Study of the animals, their remains and other life washed up on strandline

The extent that the tide will move up the shore will be marked with a strandline of seaweeds and other debris on the shingle and some of the rocky beaches. If this strandline is not present, the limit of the rising tide has to be deduced from the position of the Barnacles and Limpets on the rock. These animals need to immerse themselves in seawater to feed, but can go for days without feeding when the tide does not come up far enough. When the tide goes out the Acorn Barnacle closes its limestone plates, and the Limpet clamps its shell hard down on to the rock to keep in the moisture until the next high tide.

by  Andy Horton

Strandlines and Beachcombing on Facebook

Can you identify the remains of this animal that is occasionally washed up on the strandline in Sussex?

Answers to:

    Seashells Washed Up at Brighton

Children can collect seashells washed in by the tide and deposited on the strandline. The two halves of mussel shells are the commonest; they are dark blue on the outside with a pearly white interior. However, on southern coasts the creamy-white slipper limpets are also easy to find, their white slipper-like shells contrasting with the darker pebbles. In an hour or so the diligent searcher should be able to find a handful of different marine snails.

Beachcombers (or strandliners) can arrange their shell collection on a computer scanner and transfer the shells directly to an image (see the Strandline Quiz). I would be pleased to receive well arranged collections by EMail as *.JPG images (under 100K in size, scan in at 100 dpi) Please include full details of when and where the shells, remains etc. were discovered.

Strandline Quiz



                               Remains of a Thornback Ray
                          Click on the image for more information
16 December 2011
A Ray's Bream, Brama brama, was found at mouth of Brunstane Burn SE of Portobello Beach, Edinburgh.
Report and Photograph by Kevin Ingleby

15 December 2011
An interesting large piece of wood was washed up on the strandline at after storms on low tide at Sennen Cove, Cornwall: it was completely covered in small to medium sized Goose Barnacles, Lepas anatifera.

On closer examination it was found to have a cavity at one end and tucked into this was a male and a female Columbus Crab, Planes minutus. Small 3-4 mm egg masses and shipworm holes were also seen which included the rarely recorded Bankia gouldi; as well as Teredora malleolus, which made up about 95% of the shipworms in the timber. Under a magnifying glass and discovered a rare 14 mm pelagic sea slug,Fiona pinnata, which has only been recorded a few times in British seas.

Report and Photographs ©  by David Fenwick Snr. (Aphotomarine)
Full Report
BMLSS Barnacles
BMLSS Molluscs
BMLSS Nudibranchs

23 November 2011
An extremely rare record of a Yellowfin Tuna, Thunnus albacares, was discovered and photographed by Nigel Jones at the foot of a cliff at Dunraven Bay, near Porthcawl, South Wales. The fish was identified from the photographs. It was only the third discovery on record from British seas.
Photograph by Nigel Jones

Report & ID by Doug Herdson (Fish Information Services)

BMLSS Tunnies

19 November 2011

Triggerfish (Photograph by Charles Wimpenny)

A Grey Triggerfish, Balistes capriscus, measuring 23 cm long, was washed up on the shore of the Gann Estuary near Dale, Pembrokeshire. It was found on a particularly windy day, with substantial wave action on the northern shores of the Milford Haven Waterway.

Report  and Photograph by Charles Wimpenny
Pembrokeshire Coast National Park
BMLSS Triggerfish 2011

24 November 2011
Cornwall Wildlife Trust’s Marine Strandings Network (MSN)
Annual Conference Report

6 November 2011
Portuguese Man-o'-War, Physalia physalis, and Mauve Stingers, Pelagia noctiluca, as well as Goose Barnacles, Lepas anatifera, were discovered washed ashore at Kennack Sands, on the eastern shore of the Lizard Peninsula, south Cornwall.
Image by Kennack Diving

8 October 2011
I  found three Portuguese Man-o'-War, Physalia physalis, loads of By-the-Wind Sailors, Velella velella, Buoy Barnacles, Dosima fascicularis, and Goose Barnacles, Lepas anatifera, at Sennen Cove and Gwynver Beach, Cornwall.
Image by Paul Semmens

6 January 2011
A mass stranding of crabs occurred on the Isle of Thanet coast, Kent; about 40,000 Velvet Swimming Crabs, Necora puber, were discovered on the strandline amongst lesser numbers of molluscs, sea anemones, sponges and other washed up invertebrates. The most likely reason for this mass death was hypothermia.

Daily Mail Report
BMLSS Intertidal Crabs

19 December 2010
I counted 33 Grey Triggerfish, Balistes capriscus, washed up on a half mile stretch of beach across Porth Kidney Sands, Lelant, Cornwall,

Report by Dave Fenwick on the Cornish Wildlife Yahoo Group

12 December 2010
23 mature Grey Triggerfish, Balistes capriscus, were washed up dead on Porthcurnow Beach in Cornwall in the afternoon.

Report by Nick Lyon

21 November 2010
An unprecedented stranding of over a hundred Barrel Jellyfish Rhizostoma octopus were discovered on the beach at Formby, north Liverpool. "The jellyfish were literally uncountable - we walked about a mile along the beach and they stretched the whole way and out of sight. They were all more than 60 cm in diameter. The previous high tide was accompanied by a moderate wind but nothing exceptional, and it was not particularly high."
Two days later, almost all the jellyfish had disappeared with just a few seen stranded on the shore.

Report by Garth Raybould
BMLSS Jellyfsh
MarLIN Records of Rhizostoma octopus

18 November 2010
A Grey Triggerfish, Balistes capriscus, was photographed washed up dead on the shore at Ceibwr, North  Pembrokeshire, SW Wales.

