Marine Life News Bulletin

August 2011

ISSN  1464-8156

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
Link to the Marine Life News web pages for 2011
GATEWAY:  Further European Links
New EMail address
Link to the British Marine Life Study Society Facebook page
Courses (Marine Life)
Discussion Groups
Link to the Fishbase web pages
Marine Information Service
(Marine Life Information Network)
World Register of Marine Species
National Biodiversity Gateway
National Biodiversity Network
World Oceans Day
Link to Ray Dennis's Cornish Marine Life Reports for 2009
Link to Sealord Photography
Link to the Aphoto pages

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

Marine Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning
Marine Wildlife Reserve
Link to Jim Anderson's Scottish Nudibranch (and other sea slugs) web pages

7-14 years
Oakley Intertidal 
on Facebook
Fish & Sharks of the 
NE Atlantic
New Photographic Gallery 
on flickr



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 Internet Explorer using medium fonts at a resolution of 1024 x 768.
Subscribe and unsubscribe options are at the foot of this page.


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 August 2011
An 18 metre long Fin Whale, Balaenoptera physalis, was washed ashore dead, with a large chunk out of its rear fin, at Lynmouth in north Devon. 

Fin Whales in the Irish Sea

5 August 2011
I discovered two Giant Gobies, Gobius cobitus. at Roskilley, south of Newlyn, Cornwall; in a small middleshore pool, 100 cm x 100 cm (open space), no green algae cover, but there was a very deep crevice under a large rock. On watching them I was amazed at how rapidly they can change colour from dark brown to olive green depending on the bottom / from shade to light. They were both easily teased out their hole with a little mackerel flake.

Report and Photograph by David Fenwick Snr. (Aphotomarine)

The Giant Goby, Gobius cobitus, is a protected species under Schedule 5, Protection for wild animals of the Wildlife and Countryside Act

BMLSS Giant Gobies

23 July 2011
The grim predictions turned out to be accurate as 25 Long-finned Pilot Whales, Globicephala melas, died over night, 15 stranded at low tide on the sandbanks at Kyle of Durness,. A further 44 survived, a few of them successfully rescued by the efforts of the British Divers Marine Life Rescue, rescuers from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), Scottish Agricultural College (SAC), Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS) and other helpers in this remote location. 44 of the Pilot Whales successfully swam out to deeper water and away from danger. 

Rounding up the whales and coaxing them into deeper water

Rescuing the Stranded Pilot Whales
Photographs by Donald Mitchell, Ranger (Highland Council)
Highland Council on  flickr
Durness Tourist Information Centre

Report by Colin Bird (Link)
Video Recording (Link)

Stranded Pilot Whales
Photographs © by Wendy Sutherland (Thrumster, Caithness)

22 July 2011
Up to 15 out of a large school of sixty plus Long-finned Pilot Whales, Globicephala melas, were spotted at high tide in 3.5 metres water in the narrow Kyle of Durness, on the remote northern Scottish mainland coast. There were concerns for their safety as at low tide the water in the shallow inlet is only 1.5 metres deep and contains numerous sandbanks. (Report entered two hours before low tide.) 


Stranded Pilot Whales
Photographs © by Alan Airey
Whales & Dolphins Gallery (by Alan Airey)

Update: Three whales, including a calf, had already stranded as the water in the estuary dropped.
Low Tide Update 8:00 pmFrom the original group of whales that entered the Kyle of Durness earlier in the day, thirty stranded live on a sandbank, with two having died. The original four animals that stranded earlier were still being cared for by trained medics and around twenty animals were still in the shallow water. 

British Divers Marine Life Rescue

Several Bluefin Tuna, Thunnus thynnus, were spotted and at least one was captured off the Dorset coast.

BMLSS Tunnies & Mackerel

14 July 2011
Young rockpooler Henry Hyndman discovered a small colony of breeding Cushion Stars, Asterina, in a rockpool on Fair Isle (midway between the Shetland Isles and the Orkney Isles). This was a newsworthy discovery because this is a southern species usually found off the coast of Cornwall and south Wales.

BMLSS Echinoderms

11 July 2011
A Sei WhaleBalaenoptera borealis, was spotted and photographer by Danny Kerr in the Air Ambulance between Islay and Gigha in south-west Scotland. This deep water whale is rarely seen in the shallower seas around the British Isles. 

