Marine Life News Bulletin

March 2012

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
Marine Life News 2012
GATEWAY:  Further European Links
New EMail address
Link to the British Marine Life Study Society Facebook page
Courses (Marine Life)
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
Link to Coastal Topography 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

27 March 2012
Marine Strategy Framework Directive Consultation: UK Initial Assessment and proposals for Good Environmental Status 
The EU Directive requires Member States to take measures to achieve or maintain Good Environmental Status (GES) for their seas by 2020.  GES involves protecting the marine environment, preventing its deterioration and restoring it where practical, while using marine resources sustainably.
The consultation ends on 18 June 2012.
defra Information Page
25 March 2012
Discovered stranded by the receding equinoctial spring tide, this Lesser Octopus, Eledone cirrhosa, was high and dry at Llandudno on the north Wales coast.. I dug a shallow depression underneath it which filled with water, allowing it to breath. Initially the pupil was almost closed, but got larger after about ten minutes.
"I was amazed how it could change colour and shape, and the feeling of the tentacles gripping my fingers was quite strange. Anyway, after a brief photoshoot, I'm happy to say she was free to carry on chasing crabs and lobsters."

BMLSS Octopuses

A major gas leak from the Elgin platform, 150 miles off Aberdeen, has and continues to pollute the North Sea with a sheen of  of gas condensate, and measuring six nautical miles in length. Total E&P UK Limited believes the leak is coming from a rock formation above the main reservoir, at a depth of 4,000 metres.

Early March 2012
A Slipper Lobster,Scyllarus arctus, caught in a creel off Salcombe, south Devon, was returned alive. "These small clawless lobsters are a range extension species and seem to be spreading into British waters. This is about 35th I have records of and I should appreciate any other reports. This was an ovigerous female and most females found over the last eight years have been "in berry".

Report and comments by Doug Herdson (Fish Information Services)
from a report in Fishing News

9 March 2012
A spectacular cliff fall occurred between Langdon Cliffs and South Foreland Lighthouse on the Kent coast when an area the size of a football pitch suddenly fell away, sending thousands of tonnes of chalk crashing 100 metres down on to the shore in an area known as Crab Bay, part of the white cliffs of Dover

Discovering Fossils (Dover, Kent)

View of the Crab Bay cliff fall, from Langdon Heights
Photograph on the left by Kevin Mudge-Wood/TAT Photography

View of the cliff fall from the bottom of the cliffs
Photograph by Lee Pelling Photography

Click on the image for the report

4 March 2012
Three Risso’s Dolphins, Grampus griseus, were visible from the from road that skirts the northern shore of Catfirth, Shetland Islands. They surfaced every couple of minutes or so in the early afternoon. 
Image Gallery (Shetland Wildlife)

Report on Shetland Wildlife on facebook
BMLSS  Whales & Dolphins

3 March 2012

Sperm Whale
Photographs by Gaz West
Sperm Whale Image Gallery

The carcass of a smelly 10.7 metre (35 ft) long Sperm Whale, Physeter macrocephalus, washed ashore on the sandy beach at Skegness on the Lincolnshire North Sea coast.

Previous Sperm Whale Stranding at Skegness 2006
BMLSS Cetaceans


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.

Link to the British Marine Life Study Society Facebook page

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


Small Goby: Lebetus guilleti
The ID is in question. It could be a juvenile sculpin, possibly a young Micrenophrys lilljeborgii
Photograph by Jim Anderson on a dive in January 2011 in the Sound of Luing, Inner Hebrides

This small fish was originally identified by me as arguably the most attractive of the gobies found around the British Isles: Lebetus guilleti is rarely seen and even more rarely photographed. It has not even got a popular name. This one had attained its maximum size of 25 mm.