Report & Photograph by Dan Worth
on Strandlines and Beachcombing (Facebook)
BMLSS Triggerfish 2010
3 November 2010

At least three species of Stalked Barnacles, Lepas hilli, Lepas pectinata and Lepas anatifera were discovered on the high tide mark at Long Rock, Penzance, Cornwall. Strong south-westerly winds had washed ashore a large plastic lid that the animals were attached to. 

This is a pelagic tropical-sub-tropical species that is blown to the UK shores on flotsam via the Gulf Stream. British seas are too cold for these species to survive and breed.

Report and Photograph by Dave Fenwick
Stalked Barnacles on Aphotomarine (by Dave Fenwick)
Barnacles at Aphotomarine
Lepas pectinata
BMLSS Barnacles
1 November 2010
A Ray's Bream, Brama brama, was washed ashore at Portobello Beach, Edinburgh.
Report and Photograph by Kevin Ingleby
BMLSS Ray's Bream Reports

20 September 2010

Common Dolphin, Delphinus delphis, washed up dead at Trebarwith Strand, on the north coast of Cornwall

Photograph by Joly on Sandercock

ID by Caroline Weir on UK Cetnet Yahoo Group
ID confirmed by Dr Kev Robinson (CRRU)

Cetacean Research & Rescue Unit

8 August 2010

The carcass of a baby cetacean was washed up on the shore at South Heacham Beach, Norfolk. It was about a metre long and the skull about 23 cm. It is most likely to be a baby Harbour Porpoise, Phocoena phocoena.

Report and Photographs by John Wiltshire
News:  Baby Cetacean washed up at South Heacham, Norfolk

17 July 2010
I made a wonderful but sad discovery as I walked along the pebbles at Chesil Cove, Dorset. At first, I could not take in what I was looking at because it looked, somehow, so artificial – like a large model or toy. This exquisite creature was a newly born (neonatal) Risso’s Dolphin, Grampus griseus.

The stranded body of this small dolphin was about 1.3 metres long. It looked unlike any dolphin I had ever seen before and was clearly not a Common or Bottle-nose Dolphin as it had no ‘beaked’ snout. The odd shape of the head is characteristic of this species as also with the dorsal fin, pectoral fins and the tail flukes.

Flung ashore by huge waves, it was virtually unmarked but for a few grazes and scratches on head and under-belly. The smooth, cold, rubbery skin shaded from almost black, through grey and tan to near white; unblemished and scarless with just a few fine lines and creases where the fins articulated with the body and in the places most stretched – like the jaw line. Apparently the broader barely perceptible marks along its sides are foetal folds and the chief indicator that it had recently been born.

Report by Jessica Winder on Facebook
Full Report & Images on Jessica’s Nature Blog

BMLSS Cetacea
BMLSS Whales & Dolphins (by Steve Savage)

14 March 2010
Thousands of Common Starfish, Asterias rubens, were washed up on the strandline on the shingle beach at Budleigh Salterton in south Devon (East Devon AONB). The line of washed up starfish stretched for over a mile.

Report and Photograph by Scott Eley
BMLSS Starfish

January 2010
At least fifty Ray's Bream, Brama brama, were discovered over a period of a few weeks by the beach cleaning staff between Roker and Seaburn, at Sunderland, Wearside, north-east England.

Report by Steve Orwin (Resorts Supervisor)
BMLSS Ray's Bream

13 January 2010
A mass stranding of crabs occurred on the Isle of Thanet coast, Kent; the crabs have been reported on beaches at Westbrook, Cliftonville and Kingsgate, while smaller numbers have been washed up between Broadstairsand Ramsgate. Most of the crabs were the Velvet Swimming Crab, Necora puber, which inhabits the shallow seas beneath the intertidal zone, over rocky substrates.

BBC News Report

9 December 2009
An exceptional mass stranding of millions (a galaxy) of Common Starfish, Asterias rubens, stretched in a broad band for over a quarter of a mile on Holkham Beach on the north coast of Norfolk.

Daily Mail News Report (with photographs and a map)

Their usual residence would be feeding on the mussel beds offshore. From a previous occurrence underneath the chalk cliffs east of Brighton Marina, Sussex, it is my surmise that the mass migration occurs because the Common Starfish have exceeded their food supply offshore. Perhaps, this occurs because of commercial dredging of the mussels. In this case the stranding could have been exacerbated by north-easterly gales.

Comments by Andy Horton

5 December 2009
We discovered two Sunstars, Crossaster papposus, on the beach at Winthorpe, Lincolnshire. We have never seen these before on this coast although the five legged Common Starfish, Asterias rubens, are quite common.

Report by Steve and Avril Froggatt

4 November 2009 - 30 December 2009

Ray's Bream

Filey Beach
Photograph by Vic Mackinder
Photograph by Jeff Blincow
Photograph by Mike S. Hodgson

Frequent reports of Ray's Bream, Brama brama, being washed ashore on North Sea were received. These strandings occurred in 2008 and earlier years.
List of 2009 Reports
More Reports of Ray's Bream on flickr

> 24 December 2009
Strong south-westerly winds have blown many organisms on to Dorset beaches including the unusual pelagic Striped Goose Barnacle, Conchoderma virgatum, and at Ringstead Bay, near Weymouth a tiny Columbus Crab, Planes minutus, was discovered.

BBC Dorset News Report
BMLSS Barnacles

9 December 2009
An exceptional mass stranding of millions (a galaxy) of Common Starfish, Asterias rubens, stretched in a broad band for over a quarter of a mile on Holkham Beach on the north coast of Norfolk.

