with Jon Makeham (Looe)
Looe, Cornwall 1998
The sparseness of the Sussex shores can be contrasted by the exciting finds made by Jon Makeham at Hannafore Beach, Looe. This particular shore is really one of the richest I have heard of. Even in winter the shore zone produces the most unusual selection of rare and uncommon species amongst the small fish that will not arrive on to the Sussex coast until March. A full report will be included in the next issue of Glaucus.
Aftermath of Storms
by Jon Makeham
We were able to visit the upper part of Hannafore Beach on Friday 10 January 1998 in the immediate aftermath of the storms, and to mange a couple of hours rockpooling further down the reef during during the low spring tide (which was not as low as predicted, probably due to the sustained winds).
The foreshore and strandline were strewn with an extraordinary number of empty mollusc shells of many species, a rough count putting the density at several thousand per square metre. Large numbers (several hundred) of By-the-Wind Sailors, Velella velella, were cast up, both as complete dead specimens and as dried sails, together with a couple of Portuguese Man-o'War, Physalia physalis, which were badly damaged and without their stinging tentacles. A prolonged search did not reveal any specimens of the pelagic snail Janthina janthina which preys on these colonial hydroids (both Velella and Physalia are not true jellyfish).
Velella Photograph by Richard Lord (Guernsey)
Amongst the natural debris were several dozen large dead crabs
of species normally found at low water mark and below. These included adult
Crabs, Carcinus maenas, Velvet Swimming Crabs, Necora puber,
and the Furrowed Crab, Xantho incisus. The largest crabs were
specimens of the Edible Crab, Cancer pagurus, measuring up to 25
cm across the carapace.
Fish on the Lower Shore
An investigation of the lower reaches of the reef showed little ill-effects
from the storms on the itinerant wildlife, although some silting up of
the more easterly pools had occurred. The local fauna does not desert this
beach in winter. Amongst the common shore fish of the Blenny,
pholis, Rock Goby, Gobius paganellus,
Two-spot Goby, Gobiusculus flavescens, Long-spined
Bullhead, Taurulus bubalis, 5-Bearded
Rockling, Ciliata mustela, and Worm Pipefish,
lumbriciformis, there were some of the less common fish like both species
of the small orange-brown fishes called by the strange name of Sea Snails,
both Liparis liparis and Liparis
montagui, as well as the Small-headed Clingfish,
and a full grown specimen of the 3-Bearded Rockling,
A sea slug, Tylodina perversa, was found at Hannafore, Looe in December 1996 by Jon Makeham. This is the first record in the British Isles of this Mediterranean species. The specimen description has satisfied the experts. In March 1997, Jon Makeham discovered a further specimen. More information available. Please request by EMail.