Sei Whale off Cornwall (2000)

9 July 2011
For the second successive year a Sperm Whale, Physeter macrocephalus, was spotted off the south coast of Devon near Brixham

Previous 2010 Report
BMLSS Cetaceans

The giant fossilised jaws of a Pliosaur went on display at the County Museum, Dorchester. The 2.4 metre long skull was discovered on the nearby Jurassic Coast at Weymouth Bay. It is 95% complete as a result of a careful recovery by amateur collector Kevan Sheehan

Previous News Report


Marine Wildlife of the North-east Atlantic Ocean Mailing Groups

Marine Wildlife of the North-east Atlantic Ocean 
Yahoo Group
New Group:

British Marine Life Study Society 
Facebook Page:

This Wall is now working properly and members can now post on it. This is designed for quick less important chatty news items. Photographs can be uploaded quickly which is only possible on the Yahoo Group by going to the web page. 

Images can be uploaded to flickr.

Wet Thumb (Marine Aquariology) Forum Link


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

Cornish Marine Wildlife (Ray Dennis Records) 2009


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.

Featured Species

Lepadogaster lepadogaster (Bonnaterre, 1788) Shore Clingfish, Cornish Sucker
Lepadogaster lepadogaster purpurea is the area (British) subspecies. 

Photograph by Andy Rapson on facebook

The Shore Clingfish or Cornish Sucker, is a southern species found on the shores of the Mediterranean and Atlantic coast of Europe reaching its most northerly point of distribution on the south-west coast of England, Ireland and Wales, recorded from Dorset and south-west Scotland but absent (or extremely rare) from the coast of Sussex and North Sea shores. It is found in shallow water where it lives under rocks and can occasionally be discovered on the low spring tides.  The pelvic fins of this fish are modified into a sucker to cling to rocks and avoid it being dislodged in rough weather when it is guarding its golden yellow eggs. 

This fish is very similar to the Connemara Clingfish, Lepadogaster candollei Risso, 1810 but can be distinguished from it by the two fringed flaps by each nostril which are clearly visible (Frances Dipper).

BMLSS Clingfish

Rockpooling Gallery by Andy Rapson


Shorewatch Biological Recording


Shore Topography Series

The name of the particular coast should be included and any other interesting information including 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 350K in size.

Fingal's Cave, Staffa, Inner Hebrides
Photograph by Nigel Kennedy

Dramatic geology of a sea cave on the uninhabited island of Staffa. Argyll, Scotland.

 50 to 60 million years ago, during the Paleogene period (Lower Tertiary), the area was subject to intense volcanic activity, when highly fluid molten basalt intruded through chalk beds to form an extensive lava plateau. It is formed entirely from hexagonally jointed basalt columns, similar in structure to (and part of the same ancient lava flow as) the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland and those of nearby Ulva. In both cases, the cooling surface of the mass of hot lava cracked in a hexagonal pattern in a similar way to drying mud cracking as it shrinks, and these cracks gradually extended down into the mass of lava as it cooled and shrank to form the mostly vertical columns, which were subsequently exposed by erosion. 

It became known as Fingal's Cave after the eponymous hero of an epic poem by 18th-century Scots poet-historian James Macpherson. The legend has Fionn or Finn building the causeway between Ireland and Scotland.

The cave's Gaelic name, Uamh-Binn, means "cave of melody".

Fingal's Cave on Wikipedia
Fingal's Cave (Scottish Geology)  Hunterian Museum

Boat Trips

As Staffa is a small island out at sea, its wildlife population is dominated by seabirds. A large colony of Puffins breed on Staffa every summer and are always a firm favourite with visitors who can see them congregate on the cliffs, diving into the water then return with a beakful of fish. The best time to see the Puffins is during the breeding season between the start of May and start of August when the birds have their distinctive colourful beaks.

Other seabirds that either nest or feed from the island include Gannets, Guillemots, Razorbills, Great Northern Divers, Fulmars and Great Skuas.

In addition to Staffa’s rich seabird life, there is of course plenty of wildlife beneath the waves. On a trip to Staffa there are very often sightings of spectacular cetaceans such as Dolphins, Porpoises and in the summer months: Minke and Fin Whales. The warmer months also see the return of the mysterious and elusive Basking Shark whose massive fins are seen breaking the surface as it feeds.

Boat Trips (2)

British Coastal Topography

First enquiry by EMail to

New EMail address


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.

BIOSIS  Conference Calendar for Zoology

(Major Link of all biological conferences around the world)

 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

Would you know what to do if you found a whale stranded on a beach?

Each year anywhere between five and 50 whales, dolphins and porpoises are washed up on Britain's beaches.
British Divers Marine Life Rescue, a volunteer charity, was set up in 1998 to rescue them.

BBC News Report

01825  765546






A Field Guide to Marine Fishes of Wales and Adjacent Waters

by Paul Kay & Frances Dipper 
£19.95 incl. p&p
Soft cover

With 256 pages and numerous photographs supported by drawings, this book is the most comprehensive photographic guide to marine fish currently available in the UK. Published for the Marine Conservation Society with support from the Countryside Council for Wales. 

