Marine Life News Bulletin

...July 2016

     ISSN  1464-8156

Mediterranean Gull (Photograph by Jean-Paul Charteris)
On-line connection to the British Marine Life Study Society web pages
Index for the Torpedo News Bulletins
News 2016
Link to the forum for marine wildlife of the NE Atlantic Ocean and adjoining seas
Link to the main news page for 2014
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 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 the Sealife Survey on facebook (Marine Biological Assoc. of the Uk.)
Link to Coastal Topography on flickr
Conchological Society of Great Britain and Ireland
How to obtain the book and review



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 July 2016
A pod of Killer Whales, Orcinus orca, were spotted attacking a Porpoise 100 metres off Rerwick, South Shetland.

26 July 2016
A pod of Killer Whales, Orcinus orca, including two mothers with their calves, were seen very close inshore off Levenwick, on the east side of South Mainland, Shetland.

24 July 2016
A group of over 20 Killer Whales, Orcinus orca, were spotted swimming NSE of North Roe in the Shetlands (North Mainland) by Hans Verdaat during the Small Cetacean Abundance in European Atlantic and North Sea - Aerial Survey (July 2016: SCANS-III team IV). 

There appears to be at least three pods, possibly four, seen this year around the Shetland Isles. These seem to all be part of the Northern Isles Community. Some watchers were lucky that the Orcas came close in to the rocky shores actively hunting for seals.

More Images on Shetland Orca Sightings
Scottish Orca ID List
Sea Watch Shetland Sightings News

A pod of five White-beaked Dolphins, Lagenorhyncus albirostris, were seen bow-riding with a yacht four miles off Downderry in south Cornwall. This species is the more unusual off the smaller cetaceans only occasionally reported during the summer in the English Channel off Cornwall. 

Video Report by Rachael Ince 
on Sea Watch facebook
Sea Watch Sightings (SW)

21 July 2016

Killer Whale
Photographs by Craig Nisbet

A  pod of Killer Whales, Orcinus orca, swam close inshore at Gulberwick in the Shetlands (map) (east of the Mainland) and killed two Common Seals, Phoca vitulina, with visible blood on the surface. There were three more seals that managed to avoid predation by hiding behind rocks while the female Orcas swam by repeatedly trying to figure out how to get at them. A truly epic experience!

Click on the picture for the video.

10 July 2016

Young Stranded Sperm Whale 
Photograph by Nicholas Pugliese

A young Sperm Whale, Physeter macrocephalus, washed ashore alive at the Penhale end of Perranporth beach, north Cornwall. At 13 metres long,  this female youngster was lying on its side when discovered on the falling afternoon spring tide and because she was out of the water for so long she will have internal injuries and, even if the rescuers could refloat the stricken whale, it would be unlikely she would survive. The whale stopped breathing and died on the sandy beach in the afternoon. 

BMLSS Cetacea

Killer Whales
Photograph by Jodie Sutherland

A pod of seven or eight Killer Whales, Orcinus orca, was spotted swimming through Mousa Sound, (east coast South Mainland) of the Shetland Isles. The pod appeared to have included a young Orca. But the one with a floppy fin was not seen. 

More Images (by Mary Stevenson)

9 July 2016

Two Killer Whales, north Minch, Shetland Isles
heading south past the Bard towards Mousa
Photographs by Ryan Leith

Northern Isles Community that moves between Iceland and Scotland to hunt and raise young.

One of the Killer Whales, Orcinus orca, has a floppy dorsal fin (flopped towards the right). An Orca with a same sided floppy fin was seen last year
However, this may not be the same whale as at least two with floppy fins have been reported in the same community. The Iceland whale watchers have discovered four with floppy fins. 
Floppy Fin Report by Vivian Clark

Shetland Orca Sightings  facebook

Shetland Killer Whales
(by Hugh Harrop)

Click on the image for larger photographs

4 July 2016
A huge Humpback Whale, Megaptera novaengliae, and Minke Whales, Balaenoptera acutorostrata, have been photographed breaching and landing back in into the sea with an enormous splash off the north east coast of the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland. 

