Sea anemone in Bournemouth

February 26th, 2009

Photo: Steve Trewhella

The sea anemone, Diadumene cincta, was found under Bournemouth Pier. Diadumene cincta is a small and slender anemone and can reach up to 60 mm in height. It is usually orange in colour. On its oral disk, it has up to 200 tentacles, also orange in colour. The column is smooth and dotted with pores (cinclides) that release water from the body to allow the anemone to contract if disturbed. Diadumene cincta also has a defence mechanism in the form of stinging tentacles called acontia which are forced through the mouth.

Like this photo? Find out more about this photographer here.

Added by

Rare sighting of sea bream in UK

January 29th, 2009

An unusual report for the British Isles is the Two-banded Sea Bream which has been sighted off Guernsey’s north coast. The sea bream, Diplodus vulgaris, has an oblong body that can grow to 45 cm although they usually reach 20-25 cm. They are generally grey, brownish or greenish in colour with a broad black band. These fish are carnivores and feed on crustaceans and molluscs.

Click for photo of Diplodus vulgaris

Added by

Chameleon prawns

December 2nd, 2008

Chameleon prawns (Hippolyte varians) have been sighted in Studland, Dorset. Hippolyte varians is a small prawn, up to 3.2 cm in length and is widely variable in colour, hence its name, from red to brown through to green or transparent with red or yellow blotches. Hippolyte varians uses this variable colouring as camouflage during the day but turn a blue-green colour at night independent of their habitat.

Photo: Steve Trewhella

A Ray’s Bream was discovered, also known as the Atlantic pomfret (Brama brama) in a rock pool at West Runton, Norfolk. The fish was approximately 50cm long from nose to tail.

Like this photo? Find out more about this photographer here.

Added by

Increased portuguese man o’war sightings

August 30th, 2008

There have been increased reports of Physalia physalis sightings over June, July and August. Physalia physalis or the Portuguese man o’war consists of a large gas-filled float (pheumatophore) which reaches 300mm in length and 100mm in width. Physalia physalis is light blue/purple in colour and has a bright pink crest running along the top of the float or pheumatophore that acts as a sail. Physalia physalis has polyps under the pheumatophore for feeding, defence and reproduction that are several metres in length. Physalia physalis are carnivorous and feed on small crustaceans and larval fish primarily. They do this by delivering an immobilising sting to their prey with tentacles covered in nematocysts or stinging cells. The sting of Physalia physalis is potent, even after death.

Photo: Steve Trewhella

There have also been reports of sightings of Pelgia noctiluca and Buoy Barnacles in Dorset.

Like this photo? Find out more about this photographer here.

Added by

Black-faced blennies

July 23rd, 2008

Several Black-faced blennies have been found in Dorset and the Nudibranch, Favorinus blianus, was sighted during a dive on Scylla.

The Black-faced blenny, Tripterygion delaisi, is fairly uncommon having been recorded in only three locations on the south coast of Britain. It can reach 9 cm long. Its colouring varies. Both males and females are grey-brown in colour with vertical dark bars. However, in mating season, the males have bright yellow bodies with blue-edged fins and a black head. Males court the females by swimming in a figure of eight.

Photo: Steve Trewhella

Like this photo? Find out more about this photographer here.

Favorinus blianus reaches 30mm long and has a very pale yellow body. It feeds on the hydroids, Tubularia, and on opisthobranch eggs.

Photo: Douglas Herdson

Added by

Seahorses in Dorset

June 26th, 2008

There have been reports of a number of seahorses sighted during dives in Dorset. The Seahorses are of species Hippocampus hippocampus and Hippocampus guttulatus. Many of the seahorses present were pregnant.

Photo: Steve Trewhella

Hippocampus hippocampus, otherwise known as the short-snouted seahorse can reach about 15cm in length but has a short and fat body shape. It has a short snout, hence its name, that is less than one third of the length of its head. Hippocampus hippocampus has a spine above each eye and bony tubercles on its body that give the seahorse a rather knobbly appearance. Hippocampus hippocampus varies in colour from brown to orange, purple or black and is one of two main species of seahorse found in the UK.