Daily Mail News Report (with photographs and a map)

Their usual residence would be feeding on the mussel beds offshore. From a previous occurrence underneath the chalk cliffs east of Brighton Marina, Sussex, it is my surmise that the mass migration occurs because the Common Starfish have exceeded their food supply offshore. Perhaps, this occurs because of commercial dredging of the mussels. In this case the stranding could have been exacerbated by north-easterly gales.

Comments by Andy Horton

5 December 2009
A Common Octopus, Octopus vulgaris, was washed up dead on Salthouse Beach, North Norfolk after a week of strong northerly winds and quite rough seas, resulting in a variety of finds along the shoreline. The octopus was found by local diver Rowley Nurse whilst walking his dog along the shore.

Report by Helen Nott on the Norfolk Seaquest Yahoo Group
Norfolk Seaquest
BMLSS Octopuses

We discovered two Sunstars, Crossaster papposus, on the beach at Winthorpe, Lincolnshire. We have never seen these before on this coast although the five legged Common Starfish, Asterias rubens, are quite common.

Report by Steve and Avril Froggatt

November 2009
Six species of barnacles were found in a week of sightings at Chesil Beach, Dorset:
Buoy Barnacle  Dosima faciculalaria,
Scalpellum scalpellum
Four species of Stalked Barnacles:Lepas anserifera, Lepas hilli, Lepas pectinataandLepas anatifera.

MARLin Recording Blog for November 2009
22 October 2009

About 5:00 pm on the shore of Barry Island beach, Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales, a chap spotted a fin sticking out of the water and hauled in a dead Broad-billed Swordfish, Xiphias gladius, watched by a swarm of congregating gulls. The last British report was also washed up on Barry Island in July 2008.

Report and Photograph by Jim Nettleton

They are often called a Broad-billed Swordfish, but there is only one species in the world. They are found throughout the tropical and temperate waters of the world but appear to prefer sea temperatures of 18°  C to 22°C, migrating to cooler waters to feed in the summer.  These oceanic fish chase herring and mackerel and are among the fastest fish reaching 90 km.h-1 (56 mph). This is in part due to their being warm-blooded, which allows not only their muscles but also their brain and eyes to work more efficiently.

Comments by Doug Herdson (Fish Information Services)
BMLSS Swordfish

18 May 2009
A large wreck of millions of By-the-Wind Sailors, Velella velella, started getting washed ashore and extended, at least several miles east from Penzance, south Cornwall.
Velella Wreck (Photogrpah by Paul Semmens)

The specimens are very small, only a few millimetres in length. More Velella arrived on each tide.

Report and Photographs by Paul Semmens

> 16 May 2009
Billions of krill-like pelagic Hyperiid Amphipods (small crustaceans) were washed up on the strandline at Redcar and Saltburn in north-east England (North Yorkshire). The local people reported that the strandings of amphipods have occurred for several weeks prior to this report.
Amphipods (Photograph by Peter Tinsley)
A previous mass stranding of amphipods occurred on the North Sea coast in 1966.
Report and Photograph by Peter Tinsley
Previous Record Comments by Keith Hiscock
on the Marine Wildlife of the NE Atlantic Ocean (Yahoo Group)

Thousands more were discovered washed up at Whitby in North Yorkshire.

Report by Chris Whitehead
More Images

13 May 2009
About 50 specimens of the Bluefire Jellyfish, Cyanea lamarcki, were washed up on Havelet beach, on the south side of St. Peter Port, on the east coast of Guernsey and recorded at 5.19 pm.

Cyanea lamarcki  (Photograph by Richard Lord)

The jellyfish in the image measures about 30 cm across but most were much smaller.

Report & Photograph by Richard Lord (Guernsey)
Sea Lord Photography
Understanding and celebrating our marine environment

Saturday 6 June 2009
10:00 am to 4:00 pm

on Coronation Green, Shoreham-by-Sea, Sussex,
as part of the Adur Festival


Adur was one of the UK leaders in presenting the eleventh environmental exhibition of World Oceans Day on Coronation Green, Shoreham-by-Sea.

Adur World Oceans Day took place in the marquee on Coronation Green on 6th June 2009 on the opening Saturday of the Adur Festival. Len Nevell was there with the usual exhibition of lobsters and crabs. The innovative aquarium displays of seashore life, strandline exhibits and photographs will again be in on show. Experts will be on hand to answer your queries about life in the oceans and on the seashore.

I think World Oceans Day this is best described by the Nobel prize winning author John Steinbeck when writing about Ed 'Doc' Ricketts of Cannery Row fame in which he wrote 'commercial fishermen harvest the sea to feed men's bodies and a marine biologist harvests the sea to feed men's minds'
Quote by Andy Horton (British Marine Life Study Society)

The Friends of Shoreham Beach played an important part with their own displays and information about the Nature Reserve and plants of the shingle beach.

Len Nevell: Lobster's Meal Time

Adur World Oceans Day is run by a committee comprising representatives of the British Marine Life Study Society, West Sussex County Council, the Sea Watch Foundation, Friends of Shoreham Beach and other groups, with support from Adur District Council.

World Oceans Day was declared at the Earth Summit in 1992.

World Oceans Day UK Web Page

Sussex Marine Jottings Report and Images

1 February 2009
An unusual discovery washed up on the shore at Hauxley near Amble in Northumberland on the north-east coast of England was the decaying remains of an Oarfish (or Ribbon Fish), Regalecus glesne. This is a deep water species and the longest fish found in the oceans reaching a length of 11 metres. The last known British record was from Skinningrove, Cleveland on the north-east coast in 2003.