Click on the image to order this book through the Marine Conservation Society


July 2010

PS: A second revised edition of the book has been published. 


Publisher: Graffeg
Publisher's Review (click on this text)
Review by the City and County of Swansea

This is the book I should have written (and I dare say a few others as well) and is a much needed introduction to the world of the seashore and the hobby of rockpooling. It is a photographic guide to most of the common species encountered which is much appreciated as newcomers and even experienced rockpoolers will try and match up what they have seen to a visual image (and photographs work better than line drawings) and this will usually get them the correct species, (unless there are two very alike species and then you will need a specialist identification guide like the Collins Guide to the Seashore).

However, the seashore is a rich and interesting habitat with a myriad of species and 225 pages of this large pocket guide are comprehensively covered to suit the enthusiast.

Extract from the foreword by Keith Hiscock:
"Being able to names to what you see and, better still, to use your observations to add to our knowledge about the natural world is what this book is about."

But the book for a popular audience is more than this. It starts from the assumption that the parents and teachers and older children are unfamiliar with the seashore environment, so the

1. Getting started
explains about the tides (very briefly: a detailed explanation can be in chapter 2) and the equipment you may need, where and how to look for the seashore critters (my term).
2. Living between the tides
explains about the dynamic nature of the littoral environment and the variations on different coasts. It also introduces the explorer to a few technical terms which are further explored in
3. Zonation
which is a rather important explanation to on what part of the shore what animals and seaweeds are to be discovered and why
4. Habitats
Even between the zones the geography of the seashore varies and this chapter explains what habitats what type of creatures
5. Beachcombing
This is the scavenger's first introduction to the see what the sea has deposited on the strandline complete with an excellent quick guide to the common shells and other treasures
6. Animal Life
The large animal life section is structured roughly by phyla (major groups of animals) ignoring for the most part the specialist microscopic studies. Each animal group is given a brief description including behavioural characteristics. Each animal is given a common name and the important scientific name (because the common names can vary in different localities and in different books) with a photograph, brief written description, habitat preferences and field notes.
"Did you know?
Male crabs have a narrow 'v' shaped tail with 5 joints and in females the tail is wider with 7 joints."
Fish are the most interesting discoveries for many of the fledgling rockpoolers. Most of the common species are included but a frequently encountered species like the Rock Goby, Gobius paganellus, has been omitted.
7. Seaweeds
In contrast to the fish the common macroalgae are well covered.
8. Conservation
This is a good section encouraging participants to take an active interest, how the public can help and a comprehensive list of where to report their findings.
9. Further Information
With a book list and a list of organisations and their web pages, a comprehensive glossary and an index, this has the hook that could result in a lifetime interest in the seashore.

Now why would anybody want to go to Serengeti when we have so much of interest nearer to home?


by Andy Horton (August 2010)

Oakley Intertidal on Facebook

BMLSS Guide Books

June 2009

My larger shrimp net, the same design that appeared on River Walks

The Edible Seashore (River Cottage Handbook No. 5)
by John Wright was published

Not just a cookery book: you have to go down to the shore and catch or collect the food yourself. The 240 page hardback book (with an index) is exceptionally well produced in quality of the binding, paper as well as the quality of writing, information and clear useful colour photographs. It is well organised into nine chapters:

Starting Out:  Conservation and Equipment, including the first paper published instructions on how to construct a shrimp net (push-net). 

Foraging:  Lots of useful and essential information about the tides, weather, safety and what to wear. 

Rule Book: This is the bravest inclusion. John Wright attempts (better than anyone so far) to explain the rules, law and ethics of seashore collection, what you are allowed and not allowed to do. It is worth buying the book for this chapter alone.

The Flowering Plants
The Seaweeds
The Molluscs
The Crustaceans

All the expected species and some unlikely edible candidates are included and each is given two pages. Very informative and lots of information I did not already know. John Wright conducted his research first hand and we shrimped together on Southwick Beach with Peter Talbot-Elsden (as shown in my photograph, not in the book).

The Recipes:  Well I would omit the chilli in the Potted Shrimp. After collecting the food, I am usually a wee bit tired and this chapter should be for your partner. Let me know how you get on?

The home-made shrimp net on page 17 is an identical design to mine, the one used by John Wright before he made his own on our expeditions at Southwick, and the one used by Charlie Dimmick on River Walks filmed on nearby Lancing beach.

Conclusion: Highly recommended, essential purchase ***** (highest five star rating).

