persuading the whale to reverse direction and swim back out to sea and to avoid any further collisions with boats. This is the first time a whale had been seen so far upstream since records began in 1913

On the second day, the whale looked in a poor condition and showed no sign of returning to the open sea. A decision was taken (by the BDLMR and authorities) to make an improvised pontoon, crane the whale on to it and tow the unfortunate sea mammal back out to the Thames estuary. The prognosis was poor. The whale died at 7:00 pm.

BDMLR Report & Chronology
BDMLR Press Release

Tidal notes at London Bridge: High: 6 metres, Low: 1.3 metres (low about midday)

BDMLR News Releases on Forum
BMLSS Cetacean Reports 2006

16-17 January 2006
Twenty four egg cases of the endangered Skate, Dipturus (=Raja) batis, were  discovered on the Sandside shore near the Dounreay nuclear power plant, Caithness, west of Thurso and Scrabster Harbour and John o'Groats on the northernmost coast of mainland Scotland, the first records reported to the Shark Trust and the first records on the mainland Scotland since these egg case occurrences have been recorded. 

Paula Gent and the
Egg Cases of the Common Skate

The egg cases measured between 23 to 28 cm long and 13 to 16 cm wide in a dried state and the first seventeen were discovered in a 15 minute along the beach.
When the egg cases are placed in water they expand in size.

Shark Trust Eggcase Hunt
Caithness Eggcase Walk

Report by Paula Gent with photographs by Davey Benson

Egg Capsules of Rays & Sharks (Link to the Web Pages)
BMLSS Mermaid's Purses
January 2005 Report

Egg Capsules of Rays and Sharks (Link)

16 January 2006
A bright orange Red Band Fish, Cepola rubescens, was discovered alive but in a moribund state in a rockpool on the shore of Pevensey Bay in East Sussex. This fish is rarely recorded as it lives in burrows in the sea bed offshore. This is one fish that has been discovered more often since we have been recording its occurrence and it seems quite widespread around the coasts of the British Isles. 

Report by John Cook
January 2006
Large growths of an invasive species of a didemnid ascidian (sea squirt) called Didemnum sp. may* have reached the east coast of Ireland.  It appears that large gelatinous growths of a didemnid are appearing practically all around the world and have now cropped up off the north European coasts as well as New Zealand and large parts of the United States of America. These colonial tunicates are regarded as a nuisance and one of many fouling organism species that attach to boat hulls, fishing gear, harbour wharves etc. 
Woods Hole Science Center Information

Liz Sides, from Duchas in Ireland says that one of her tunicate taxonomic friends has found what appears to be a large non-native Didemnum sp growing prolifically in a marina on the Irish east coast. (*The identification has not been confirmed yet.)

Report by Rohan Holt
 7 January 2006

The Snake Pipefish, Entelerus aequoreus, photographed at a depth of 25 metres in Scapa Flow in the Orkney Isles near the wreck of the SMS Koln. There were three of these fish seen. 

  Report and Photographs by Kevin Wilson (Loganair Ltd)

NB: These pipefish have been caught by Puffins instead of their normal food of Sand-eels. The fish might be commoner this year, but more likely the Sand-eel populations have collapsed causing starvation amongst the Puffin chicks. 

BMLSS Pipefish

6 - 30 January 2006
A friendly Bottle-nosed Dolphin, Tursiops truncatus, visited Maryport Harbour, Cumbria, on the Solway estuary in north-west England. Fishermen say the dolphin, nicknamed Marra, has been following them off Workington since summer and has always been on its own. Experts believe he may have followed fishing boats into the harbour. It has stayed around in the harbour for the month of January, but although it is feeding, there are fears that there is insufficient food of live fish in the harbour to sustain a large mammal. 

Sea Watch Foundation News
BMLSS Cetacea

1 January 2006
Ormers, Haliotis tuberculata, with a minimum shell length of 80 mm can be legally collected from the shores of Guernsey.

I discovered an Ormer of shell length 11.75 cm on 18 October 2005 on the
shore at La Valette on Guernsey's east coast - south of St. Peter Port. I wanted to find out if this Ormer was still under the same rock. I was not disappointed. This is the second time I have found an Ormer in the autumn which has remained under the same rock through to the New Year. I did not collect it but hope it survives the Ormer collecting season which continues during large spring tides until the end of April.

Report by Richard Lord (Guernsey)
Rockpooling in Guernsey

Cornish Marine Life Reports 2005

Magic Map now has a Coastal and Marine Resource Atlas


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.


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.