On-line Fishing News Report
BMLSS Oarfish

January 2009

Photograph by Chris Fairchild
Photograph by Kev Tomlinson

Ray's Bream, Brama brama, continue their strandings on the east coast of England and Scotland.  Most of them are found dead on the beach, intact or scavenged by gulls, whilst occasionally they are discovered alive flapping in the shallow water surf.
More Reports

2 October 2008
The first By-the-Wind Sailors, Velella velella, reported this year are washed up in small numbers between Loch Ewe and Black Bay, Wester Ross, on the west coast of Scotland. The White-tailed Sea Eagle, Haliaeetus albicilla, can be seen in this area. Its main diet is reported to be other sea birds including Fulmars and Kittiwakes.
BMLSS Velella
Gairloch Marine Life Centre
Eagles & Crofters

Report by Roddy Maciber

30 August 2008

Photograph by Chris English

Portuguese Man-o'-War, Physalia physalis, washed up on Pendine Sands in Carmarthenshire, south Wales.

Photograph and Report by Chris English

3 July 2008

Broad-billed Swordfish
Photograph by Colin Smith
(Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales)

A Broad-billed Swordfish, Xiphias gladius, was discovered washed up dead on Barry Island beach, Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales.  It was carefully examined by Dr Peter Howlett, (Curator of Lower Vertebrates, National Museum, Wales) who confirmed the identification and found it to be a young specimen 2.24 metres long and between 60 and 80 kg in weight.  It had been dead only a few days, but it had been scavenged by other creatures and it was not possible to determine the cause of its death.

Report and Comments by Doug Herdson (National Marine Aquarium at Plymouth)

Full Report
BMLSS Swordfish Reports

April 2008
Squid eggs (Photograph by Andy Horton)
There has been at least half a dozen reports of Squid eggs frequently washed up on the shore along the English Channel coast.

BMLSS Squid Eggs

26 March 2008
After a recent bout of northerlies in North Wales I took the dog for a walk down on Red Wharf Bay on Anglesey and found all sorts of things washed up. Much of the material was deposited across the entire intertidal to the east of the bay, but more concentrated on the strandline towards the west.
Brittlestars (various species) were particularly abundant on the upper shore, with patches a couple of inches (or more) thick. Common Starfish, Asterias rubens,  were also very abundant, as a rough guess at 5-10 per square metre. Species such as the Sand Starfish Astropecten irregularis, Heart Urchin Echinocardium cordatum, Dead Men's Fingers Alcyonium digitatum, Masked Crabs, Corystes spp., and various sipunculids (Peanut Worms)were also washed up in considerable numbers, as were various shark and ray eggcases, a couple of which I brought back to ID. Of the more unusual species, I found three Angular Crabs, Goneplax rhomboides, a small Conger Eel (approx. 50 cm long) and a dead Chough, Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax.

Report by Daniel Ward on the Marine Wildlife of the North-east Atlantic Ocean (Yahoo Group)
BMLSS Mermaid's Purses

23 March 2008

Brittlestar (Photograph by Rupert Smith)
Mixed Asterias and Sunstars (Photograph by Rupert Smith)
Sunstar (Photograph by Rupert Smith)

Over Easter, after some heavy storms with snow blowing in off the North Sea, I discovered hundreds of thousands of Razorfish, Ensis sp. (a bivalve mollusc), hundreds of Common Starfish, Asterias rubens,  lots of Sunstars, Crossaster papposus, and Brittlestars washed up on the sands of Holkham Beach.

Report & Photographs by Rupert Smith

16 March 2008

Hundreds of the sea cucumber Thyone fusus, many exuding their guts and gonads as a response to the stress, were discovered washed dead on up on the shore Newborough in North Wales (only a few nautical miles from Dinas Dinlle).

Report and Photographs by Liz Morris (Marine Ecological Solutions Ltd)
BMLSS Echinoderms

4 February 2008

Dogfish eggcase (Photograph by Jason Koen)
After the recent storm there was a mass stranding on Lancing Beach east at low tide. I braved the chill westerly breeze and found the usual 'Mermaid's Purses' Dogfish Eggcases (including three with embryos seen inside), Ray Eggcases, orange and white sponges, Whelk shells and eggcases Buccinum, and also hundreds of dead sea anemones, including dead and alive Snakelocks Anemones, Anemonia viridis. and larger Dahlia Anemones, Urticina felina.
Report and Photographs by Jason Koen
Adur Coastal 2008

23 January 2008
Mermaid's Purse Eggcase of the Whelk

Two 'Mermaid's Purses', containing the eggs or young of the Lesser-spotted Dogfish, Scyliorhinus canicula, were found lying amongst the timber and seaweed debris on the strandline of Shoreham Beach.

22 January 2008
Shoreham Beach Dead Seahorse (Photograph by Craig Vernoit) on Brighton Beach

A dead Short-snouted Seahorse,Hippocampus hippocampus, was discovered by Craig Vernoit on Brighton Beach just to the east of Brighton Marina amongst tonnes of timber from the Greek-registered Ice Prince.
BMLSS Seahorses

21 January 2008

Timber from the Greek-registered Ice Prince, which sank about 26 miles (42 km) off Dorset after a storm on 15 January 2008, began getting washed up on Worthing Beach in the evening of 18 January 2008 and and tonnes of pine planks littered theSussex beaches from 20 January 2008. The usual debris was on the strandline including the eggcase of an Undulate Ray, Raja undulata. It measured 67 mm long and 48 mm wide.
A Bottle-nosed Dolphin, Tursiops truncatus, was washed up dead west of Brighton Marina.
BMLSS Eggcases
BMLSS Whales & Dolphins (by Steve Savage)
Adur Coastal 2008

BBC News Report
BBC News Pictures
More Pictures on  flickr
Dates Information by Jason Koen & Chris Everson

24 February 2007
A dead Gannet, a dead Puffin, and other sea birds, together with miscellaneous cargo debris were discovered washed up on Shoreham Beach. Dozens of pens, car parts, chocolate boxes and bars were seen. These two sea birds are not usually washed ashore in Sussex in such a fresh condition.
Puffin Gannet

Report and Photographs by Joe Williamson
21 January 2007
The huge 276 metre long container vessel Napoli was deliberately grounded one mile off Branscombe Bay, Lyme Bay, Devon, on the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site. The ship contained 1650 tonnes of fuel oil plus diesel and some of this leaked over the following days causing an oil slick several kilometres long and fatally oiling at least 600 sea birds, mostly Guillemots in the first four days.

