Marine Life News Bulletin

January 2013

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
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 Ray Dennis's Cornish Marine Life Reports for 2009
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



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

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. 

Common Dolphin, Delphinus delphis, in Shoreham Harbour
(entrance to the River Adur estuary)
Photograph by Simone Mia Smith
BMLSS Cetaceans

A Dolphin was spotted in the mouth of Shoreham Harbour.
Report by Phil Dunk on the Sussex Ornithological Society News

Adur Valley Wildlife Reports 2012

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


Marine Wildlife of the North-east Atlantic Ocean Mailing Groups

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

Link to the British Marine Life Study Society Facebook pageBritish Marine Life Study Society
facebook Page:

This Wall is now working properly and members can now post on it. 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.

Wrasse Crosses

The largest one is from a male Ballan Wrasse, Labrus bergylta. The two medium sized crosses are from male Cuckoo Wrasse, Labrus mixtus, and the tiniest cross is from a female Cuckoo Wrasse. The shape and structure of each species is more or less the same. The other structures with white bobbles on are the plates in their upper throat that grind together with the cross in the lower throat when eating shellfish (molluscs and crustaceans). The two opaque pear shaped structures and accompanying blobs are from the throat of Tadpole Fish, Raniceps raninus   They are hard bony structures and presumably do the same job of crushing food

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)

Click on the images for the original photographs


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 350K in size.

South Stack, Anglesey

South Stack (Welsh:Ynys Lawd) is an island situated just off Holy Island on the north-west coast of Anglesey.

South Stack, Anglesey in mid-January 2013
Photograph by Peter Williams

For a few brief days in January 2013 a large part of of the British Isles suffered a blanket of snow. Wales were the first to bear the brunt of the spell of snowy weather. This study sums up the inclement conditions on the extreme north-west of  Anglesey. 
"My wife Gaynor considers South Stack to be her 'favourite place in all the world."  (Peter Williams)

This spectacular coastal area is noted for its biological, botanical and ornithological value and its superb scenery.. The folded rocks around South Stack lighthouse - visible from the long steps down to the footbridge - are a revelation and provide nesting ledges for a colonies of Guillemots, Razorbills and a few Puffins. Two pairs of Peregrine Falcons and Cloughs, Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax, nest on the cliff. 
Holyhead Coast SSSI
Map of Anglesey
South Stack on facebook

Porthdafarch Beach in the Snow (Image)

South Stack, Anglesey in a Gale
Photograph by Pete Roberts

The weather is not always as calm as in the snow picture. Gales batter the extreme north-west tip of Anglesey. The sandstone and other rocks jut out into the Irish Sea and the South Stack Lighthouse warns shipping of the dangers.

South Stack View in the Summer (Image)

About four thousand birds nest on the primarily sandstone cliffs of South Stack.
RSPB South Stack Cliffs Reserve

The rock formations of Anglesey and South Stack Island are diverse and very complicated and there is plenty to interest the geologist. The cliffs also contain some of the oldest rocks in Wales, dating back nearly 600 million years to the Precambrian. The rocks of a hundred different types span 4 eras and 12 geological periods
South Stack (Craven & Pendle Geological Society)
Anglesey Geology
Old Red Sandstone
Geopark Status
The Isle of Anglesey Coastal Path is a long distance route that follows most of the island's coastline.

Click on the images for the original photographs

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.


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 appear in the November issue of Torpedo

Popular Guide Books (Link)


This is a book about an ocean that vanished six million years ago: the ocean of Tethys, named after a Greek sea nymph.  The oceans are important to climate and environment, and therefore to life on Earth. The story of Tethys is also a story of extinctions, and floods, and extraordinary episodes such as the virtual drying up of the Mediterranean, before being filled again by a dramatic cascade of water over the straits of Gibraltar. 
Click on the image for a review of this book

Dorrik Stow
300 pages, 15 b/w illustrations and maps.
Oxford University Press
ISBN-13: 9780199214297

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

Marine Fisheries Science Yearbook  2010

Publisher:  defra

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

(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 2012
Plans have not yet been finalised for the publications and subscriptions for year 2011. 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.

To save download times, only new images are included with each Bulletin.
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.

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 and altering the right and left hand columns in the Page Set-up menu to 9 mm (from 19 mm).
The page set-up can also be amended in other web page editors.

Torpedo compiled by Andy Horton
Background design by Andy Horton and other contributors
     23 January 2013 
Copyright  2013   ©    British Marine Life Study Society 
Compiled on Netscape Composer 4.6 and other programs