BMLSS Cetacea


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 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

Lots of marine wildlife reports from Shetland on facebook
Photographs include undersea, sea mammals and birds. 
Click on the image to connect


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. 

Piran's Hermit Crab
Clibanarius erythropus
Photograph by Thomas Daguerre (Hydro Motion Media C.I.C.)
Click on the image for the video

In the aftermath of 29 massive Sperm Whales, Physeter macrocephalus, washed on to North Sea coasts in the first two months of 2016, weighing a collective total of something like 1450 tonnes, the rediscovery of a tiny hermit crab, weighing a gramme or so, on a Cornish shore may have been overlooked. It had been recorded before in Cornwall but not in any number since the 1960's or before, and is found on the northern coast of the English Channel (la Manche). 
The discovery was made by Adrian Rowlands, a keen amateur photographer from Truro who was taking part in a Shoresearch survey. Adrianís eye was caught by the tiny crab in a white shell with bright red legs. He could tell it was something unusual and showed it to marine experts running the rockpooling survey. It is a beautiful creature and is unusual in that both claws are the same size and it has long red eye stalks and black eyes with white spots!

I know a find would of this miniature animal would have baffled me as it is not in any of the older popular books, although it is in Hayward & Ryland (p. 436) I seemed to have missed its presence on the national list. 

In 2016 the BBC Springwatch programme highlighted Clibanararius erythropus and ran a competition to provide a vernacular name. The winning name was St Piran's Crab.

BMLSS Hermit Crabs in Devon

First Report (Rediscovery)

Click on the images for the original photographs or links to more images


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 1 Mb in size.

Killer Whales near Sandwick, Shetland
Photograph by Bev Redfern

The Shetland archipelago has 1700 miles of highly variable coast and over a hundred islands. Deep water allows access for even the larger whales and the shores provides sheltered rookeries for both British species of seals. Other residents are Harbour Porpoises and visiting dolphins that feed on the rich fish resources. All this marine life attracts the attention of the the Northern Isles Community of Killer Whales, Orcinus orca, that moves between Iceland and Scotland to hunt and raise young.  Pods of Killer Whales have been seen this year from the shore, mostly from the eastern coast of Mainland

Seals in Shetland

Killer Whales (Wild Scotland)

Click on the images for the original photographs or links to more images

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.

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






Shallow Seas (Collins New Naturalist Library)
by Peter Hayward (Author)

The Marine World: A Natural History of Ocean Life

The Marine World

Includes sections on all but the most obscure marine groups, covering invertebrate phyla from sponges to sea squirts, as well as plants, fungi, bacteria, fish, reptiles, mammals and birds
Incorporates information on identification, distribution, structure, biology, ecology, classification and conservation of each group
by: Frances Dipper (Author), Marc Dando (Illustrator), Mark Carwardine (foreword)
544 pages, 1500+ colour photos, colour & b/w illustrations, colour tables
Wild Nature Press

Click on the book pictures for more information

The Essential Guide to Beachcombing and the Strandline

This richly illustrated guide will become a steadfast companion for beach visitors wishing to identify what the sea washes up
By: Steve Trewhella (Author), Julie Hatcher (Author)


304 pages, colour photos, b/w illustrations
Wild Nature Press

Fish Atlas of the Celtic Sea, North Sea, and Baltic Sea
Based on international research vessel data
Author: edited by Henk J.L. Heessen, Niels Daan, Jim R. EllisPrice: € 79,50
An in-depth reference work on marine fish, this is the first complete overview of all marine fish species found in the North Sea, Baltic Sea, and Celtic Sea. Whereas European research mainly focuses on species of commercial interest, this atlas documents current data of all Western European fish species caught in the period 1977 to 2013.

How to obtain the book and review




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 2016
Please join the facebook group for free. Formal membership of the Society has ceased.  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.


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.

Torpedo compiled by Andy Horton
Background design by Andy Horton and other contributors
      27 July 2016 
Copyright  2016   ©    British Marine Life Study Society 
Compiled on Netscape Composer 4.6 and other programs