BBC News Reports:
Oiled Birds
Oil Slick

BMLSS Oil Disasters page

4 January 2007
Both species of Violet Sea Snail, three Janthina janthina and one Janthina pallida with the cuttlebones of all three species of cuttlefish were discovered on the beach at Perranporth, Cornwall, (SW 75). The species were the Common Cuttlefish, Sepia officinalis, the Elegant Cuttlefish, Sepia elegans, and Obigny's Cuttlefish, Sepia orbignyana.

Report by Paul Gainey via Stella Turk MBE on the Cornish Mailing List
BMLSS Cuttlefish

2 January 2007
At Gwithian beach, Cornwall, (SW 54), 15 Violet Sea Snails, Janthina janthina, with three dead Triggerfish, Balistes capriscus, and one Nightlight Jellyfish, Pelagia noctilica, were discovered on the strandline.

Report by Paul Gainey via Stella Turk MBE on the Cornish Mailing List

20 December 2006
Janthina (Photograph by Paul Semmens) Janthina (Photograph by Paul Semmens) Janthina (Photograph by Paul Semmens)

Three Violet Sea Snails, Janthina janthina, were discovered on Marazion beach in south Cornwall.

Report and Photographs by Paul Semmens on the Cornish Mailing List

18-19 December 2006
Gulfweed Crab (Photograph by Paul Semmens)

A scour of the strandline between Sennen and Gwenver on the west coast of Cornwall near Land's End discovered about fifty Violet Sea Snails, Janthina janthina, seven dead Triggerfish, Balistes capriscus. and one Gulfweed Crab, Planes minutus, on a polystrene float covered with Goose Barnacles, and two Ray egg cases.

Photographs by Paul Semmens
Report by Paul Elliott and Paul Semmens on the Cornish Mailing List

17 December 2006
Twenty Violet Sea Snails, Janthina, were discovered along the beach at Woolacombe, North Devon. Most were about 10 mm in size, and some were still alive with their bubble rafts and "inked" when placed in a bucket.  They were washed in with tiny (max 12 mm) By-the-Wind Sailors, Velella velella, Buoy Barnacles, Dosima fascicularis, and a small 15 cm Triggerfish, Balistes capriscus.

Report by David Jenkins via Gavin Black, Devon Biodiversity Records Centre (DBRC)
on the Marine Wildlife of the North-east Atlantic Ocean (Yahoo Group) & the Seaquest SW Yahoo Group

16 December 2006
A badly decomposed Leatherback Turtle, Dermochelys coriacea, was washed ashore on Selsey beach, West Sussex. There was much remaining of this large turtle, but the distinctive outer shell and at least one flipper is seen in the photograph by Justin Atkinson.

Photograph by Justin Atkinson
It is extremely unusual for a turtle up this far east up the English Channel on the northern coast.
Report by Justin Atkinson via Ivan Lang (West Sussex CC)
BMLSS Turtles

14 December 2006
At Sennen, Cornwall, two species of Violet Sea-snails, Janthina janthina and Janthina pallida, as well as two sea beans Entada gigas and Caesalpina bondoc were discovered on the strandline.
Report by Paul Gainey via Stella Turk on the Cornish Mailing List

13 December 2006
The gales of the preceding week also brought in the remains of a Leatherback Turtle, Dermochelys coriacea, on to at Widemouth Bay near Bude in north Cornwall.

BBC Local News Report
BMLSS Turtles

12 & 13 December 2006
On the shore at Upton Towans (near Hayle), Cornwall, three Gulfweed Crabs, Planes minutus, (also known as the Floating Crab and Columbus Crab) were discovered living among Goose Barnacle bases on a polystyrene float; and on the second day at Perranporth six of these tiny crabs were found on a plastic barrel and one on a plastic float.

Report by Paul Gainey via Stella Turk on the Cornish Mailing List

1 - 9 December 2006
The prevailing winds of autumn and the recent gales have washed more unusual pelagic animals on to the shore (with the millions of By-the-wind Sailors, Velella velella, and multiple thousands of Goose Barnacles, Lepas anatifera) notably the small (size of a 10 pence piece) pelagic Columbus Crabs, Planes minutus, with five discovered on the Dorset coast at Southbourne (near Bournemouth) and a further 15 at Hengistbury Head, Dorset. The latter was discovered inside a large shipworm-riddled, Teredo, pole in cavities created by the tiny burrowing mollusc. The Columbus Crabs were found with the Goose Barnacles and there are clues that the buoys, wooden pallets, fish boxes etc. have been floating around the Atlantic Ocean for two years or more and are American in origin.

