Unusual sightings in July

August 1st, 2007

Despite reduced numbers of sightings this month, perhaps due to the bad weather, there have been some interesting things sighted, including the Dustbin Lid Jellyfish, caught off the Yorkshire coast, a Cuckoo Wrasse sighted in the St Abbs VMCA, a first for the VMCA and a very unusual record for the East coast, and the nationally scarce Glaucus Pimplet anemone, spotted in North Devon.

The dustbin lid jellyfish, Rhizostoma octopus, is usually found on the southern and western coasts of Britain. The jellyfish is solid in appearance and has a dome shaped bell. Its colour varies from a whitish colour to pale shades of green, blue, pink or brown. In mature Rhizostoma octopus, the Gonads (sex organs) for males are blue in colour and reddish-brown in females. Rhizostoma octopus feed on microscopic planktonic organisms and often, the large crustacean Hyperia galba can be found within the body of the jellyfish.

The cuckoo wrasse (Labrus mixtus) is up to 35cm in length for the males and up to 30cm for the females. The functional (older) males are coloured orange-red with a blue striped head and back while non-functional (young) males and females are pink to orange-red with the females having black and white blotches on their lower back.

Glaucus Pimplet (Anthopleura thallia) is a sea anemone that is rare in the UK. The column grows tall, up to 50mm, the anemone varying in colour; green, brown or grey, sometimes with a reddish overcast. The anemone has up to 100 tentacles of moderate length.

The gales in the last week of July also brought in some unusual pelagic species including an unusual form of goose barnacle found in Dorset and North-West Ireland. Has anyone else found anything unusual washed in?

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