Marine Life News Bulletin

December 2009

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 News web pages for 2009
GATEWAY:  Further European Links
New EMail address
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 2008
Link to Sealord Photography
Link to an on-line page for younger students of the seashore. Spider Crab and youngsters at Adur World Oceans Day 2002 (Photograph by Duncan Morrison)
7-14 years

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



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 Explorer 4 and above using medium fonts at a resolution of 800 x 600 and can be viewed satisfactorily at a resolution of 1024 x 768.
Subscribe and unsubscribe options are at the foot of this page.
If you receive this bulletin as an EMail subscriber, you may find the best way to view the file is on your hard disc in your directory of Incoming EMails.


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

December 2009
The very first positive record of a Greater Amberjack, Seriola dumerili, for the seas around the island of Guernsey was caught by commercial fisherman Steve Fallaize off Rousse, off the north-west coast of the Channel Island. It weighed 585 grams.

Greater Amberjack
Photograph by Richard Lord (Guernsey)
Sealord Photography

Only twelve of this fish have ever been recorded caught around the British Isles dating from the first one caught off Salcombe in Devon in 1951. It can be mistaken for the rarely caught Guinean Amberjack, Seriola carpenteri. (This species was only described in 1971.) The differences between the Greater Amberjack and the Guinean Amberjack are minor. They differ in gill raker count and ratio of second dorsal fin lobe height to fork length ratio. The Almaco Jack, Seriola rivoliana, is another scarce Amberjack that is caught in seas around the British Isles. 

Full Report
BMLSS Amberjacks
Fishbase: Carangidae

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. 

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
Echinoderm-L Discussion List

5 December 2009

A Mantis Shrimp, Rissoides desmaresti, was found in the stomach of a Pouting caught two miles east of the Isle of Wight. The Mantis Shrimp was a little over just over 10 cm in length. 

Report and Photograph by Martin Lodge
Mantis Shrimps are locally abundant but rarely recorded around the British Isles.
BMLSS Mantis Shrimps

3 December 2009
A 14 metre long whale was washed dead up on the muddy Hest Bank near Priest Skeer on the Lancashire coast. It was thought to be a Fin Whale, Balaenoptera physalis. There was no obvious damage to the carcass which was being moved down the coast by the tides from one dangerous bank to another. 

4 November 2009 - 9 December 2009

Ray's Bream
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

c. 17 November 2009
A Leatherback Turtle, Dermochelys coriacea, was beached dead near Cancale (Brittany, France) south of Jersey.

News Report and Photograph
BMLSS Turtles

12 November 2009
The Marine and Coastal Access Bill received Royal Assent

The Act will create a new marine planning system designed to bring together the conservation, social and economic needs of our seas. A network of Marine Conservation Zones will be created that will protect rare and threatened species and habitats. Four regional projects have started working with local groups and businesses to identify which areas will be designated as Marine Conservation Zones.

DEFRA Press Release
DEFRA: Legislation Page
DEFRA: Key Areas


Marine Wildlife of the North-east Atlantic Ocean Mailing Groups

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

With the closure of Smart Groups at the end of November 2006 most of the 7500+ messages have been filed at:

Marine Wildlife of the North-east Atlantic Ocean Jiglu

However, in November 2009, all these messages were deleted without warning. Sorry. This was out of my control. 

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) 2008


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.

Dahlia Anemones
Urticina felina
Photograph  by Joe Bater

The Dahlia Anemone is the largest of the common sea anemones found around the British Isles inhabiting the shallow seas all around the coast and occasionally found on rocky shores during the colder months of the year. Despite its large size and spectacular colours it is often overlooked between the tides, its tentacles covered in gravel. It is an Arctic species intolerant of sea temperatures in excess of 22°C. 

Diet includes crab, mussels. 

The diet of the Dahlia Anemone is known to include large crabs and mussels in their shells. The mussels are smashed off the rocks by the waves and fall down into rock gullies where these anemones may congregate. Its method of feeding on crabs is unclear. I am still unsure whether the crabs blunder into the tentacles and get swallowed up dead or alive. Aquarium study sheds no further light on the capture. One spider crab species the Short-legged Spider Crab, Eurynome aspera,was observed to live amongst the blunt tentacles of this sea anemone for over a year before being swallowed up over night.


Marlin Web Page for the Dahlia Anemone

BMLSS Sea Anemones

Guide to Sea Anemones and Corals Of Britain and Ireland
by Chris Wood

British Anthozoa by R L Manuel
(Academic Press: Synopsis of British Fauna series)



Shore Topography Series

The name of the particular coast should be included and 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 250K in size.

Pedn Vounder Beach
South coast, SW Peninsula of Cornwall

Pedn Vounder Beach below, with the Treryn Dinas headland beyond (featuring the famous Logan Rock). At low tide a sand bar is exposed off the beach. At high tide there is no beach. The tiny cliff top village of Treen in St. Levan with the Logan Rock Inn is at the top of the cliffs on the coastal footpath

Photograph and Comments by Jim Champion

Rocking (or Logan) Stones

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

01825  765546




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 2009
Plans have not yet been finalised for the publications and subscriptions for year 2009. Back copies of previous issues are still available. 

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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).
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Torpedo compiled by Andy Horton
Background design by Andy Horton and other contributors

    21 December 2009

Compiled on Netscape Composer 4.7 and other programs
Boar Fish, Capros aperLen NevellMarc AbrahamJohn KnightUrchin fossil (out of scale) dating the pebbles at 85 million years oldMermaid's PursesPeter Talbot-ElsdenCharlie DimmickAndy HortonSamanthaThe crab was called Rooney because of its missing leg. Nobody asked about the brain cells of a crab?