Report by Steve Trewhella
These crabs are rarely recorded pelagic life with British records only from the extreme west coasts, with the only Cornish records of the crab coming from the 19th century.
Planes minutus is also called the Gulf-weed Crab because the largest population of this abundant crab is believed to inhabit the open Atlantic Ocean area known as the Sargasso Sea.
Previous Report from the Channel Islands
Previous Report from Belgium

29 November 2006
About a hundred small Goose Barnacles, Lepas anatifera, were seen washed up attached to a broken plastic fish box on the strandline of Shoreham Beach (Ferry  Road access) after the recent southerly gales.

Goose Barnacles
This is the first time I have seen them washed at Shoreham in over 25 years, but I expect they have been washed up and unrecorded before on frequent occasions.
There were the usual millions of Slipper Limpet shells, frequent Whelk and Mussel shells, seaweed and cuttlebones etc.
BMLSS Barnacles

26 November 2006
Velella (Photograph by Bella)Thousands of By-the-wind Sailors, Velella velella, are washed up on Welsh beaches, notably a narrow but continuous line of Velella velella washed up on the high tide mark at Borthwen, Rhoscolyn, Anglesey (southern end of Ynys Cybi - Holy Island), north Wales (Ian Wright); literally thousands stranded on a small bay at the Mumbles, Swansea (Jess Pitman); a swarm amounting to about two hundred were washed up on Porthllysgi beach off the coast of St. Davids in south west Wales (Eleri Davies); thousands, if not millions, of By-the-wind Sailors washed up on a beach at Criccieth (on the southern coast of the Lleyn Peninsula), Gwynedd, north Wales (Eilir Daniels); and an armada, a thick layer of jellyfish about a metre thick on the strandline in both directions at Cefn Sidan Beach at Pembrey, south west Wales (Bella).
BMLSS Velella

2 November 2006
After a period of warm southerly and south-westerly winds, the weather changed. Strong colder winds came from the north-east and an easterly direction. By-the-wind Sailors, Velella velella, entered St. Peter Port harbour on Guernsey's east coast, driven in by the wind. Commercial fisherman Clive Brown called to tell me that about 25 Velella velella were washed up on the shore near his dinghy in the harbour. I went down to the Albert marina and I was able to collect four Velella velella by reaching out from a pontoon. This picture shows one of them mirrored by the water's surface:

Velella (Copyright Richard Lord, Sealord Photography)

Report & Photograph by Richard Lord (Guernsey)
Sealord Photography

25 October 2006
I was approximately 5 to 6 miles west of the Casquettes, off Alderney, Channel Islands, and I saw about ten Velella velella being blown past our boat in a few minutes.

Report by Timothy Harvey
BMLSS Velella

13 - 14 August 2006

Buoy Barnacles on White Park Bay beach (north Antrim)
Photograph by Dave Harrison

Large numbers of Buoy Barnacles, Dosima fascicularis, were found stranded on the north coast beaches of Northern Ireland, e.g. Portstewart Strand and White Park Bay (County Antrim). There were at least six of these batches seen on the White Park Bay beach during the walk

Report by Annika Mitchell (Queen's University of Belfast)
on the Marine Wildlife of the North-east Atlantic Ocean Group
and Dave Harrison on the on the flickr British Marine Life Gallery

Buoy Barnacles are attached to floats that they had secreted that have a texture like that of expanding foam.

3 - 7 August 2006

Bouy Barnacles (Photograph by Alison)

Buoy Barnacles from Connemara
Photograph by Alison

Thousands of the stalked Buoy Barnacles, Dosima fascicularis, are washed ashore on the beaches of Connemara, County Galway, south-west Ireland. They were stranded all along the west coast of Ireland.

Report and Photograph by Alison
BMLSS Barnacles

29 June 2006

Click on the image to find out what it was

I found this animal washed up on Blackpool beach, Lancashire.  It was so interesting I photographed it.  It was unfortunately dead or I would not have disturbed it.  It was wet as I washed off dried sand which revealed its beautiful colours.

Report and Photograph by Dave Sherrington
The Runner Crab (or Square Crab), Goneplax rhomboides, is an offshore crab of muddy areas which is occasionally washed up on dead on the strandline. The crab (with a missing claw) in the photograph by Ade Jupp was found washed up at Hythe, Kent, on 24 December 2005. Runner Crab (Photograph by Adrian Jupp)

c. 8 April 2005
Part of a fish skeleton was discovered on the strandline on Shoreham Beach, Sussex, as shown in the photograph. There were at least half a dozen of these skulls of various sizes.

The skeleton has not been positively identified, but the best guess is that it is a skull of the Lesser Spotted Dogfish, Scyliorhinus canicula.

Report and Photographs by Dave Mason

13 January 2005
Hundreds of Sea Cucumberswere amongst the wreck of animal remains discovered on the Dinas Dinlle beach west of Llanwrog (south-west of Caernarfon), north-west Wales.
Sea Cucumber (Photograph by Paul Jasper)
Mermaid's Purse (Photograph by Paul Jasper)
Sea Cucumber (Photograph by Paul Jasper)

They were scattered all over the strandline and shore with other remains including the common Mermaid's Purses (egg cases of the Dogfish) and the decaying carcass of a dead Seal. Sea Cucumbers are an unusual invertebrate washed up between the tides. They were on the sandy shore adjacent to the Iron Age hill fort.

Report and Photographs by Paul Jasper
Another Sea Cucumber report (in Diver magazine)
BMLSS Echinodermata

The sea cucumber looks like Thyone fusus can be found as far north as Norway grows up to 20 cm.

