MARINE LIFE NEWS  2012

Reports of marine wildlife from all around the British Isles, with pollution incidents and conservation initiatives as they affect the fauna and flora of the NE Atlantic Ocean

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Autumn 2012

BMLSS (England) Index
 Cornish Marine Life Records 2009
Link to the British Marine Life Study Society Facebook page
Marine Life News 2012

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Winter 2012 News Reports, January - March
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SUMMER 2012
Link to the News Reports, October to December 2011
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BRITISH MARINE WILDLIFE

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Equinox Times & Dates 2010 et seq.


 
LATEST NEWS: 

December 2012


 

Gaping File Shell from Loch Sunart
Photograph by Darryl Mayer (Dive Tramp)
Darry Mayer Photograph Gallery
Fife Powerboat Training Centre



A massive colony of the Gaping File Shell, Limaria hians, has been discovered in Loch Alsh, a sea inlet between the Isle of Skye and the western Scottish mainland. The reef habitat covers an astonishing  4.6 sq. miles (7.5 sq. km) and was discovered during a survey commissioned by Marine Scotland. It is the largest known colony of Gaping File Shells in seas around the British Isles and possibly the world. Numbers of the bivalve mollusc exceed 100 million and they create their own specialised habitat with unique fauna.


A bed of Horse Mussels (or Clabachdubh), Modiolus modiolus, at Noss Head off the north-eastern tip of Scotland covers an area of 4 sq. km.

BMLSS Mollusca

30 December 2012
A Minke Whale, Balaenoptera acutorostrata, was seen swimming with Bottle-nosed Dolphins, Tursiops truncatus, in the Irish Sea and observed from the Isle of Man shore with binoculars by Becca Crow and Sarah Kaye. This association is known to occur but is seldom observed. It is debatable whether it could be considered temporary mutualism or an opportunistic encounter? Herring was believed to be the prey and the question is whether the two species of cetacean were actively co-operating? 
"It is also possible the dolphins were taking advantage of the commotion the Minke Whale would have been creating and were in fact stealing the fish." (Dr Peter Evans).  The Bottle-nosed Dolphins normally visit Manx waters between October and March to feed on herring, mackerel and whiting. 

BMLSS Cetacea
 

14 December 2012

The south-east storm threw up at least six species of fish into the boat noust at Frustigarth on the east side of Shapinsay in the Orkney Islands. There were at least 30 fish of various sizes. Species identified were Tadpole Fish, Ling, young Cod, Saithe, and both Cuckoo and Ballan Wrasse. Similar wrecks occurred on other coasts. 

Photographs and comments by Paul Hollindrake on Snorkel Orkney

All wrasse have thick protruding lips, and there are strong teeth, both in the jaws (for biting and rasping) and on the pharyngeal bones in the throat (for gripping and crushing). With these teeth they are able to enjoy a mixed menu of shelled animals including barnacles, other crustaceans, and molluscs.
BMLSS Wrasse (by Dr Amanda Young)
 

11 December 2012
Hundreds of Humpback Whales, Megaptera novaengliae, gathered to feed off Tromsø, Arctic Norway, for the third year in succession. 
"Humpback Whales hunt by encircling a group of fish then diving underwater. You have no clue where the whales are before you see hundreds of scared Herrings jumping out of the water, followed by Humpbacks with wide open mouths." (Espen Bergersen

Northern Blogosphere

28 November 2012
Five Humpback Whales, Megaptera novaengliae, were spotted bubble-net feeding for small fishes in seas off  southern Ireland near Baltimore, County Cork. The Irish Whale & Dolphin Group (IWDG) recognised most of the individual whales from previous visits in 2001 and 2008
Full IWDG Report


November 2012
An incredibly rare all white Humpback Whale, Megaptera novaengliae, spotted by engineer Dan Fisher off the coast of Norway on a boat trip to Svalbard in the Arctic north. He climbed the mast to take some photographs of the white whale amongst a pod of the normal grey whales. This rare event has only ever been seen in one adult Humpback Whale before

BMLSS Cetacea

30 October 2012
A silvery sea bream (Sparidae) called a Bogue, Boops boops, was caught off Penlee Point, south Cornwall  (near Plymouth). 
This warm water fish is rarely seen in British seas reaching its most northerly point of distribution in the English Channel where this schooling fish appears as a vagrant.


27 October 2012

Shale Cliffs at Rope Head Lake, Purbeck
with the baleen whale (inset)
Photograph by Dom Greves

A large baleen whale was spotted by Ilay Cooper, (author of Purbeck Revealed), at Rope Lake Head, Purbeck, Dorset, beneath the vertical shale cliffs. He discovered the 13.6 metre (44.6 ft) long carcass whilst walking along the shore at low tide. Its inaccessible location and the position of its head and blowhole made it difficult to identify. Dorset Wildlife Trustís marine conservation officer, Emma Rance, believed it could be a juvenile Fin Whale, Balaenoptera physalus, which would be a first discovered on a Dorset shore.

More Images by Steve Trewhella (Link)
BMLSS Cetacea

20 October 2012
An albino Nursehound, Scyliorhinus stellaris, was caught by angler Tojo from a boat out of Holyhead, Anglesey. The unusual white shark was returned to the sea. 

IMAGE

BMLSS Shark News
 
 
 
 


 

British Marine Life News 2011
 

Cornish Marine Life Records 2009
BMLSS Oil Disasters page

 

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