Photo: Steve Trewhella

The long-snouted seahorse, Hippocampus guttulatus, also called the spiny seahorse, grows to about 15cm in length. Like the short-snouted seahorse (Hippocampus hippocampus), it has bony tubercles that give the body a knobbly appearance. This seahorse also has fleshy protuberances on the back of its neck which gives the appearance of a mane. Hippocampus guttulatus is green-yellow to reddish-brown in colour, often with bluish-white spots and flecks.

Like these photos? Find out more about this photographer here.

Added by

The celtic sea slug

May 9th, 2008

The Celtic sea slug (Onchidella celtica) has been sighted on a rocky outcrop at St. Martins Point, Guernsey. Onchidella celtica is a small oval slug with a fleshy body or mantle that is dark green to black in colour and is covered in tubercles. It is about 12mm in length and 6mm in width. When motionless, the mantle covers the head and the foot. The head is only visible when the slug is mobile.

Added by

Sightings of sea hares on Guernsey

April 10th, 2008

There have been a number of sightings of the sea hare Aplysia depilans on Belle Greve Bay, Guernsey from January-April. Aplysia depilans grows to about 30cm long and is brown to green in colour often with pale spots or speckles. As with all species of sea hare, Aplysia depilans has an internal shell and releases ink when disturbed. It is also a herbivore and feeds on seaweeds.

Photo of Aplysia depilans found here.

Added by

Brown venus, fish parasite and jewelbox sighted

March 18th, 2008

Photo: Dave Jarvis

The bivalve Callista chione, also known as the brown venus, was found stranded on a beach in Hayle, Cornwall. Callista chione is an uncommon species in Britain although it is found in South-West England and the Channel Islands. It is a large oval shell that can grow up ton 9cm in length. The outer shell is a reddish-brown colour with darker streaks and the inner shell is an off white colour.

Photo: Steve Trewhella

This isopod, Gnathia maxillaris was also found this month. Gnathia maxillaris is a small isopod; up to 5mm in length and male, female and juvenile Gnathia maxillaris are significantly different in their appearance. The one pictured is a Juvenile. They can usually be found in crevices, empty barnacle shells and Laminaria holdfasts. Around 100 embryos develop inside the body of the female before being released as larvae or Zupheae where they become fish parasites. The usually attach to the bodies of; the Shanny (Lipophrys pholis), the Long-spined Sea Scorpion (Taurulus bubalis) and the Corkwing Wrasse (Symphodus melops). They leave the fish host after a blood meal, their thoracic region expanded and become Pranizae larvae. Not much is known about the adult Gnathia maxillaris but it is believed that they do not feed.

Photo: Steve Trewhella

Found in a fish box in Chesil was the shell Pseudochama gryphina, known as a jewelbox. The first of this species recorded in the UK.

Like these photos? Find out more about this photographer here.

Added by

Sea snail found depositing eggs and boar fish sighted

February 26th, 2008

Lamellaria have been found depositing eggs in Guernsey and Boar fish have been reported in Jersey and Dorset.

On Guernsey’s east coast, Belle Greve Bay, Lamellaria were found excavating holes in ascidians in order to deposit their eggs. Lamellaria has a shell of 10mm length and the animal can grow up to 20mm. This slug-like mollusc varies in colour; yellow, grey or lilac and often with coloured flecks of yellow, black or white. Lamellaria have internal shells enclosed by a mantle which is covered in tubercles. Lamellaria feeds on ascidians and lays their eggs in capsules deposited in holes eaten out of the ascidians by the female. Each flask-like capsule is holds up to 3000 eggs!

In Jersey and Kimmeridge bay, Dorset, Boar fish or Capros aper have been sighted. Capros aper is an oval fish, growing up to 30cm in size. They vary in colour from brick-red for individuals from deep water (200m or more), sometimes with yellow bars, to a yellow-straw coloured fish in shallower waters. It has small, rough scales and feeds on molluscs and crustaceans.

Click here to see pictures of the Lamellaria and Capros aper.

Added by