ID by Gary Cross
Comparative Image

Sea Cucumbers; General Information - 1
Sea Cucumbers; General Information - 2

9 October 2004
A visit to three shores in northern Cornwall brought the first report of a Violet Snail, Janthina janthina, with the recent spate of By-the-wind Sailors, Velella velella, strandings. Two shells, one alive and one dead, discovered by Julie Hatcher (Kimmeridge Bay Marine Nature Reserve) on Widemouth Bay beach, near Bude. The strandline was covered in the white skeleton shells of Velella several centimetres thick.
Not only the shell but the soft body of the Violet Snail is also a violet colour. This gastropod feeds of on Velella and secretes a mucus bubble-raft to keep in buoyant. Another animal (a crustacean) that secretes a polystyrene-like raft to keep it afloat is the Buoy Barnacle, Dosima fascicularis, which were present in their hundreds and were still be swept in on to the beach to strand and die. These were more numerous than at least two species of Goose Barnacles, the commonest was Lepas anatifera and the other smaller one washed up was the Duck Barnacle, Lepas pectinata. These two barnacles are always attached to floating debris and are not pelagic, but sessile animals when adult and they become stranded on the shore when the object they attach themselves to becomes dislodged and floats away.

Report by Steve Trewhella
BMLSS Barnacles

21-23 September 2004

Velella on a Cornish beach in September 2004 (Photograph by Jonathan Smith)

First strandings on Velella on the sandy beach at Polzeath, Cornwall
Photograph by Jonathan Smith

A huge mass stranding of By-the-wind Sailors, Velella velella, occurred all along the north Cornish coast from Sennen Cove (near land's End) up to Polzeath (near Padstow) and beyond. (As the gull flies this is a distance of 25 miles and with all the coves and inlets the shoreline is over double this.) Coming in on the top of the tide, there were hundreds of millions* of them, all large, the largest I found was 85 mm, and all them were intact.
Tens of thousands of Goose Barnacles, Lepas anatifera, were washed up along the strandline.
(* Numbers not calculated. At Gwithian they formed a band 10 metres wide on the shore and stretching for over a mile. The photograph understates the extent of the  stranding.)

Report by Nick Darke via the Cornish Mailing List
BMLSS Velella Reports
BMLSS Jellyfish and other Medusa
BMLSS Barnacles

Photograph by Frances Stockdale

14-21 March 2004
A full skeleton of a small 120 cm cetacean was discovered on the shore at Low Newton, in Northumberland, north-east England.
Full Report

27 May 2002
"Millions" of Velella velella, the By-the Wind Sailor were discovered by Nick Darke on Porthcothan Beach, Cornwall. They are freshly dead, the float having the animals or at least fragments of the soft tissue, still present. They are probably all along the north coast, especially at Perranporth, so I will be interested to have an idea of the maximum density per sq. metre. The last really big incursion was in June/July 1981 when Rennie Bere counted 150 to 200 per sq. metre, as they came in on the tide (i.e. not heaped up in catchment areas) and he estimated 100,000 for the stretch of shore at Bude.

Report from Stella Turk on the Cornish Mailing List
Velella (Photograph by Steve Trewhella)Many By-the Wind Sailor were also discovered washed up further east on the shore at Kimmeridge Bay, Dorset.
Report by Peter Tinsley (Dorset Wildlife Trust)
On 30 May 2002 thousands of Velella velella were also washed up along the tide line on the beach at Nicholston Burrows on the Gower peninsular, South Wales.
Report by Helen James
On 2 June 2002 I have had two reports of hundreds of Velella velella being washed up on the South of the Isle of Man, one report from Scarlett Point and another at Chapel Bay, Port St. Mary.
Report by Mike Bates (Port Erin Marine Lab.)
More Reports

Largest Stranding on Record

c. 14 March 2002
After a sustained period of north-easterly gales, there was amassive stranding of marine animals and weed on the Yorkshire shore (north-east England) between Fraisethorpe and Barmston (East Yorks: Holderness). The most noticeable of the animals washed up were hundreds of thousands of starfish mostly of the Common Starfish, Asteria rubens, but other species were present. The list of interesting animals washed up included decapod crustaceans including Lobsters that were still alive, crabs etc., a wide variety of fish, sea anemones, polychaete worms, molluscs including octopuses, porpoises, seals and tonnes of seaweed. This is the largest stranding recording on these web pages.

Report by N V Proctor (University of Hull)
Full List of Species

22 May 2000
Over the last two weeks Cuttlefish have been found (sometimes by the thousand) on the strandline on both the north and south coasts of Cornwall. Large numbers have also been seen floating on the surface out at sea. On 2 June 2000 Matt Stribley counted over 500 cuttlebones on a 500 metre stretch below Phillack Towans.

Two species are involved, mainly the Common Cuttle, Sepia officinalis, and the uncommon Sepia orbignyana (5%) which is smaller and has a pink tinge. The cuttlebones of Sepia orbignyana have longer apical spines (Matt Stribley). A range of sizes of the Common Cuttle have been seen and they are complete, with for example, no teeth marks to indicate that they have been eaten.

Reports by Vince Smith & John Worth

There seems to be a lot of both cuttlefishes and squids around this year.
The Cuttlefish probably could have died naturally after spawning, but there were a large numbers of smaller cuttlebones from reduced sized (juvenile?) specimens.

You have to be very careful with the identification of the two cuttlebones. It is the angle of the spine that is important and you will have to go to Matt Stribley's site below to see the small detail. In old specimens of Sepia officinalis the cartilage on the outside of the cuttlebone can break away and then the shape will resemble that of Sepia orbignyana.

