Marine Life News Bulletin

January 2015

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
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

 30 December 2014

Photographs by Senga Millar

An adult Dealfish (Ribbonfish family), Trachipterus arcticus, was spotted actually swimming offshore in Scapa Flow at Bu in Orphir, Mainland, Orkney. "It was alive as we watched it swim inshore then we went back down with the camera it was on the rocks." Alas, this large 150 x 30 cm (5 ft x 1 ft) and rather distinctive silvery fish, with a long bright orange dorsal fin, perished as would be expected out of its normal deep sea  environment. This unusual fish usually lives at depths of over 300 metres. 

"When we saw the Dealfish swim in towards us, at first we thought it was a seal because of the splash and speed it came inshore but as it got closer we could see the orange fin above the water.  After about half an hour it came right to the waters edge so we got a close look at it then by this time it was on its side and not looking too good, we watched it for ages then thought we would go home for the camera, we only live five minutes away, my partner and myself went back down, by this time the tide had gone out more and it was on the rocks as you can see by the photos, quite an amazing day out!" 

Previous Report 2014
BMLSS Strandline
BMLSS Beachcombing facebook
NAFC Marine Centre: Dealfish

26 December 2014

A large stranding of Heart Urchins, or Sea Potatoes, Echinocardium cordatum, occurred off the west coast of Scotland on including Troon and also Prestwick Beach. They were not freshly dead as the tests had lost their spines. The tests washed ashore in the gales. 

24 December 2014

A virtual skeleton of a Kemp's Ridley Turtle, Lepidochelys kempii, was discovered washed up on a beach at Tarbet in the North West Highlands of Scotland.

21 December 2014
Two young Kemp's Ridley Turtle, Lepidochelys kempii, were discovered on the shore near Formby on Merseyside and Cumbria's Walney Island, north-west England on coasts facing the Atlantic Ocean. The critically-endangered turtles usually inhabit the Gulf of Mexico, but may have been "cold-stunned" by a drop in ocean temperatures. These young turtles were still alive but in poor condition. These endangered turtles breed on the coasts of Mexico and are usually found in the Gulf of Mexico and were thought to have blown across the Atlantic Ocean. The turtles are likely to have suffered in the cold seas and would have succumbed if they had not been rescued. 

Another one was washed up starving and dying on the Dutch coast at Den Helder Beach BMLSS Turtles

20 December 2014
A huge wreck of jellyfish and pelagic jellyfish-like animals occurred on the north coast of Cornwall with tens of thousands of By-the-wind Sailors, Velella velella, washed ashore on various shores, and a thousand plus Mauve Stinger Jellyfish, Pelagia noctiluca, at Sennen Cove, Watergate Bay and Fistral Beach (Newquay). The stranding also included thousands of Goose Barnacles, Lepas anatifera.

BMLSS Jellyfish
BMLSS Beachcombing
BMLSS Barnacles

18 December 2014

An Ivory Gull, Pagophila eburnea, visited the carcass of a Cuvierís Beaked Whale at Benbecula
Photograph by Yvonne Benting
Birdguides Report

Another Cuvierís Beaked Whale, Ziphius cavirostris, was stranded dead at Borve Benbecula in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland. 

13 December 2014
A five metres long female Cuvierís Beaked Whale, Ziphius cavirostris, was stranded dead at Portballintrae in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. The whale was underweight. Cuvier's Beaked Whales are a deep water species and are not usually observed from the shore and strandings are infrequent.

Another Cuvierís Beaked Whale, Ziphius cavirostris, was stranded dead on Frobost Beach in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland.

 BMLSS Cetacea
Whales & Dolphins in British Seas

5 December 2014
A two metres long Shortfin Mako Shark, Isurus oxyrinchus, was washed ashore dead on the vast sandy shore at Barmouth, Cardigan Bay, west Wales. 

Barmouth Shark
Photograph by Harry Allday

Identification of the the Mako and Porbeagle, Lamna nasus, is difficult and I determined it to be the rarer Mako from the shape of the first dorsal fin lacking a white patch. It is difficult because of the pointed snout and position of the secondary dorsal fin I first thought it was a Porbeagle. Teeth may indicate a Porbeagle?
Porbeagle & Mako ID

Barmouth Shark Dorsal Fin
Photograph by Paul Johnson

Shark, Head and Teeth
Photograph on the flickr gallery hosted by Hugh Griffith Roberts

The dismembered remains of a recently ingested Harbour Porpoise, Phocoena phocoena, were found within the stomach of the 2.67 metre female Mako Shark.

Picture Credits: CSIP-MEM

UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme (CSIP)


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

Compass Jellyfish
Photograph by Derek Haslam

Jellyfish can sense the ocean current and actively swim against it, according to a study that involved tagging and tracking the creatures. 
BBC Science News Report

The scientists used the Barrel Jellyfish, Rhizostoma which has not got venomous tentacles. I have featured the 
Compass Jellyfish, Chrysaora hysoscella, because I have found this one the most interesting to watch. 

Compass Jellyfish Underwater.Ireland (video)
Underwater Ireland

BMLSS Jellyfish

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.

Aurora, Milovaig, Isle of Skye
Photograph by Andy Staples

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.

23 February 2015
"Life Between the Tides" ANDY HORTON, founder member of the British Marine Life Study Society, introduces the fascinating world revealed at low tide, how to enjoy a visit to a rocky shore, the biology and behaviour of some of the most interesting examples of the British fauna, concentrating on what can be discovered between the tides on the Sussex coast. Andy is a freelance writer and photographer with a specialist interest of the seashore around the British Isles, writing regular monthly articles for the "Aquarist & Pondkeeper" magazine until it ceased in 2000. He was editor of Glaucus, Shorewatch, now replaced by the Torpedo News Bulletin, as well as consultant for seashore books.

Horsham Natural History Society

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







Series: Collins Complete Guide
Collins Complete Guide to British Coastal Wildlife
Paul Sterry and Andrew Cleave
384 pages, approximately 1600 colour photos
Harper Collins

List price is £17.99   Offers available

This comprehensive guide contains all the information for the the beginner seashore enthusiast and plenty for the experienced rockpooler, snorkeller and seashore visitor to make it an essential and first or second choice purchase.

A full review will appeared in the November 2012 issue of Torpedo

Popular Guide Books (Link)

Links to the online fish key


Publisher: marine scotland

Scotland's Marine Atlas

Scotland's Marine Atlas is an assessment of the condition of Scotland's seas, based on scientific evidence from data and analysis and supported by expert judgement.

Click on the image for the free publication

Published: 27 March 2013 
ISBN (EPUB): 9781782564485 
ISBN (MOBI): 9781782564478 

EBook Reader Software (Adobe Digital Editions)
Change the font size to small for square monitors.


The fish is a Corkwing Wrasse
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

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 2015
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
     30 January 2015 
Copyright  2015   ©    British Marine Life Study Society 
Compiled on Netscape Composer 4.6 and other programs