BMLSS Shrimping


Kimmeridge Tidings

Autumn 2009

Up to date with all the latest happenings at our Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve in Kimmeridge.

by Peter Stiles
Publisher: Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon

Philip Henry Gosse was a popular naturalist who moved to Victorian Ilfracombe and wrote his natural science book ‘A Naturalist’s Rambles on the Devonshire Coast’. He later designed the first public aquarium, which opened in London. His activities also attracted other naturalists, including Charles Darwin and novelist George Eliot.

This book celebrates the link between Philip Henry Gosse and his rockpool adventures in Devon and contains lots of information about the life of this self-taught Victorian scientist and writer.

in conjunction with an Exhibition that finished on 25 April 2009.

Marine Fisheries Science Yearbook  2008/2009

Publisher:  defra

href="">To obtain a copy from the defra web site, click on this text

Sharks in British Seas

Richard Peirce
138 pages, colour illustrations, line drawings, colour & b/w photos.
Lots of newspaper reports.

Publisher:  Shark Cornwall
Softcover | 2008 | £9.99

ISBN: 978-0-955869402 

by Lucy Beckett-Bowman

Consultant: Andy Horton
Usborne Publishing   £3.99

Usborne Beginners Series
Level One (very young children)

ISBN 978-0-7460-8864-7

BMLSS Notes for a Primary School Teacher

Whales & Dolphins
of the European Atlantic
The Bay of Biscay, English Channel, Celtic Sea and coastal SW Ireland
by Dylan Walker and Graeme Cresswell
with the illustrations by Robert Still
WILDGuides  2008
£ 12.00 (includes standard UK P&P)
ISBN:  978-1-903657-31-7

This is the second fully revised and updated edition of this comprehensive guide to the identification of whales, dolphins and porpoises (collectively known as cetaceans) in the European Atlantic. Until very recently, most researchers and whale-watchers were unaware of the great variety of cetaceans that can be seen so close to the shores of western Europe. Indeed, it is only during the last decade, when detailed cetacean surveys have been carried out in earnest, that we have discovered how important this area is for cetacean biodiversity.

This field guide describes all of the 31 species of whale, dolphin and porpoise that have occurred in the European Atlantic.

BMLSS Cetacean Book Reviews

The Gulf Stream
by Bruno Voituriez
Publisher:  UNESCO 
ISBN:  92-3-103995-4 
222 pages, figures, glossary, bibliography

The Gulf Stream
Amid contemporary scenarios of potential climatic catastrophes and global warming that might be imagined to bring a new ice age, the powerful image of the Gulf Stream rising from the Florida Straits and flowing to the north Atlantic inevitably provokes questions about its ecological significance and whether it might ever stop.

Coastal Plankton
Photo Guide for European Seas

by Otto Larink & Wilfried Westheide
reviewed by Wim van Egmond
(Collins New Naturalist) (Paperback)
by Peter Hayward
Collins 2004

ISBN:  0-00-220031-7

Amazon Web Site

Paperback. Pp 288. Colour & b/w photographs, illustrations, charts, maps and bibliography. Fine copy. "New Naturalist" Seashore is a comprehensive, authoritative account of the natural history of the seashore.

BMLSS General Guides
BMLSS Advanced Guides


Working to reduce Marine Pollution and to help the birds caught in it
Quarterly Newsletter
Registered Charity  803473


Decision-making in Marine Mammal
Rescue and Rehabilitation

Eastern English Channel Habitat Atlas for Marine Resource Management
is available for download from

Encyclopaedia of Marine Life of Britain and Ireland

Marine Fauna of Norway

WET THUMB (Marine Aquariology)

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. In future, I expect the publication to be in an electronic format. 
    We also publish the SHOREWATCH Newsletter and
    the TORPEDO Electronic News Bulletin.

    The Glaucus 2002 CD-ROM was sent out to Premier BMLSS members in January 2003.

EMail Address

New EMail addressEMail address for messages to the British Marine Life Study Society 


Membership 2011
Plans have not yet been finalised for the publications and subscriptions for year 2011. Back copies of previous issues are still available. 

Bulletin Details

If you receive this Bulletin direct from the British Marine Life Study Society it will contain only hypertext and image (*.htm *.gif & *.jpg) files.
Recipients can only unsubscribe if the Bulletin is received directly from the BMLSS.
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To save download times, only new images are included with each Bulletin.
The Bulletin is designed to be viewed on Internet Explorer using medium fonts at a resolution of 1024 x 768. 
Viewing should be possible on Mozilla and other browsers.

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 Microscope Internet Explorer 7 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 other web page editors, 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.

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. When received in Pegasus the format is changed slightly, but the bulletin is still readable

Torpedo compiled by Andy Horton
Background design by Andy Horton and other contributors
     19 August 2011 

Compiled on Netscape Composer 4.6 and other programs