Cornwall Wildlife Trust web pages
Cuttlefish File (BMLSS)
Cuttlefish Pages (Matt Stribley)

17 November 2000
The winter months are not all that productive on the strandline of Shoreham beach, even after storms, as the sea scours the shingle beach and takes the deposited marine remains back out to sea and inreasingly eastwards with the longshore drift.  Scattered amongst the weed there were the omnipesent Slipper Limpet shells, with more Oyster shells than normal and the battered remains of Lobster, Spiny Spider Crabs, and the inevitable cuttlebones. All were of the Common Cuttlefish, Sepia officinalis. An egg case of the Skate was blown inshore and a fully intact Lesser Spotted Dogfish had not yet been spotted and scavenged by the gulls.
Report by Andy Horton

November 2000
I've been picking up something from the tideline for a few years , that I've always assumed to be a weed, possibly Furcellaria fastigiata or maybe Polyides rotundus but I took a good healthy specimen with me today and Peter Hayward put it under an electron microscope.  When I saw it magnified, the spores were obvious, making it a sponge growth that looks like a plant. Peter identified it as Haliclona oculata.
From: "Jim Hall"

12 February 2001

Photograph by Steve Savage (click on the flipper for a close-up)FlipperPhotograph by Steve Savage

Photograph by Steve Savage (Sea Watch Foundation)
Click on the flipper for a close-up

Two badly decomposed Dolphins were washed up on Shoreham Beach, Sussex. They were badly decomposed but were probably Common Dolphins, Delphinus delphis. A Porpoise, just over a metre long, was washed at nearby Worthing.
Sussex Dolphins
BMLSS Cetacea
Sussex Sea Watch Foundation News 2001

30 July 2001
I wondered if you would be interested in a sighting of Noctiluca scintillans in Anglesey. Around midnight on Saturday 28th July I and some friends were walking on the beach at Rhoscolyn, on Holy Island, when we realised that that where we walked we were leaving a trail of sparkling lights. This happened over quite a large area of beach - maybe 150 metres by about 70 metres. The sea was pretty calm, but the waves breaking on the shore were luminescent. We were told that this does happen quite often on that beach, but not usually so dramatically. It was a stunning display and we felt pretty privileged to see it. The sea, both the day before and the day after, had been perfectly normal - no red/brown tinge to be seen. I looked up the name on the net after getting home and found out a bit about it as none of us know anything about marine biology. As local
people thought it was more extreme than usual I thought you might be interested.
Janette Lee.

Photograph by Tony (Ecological Planning & Research, Winchester)

9 February 2002
After a week of gales, the Mantis Shrimp illustrated  was discovered on the tideline at Calshot Spit, Hampshire. It is probably Rissoides desmaresti.

Report by Tony (Ecological Planning & Research, Winchester)
BMLSS Mantis Shrimp Page
Crustacean Image Portfolio (Marine Wildlife of the North-east Atlantic Ocean Group - members only)

Photographs by Jim HallPhotographs by Jim HallPhotographs by Jim Hall

12 February 2002
After a few days of gales, I discovered my first Goose Barnacles, Lepas anatifera,on the Gower peninsular, south Wales, storm shore at Llangenith, after 25 years of searching the strandline. These are the barnacles in the photograph on the right and they varied  in length rom 25 mm length down to small baby ones of 5 mm - 8 mm.

Report by Jim Hall (Swansea)


Rhizostoma Jellyfish (Photograph by Emma Seaman)

August 2002
We found four of these big blue jellyfish, Rhizostoma octopus, in August washed up on the shoreline of the River Teign between Newton Abbot and Teignmouth in Devon. My husband has size 9 feet, so you can tell they were pretty big!

Report by Emma Seaman.


c. 11 June 2003
On the beach from Sutton-on-Sea up to Mablethorpe, East Lindsey (Easy Yorkshire), we noticed thousands of dead starfish ranging from 3-10 cm in size, along with large numbers of dead crabs and some small shellfish. The starfish were almost certainly the Common Starfish, Asterias rubens.

Report by Ian Mann
This stretch of coast seems to be particualrly prone to  large and massive strandings of starfish and other marine life.
Previous Report of a Massive Wreck

23 June 2003
There was a mass stranding of 500+  Mauve Stingers (small jellyfish), Pelagia noctiluca, at Porthcothan, Cornwall.This is the most unusual of the British species of pelagic jellyfish to wash up, but large swarms occur in years of abundance.
Despite being a small jellyfish, it has a reputation as a stinger, in the Mediterranean.
Amongst the Sea Rocket, Orache etc, on the strandline, aPeanut Plant has taken root.

Report by Jane and Nick Darke via the Cornish Wildlife Mailing List
Sea Beans page
BMLSS Jellyfish

Masked Crabs

Masked Crabs, Corystes cassivelaunus,  are found often found washed up on the sandy areas of the beach.

Beachcombing Finds:

Ray Egg Case (species unidentified)Barnacle Page

Caribbean (Seeds from the)
Cornish Fish Strandings
Cuttlefish & Cuttlebones
Fraisethorpe and Barmston: largest mass stranding on record
Jellyfish Page
Mermaid's Purse
Oil Spills Page
Portuguese Man o'War, Physalia physalis, and the By-the-wind Sailor, Velella velella
Torbay (Mass Stranding in)
UK Conchology Smart Group
Velella (Mass Stranding 2002 of this jellyfish-like animal)

A Good Introduction

The Seashore Naturalist's Handbook
Leslie Jackman

ISBN  0 600 36447 X
This book may be hard to obtain, although it should be available through the Library system.


Flintman on Flint (Link)
Hanover Point, Isle of Wight
Longshore Drift
Molluscs page
Orford Ness:  Coastal Ecology of a Shingle Bank (excellent references)
Seashore Page

World Oceans Day
A Mass Stranding in Torbay
Seeds from the Caribbean
British Marine Life Study Society Home Page
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