Lebetus guilleti is a very small fish (possible the smallest in European seas?) has not been recorded between the tides around the British Isles, but it is seen mostly in shallow depth at about 10 metres. It inhabits Lithothamnion alga-encrusted rock areas. There is another species in the genus, Lebetus scorpioides, that inhabits deeper waters. Lebetus guilleti  has been recorded from the Shetland Islands to the Mediterranean Sea.

More notes:

The north-eastern Atlantic gobiid genus Lebetus Winther, 1877, was formerly believed to contain two species, Lebetus scorpioides (Collett, 1874) and L. orca (Collett, 1874). These have been subsequently shown to represent females (and immature fish) and males respectively of a single, sexually dimorphic species whose valid name is L. scorpioides. The discovery of two forms of Lebetus postlarvae, differing in meristic characters, fin growth, and pigmentation, is shown not to affect this conclusion but to suggest provisional recognition of another species, L. guilleti (Le Danois, 1913), with fewer anal fin-rays (A I/5–6) and vertebrae (25–26) than L. scorpioides (A I/7–8; vertebrae 27-29). A key and limited synonymy for the species is provided. As a possible alternative view it is suggested that relatively high summer sea-temperatures during early development of L. scorpioides in certain areas may produce the lower meristic features of L. guilleti. Dr. Peter Miller 1971

Guillet’s Goby - Lebetus guilleti (by Lin Baldock)

Guillet’s Goby - Lebetus guilleti (by Robert Patzner)

Guillet’s Goby - Lebetus guilleti (Underwater Shetland)

Jim Anderson Nudibranch Gallery

Click on the images for the original photographs


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.

Inundated coastline between Bossington and Porlock Wier, Somerset
Photograph by Mark Robinson

The shingle bar has been breached, with the sea deliberately allowed to flood the farmland as part of the coastline management. It is envisaged that the flooded land will revert to salt marsh. This represents a change of policy where where there are no valuable properties, to allow the natural dynamic processes is thought to be the best way to manage the coastline. In part, to allow deliberate flooding in one area prevents flooding in areas where the sea could cause economic damage.

Flood Adaptation Action Plan for Porlock Weir

Bristol Channel Shoreline Management Plan for Porlock Bay

Policy Decisions for Management of the coast near Porlock Bay

Click on the images for the original photographs

British Coastal Topography

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.

9 June 2012

Environmental Festival & Adur World Oceans Day 2012
Understanding and celebrating our marine environment

The twelfth Adur Environment Festival and Adur World Oceans Day 2012 will take place in the marquee on Coronation Green, by Shoreham Footbridge at the High Street end on the second Saturday of the Adur Festival. Len Nevell of the British Marine Life Study Society will be there with the usual exhibition of lobsters and crabs.

World Oceans Day on Facebook

Participants are still welcome but they will need to book their place as soon as possible. Click on the image above for contact details and more information.
Admission: FREE

Link to the Porcupine Society web pages
For details of the Porcupine Marine Nature History Society meetings click on the link on the left


 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






This is a book about an ocean that vanished six million years ago: the ocean of Tethys, named after a Greek sea nymph.  The oceans are important to climate and environment, and therefore to life on Earth. The story of Tethys is also a story of extinctions, and floods, and extraordinary episodes such as the virtual drying up of the Mediterranean, before being filled again by a dramatic cascade of water over the straits of Gibraltar. 

Dorrik Stow
300 pages, 15 b/w illustrations and maps.
Oxford University Press
ISBN-13: 9780199214297

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.


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:

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

BMLSS Shrimping

Marine Fisheries Science Yearbook  2010

Publisher:  defra

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

(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 2012
Plans have not yet been finalised for the publications and subscriptions for year 2011. Back copies of previous issues are still available. 

Bulletin Details

For technical reasons, TORPEDO is no longer being sent out by EMail. It is simply easier to view the bulletins on the web pages.

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 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 other web page editors.

Torpedo compiled by Andy Horton
Background design by Andy Horton and other contributors
     30 March 2012
Copyright  2012   © British Marine Life Study Society 
Compiled on Netscape Composer 4.6 and other programs