Skye (Photograph by Jon Bramley)

A view of Skye from near Glenelg on mainland Scotland
facing south-west, during late December 2000

Photograph by Jon Bramley

Shore Topography Portfolio

Please send any attractive or interesting coastal scenic, landscape, topographic or faunal photographs specifying location and details

Axius stirhynchus

This small crustacean was observed at Le Hocq, Jersey on 23 July 2005

Report & Photograph by Richard Lord (Guernsey)
The "prawn" lives in burrows offshore. The numbers of this crustacean which seems to be uncommon in British seas, are unknown.

Infraorder: Thalassinidea (Decapoda, Pleocyemata)

Axius stirhynchus
Photograph  ©  Richard Lord (Guernsey)

Two other species in the same genus have been recorded from the north-western Atlantic.

Axius serratus  Stimpson, 1852, 
Axius armatus  Smith, 1881



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. 

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)

Link to the Porcupine Society web pagesPorcupine
Marine Natural History Society

24-26 March 2006
The Isle of Man Conference
Marine Natural History: Past, Present and Future

For those of you who are unaware, Port Erin Marine Laboratory on the Isle of Man will be closing its doors at the end of June 2006, after 114 years of service.

Events have been organised to mark the occasion and Porcupine Marine Natural 
History Society, having many members with past links to PEML, wanted to 
highlight the contribution of PEML to our understanding of the marine 
environment by holding the annual PMNHS conference at the marine station. 
This is a great opportunity to visit or revisit the laboratory one last 

There will be two days of talks (Friday and Saturday) followed by a field trip on the Sunday. Laboratory space will be available and it may be possible to arrange diving for any truly hardy people! The Isle of Man has extensive and varied rocky shores and sandy coves and also has superb scenery, walks and many other tourist attractions. So you may wish to extend your visit by a few days. Unfortunately the Laboratory will be closing permanently in July 2006 so this may be your last opportunity to visit.

Call for papers: We would be delighted to hear from anyone who would like to present a paper at the conference. Speakers will not be charged the conference fee but will be asked to make a small contribution for refreshments. 
Offers of papers to Séamus Whyte (

Posters: There is a space for posters adjacent to the lecture hall for easy viewing during coffee/ tea breaks. 
Offers of posters to Séamus Whyte (

Costs: The conference fee, which includes tea and coffee is £30 (£20 for students and unwaged). Non-Porcupine members may join the Society during the conference (by standing order only) for £5, a 50% reduction. If you wish to take advantage of this offer the total fee will be £35.

Details including location map, accommodation list, provisional programme & membership form (where appropriate) will be sent on completion of the booking form.

Booking Enquiries: Peter Barfield - or 01208 851040 


10 June 2006

Date: Saturday  10 June 2006
Time: 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
Venue: Coronation Green, Shoreham-by-Sea
Admission: FREE

Adur will be one of the UK leaders in presenting an environmental exhibition of World Oceans Day on Coronation Green, Shoreham, as part of the Adur Festival.


If you wish to participate, please let me know ASAP by EMail


 Public Aquaria List
?  What to do if you find a stranded whale or dolphin  ?

If you find a LIVE stranded or injured whale or dolphin on the beach you must send for help QUICKLY. A whale or dolphin stranding is an emergency and the speed of response by a professional rescue team is perhaps the most crucial factor in determining whether or not an animal can be returned to the sea alive.

0300 1234 999
0300 1234 999
0131 339 0111
0845 201 2626
01534 724331
00 44 1481 257261

British Divers Marine Life Rescue
01825  765546




The Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom launched a new full colour magazine, GLOBAL MARINE ENVIRONMENT in 2005, which will appeal to people who wish to read accurate, interesting and entertaining articles about the world's oceans and its inhabitants.
Much of the source material for this new magazine is the Journal of the Marine Biological Association (JMBA). Whereas the journal is full of excellent scientific papers, GLOBAL MARINE ENVIRONMENT takes some of the most interesting studies and, in full colour, writes a more understandable summary of the findings.

The first issue of Global Marine Environment may be purchased in hard copy for £1.75 (see below) or downloaded from the web at the following

Information provided by Richard Lord (Guernsey)


ISBN  0-9522831-5-8

Available from:


Encyclopedia of Marine Life of Britain and Ireland

Marine Fauna of 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


Membership 2006
Plans have not yet been finalised for the publications and subscriptions for year 2006. 

How to Join

Bulletin Details

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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

      3 February 2006

Compiled on Netscape Composer 4.7 and other programs
Boar Fish, Capros aperLen NevellMarc AbrahamJohn KnightUrchin fossil (out of scale) dating the pebbles at 85 million years oldMermaid's Purses