Torpedo 4

BRITISH MARINE LIFE (106127.206 at
Thu, 31 Oct 1996 17:52:57 -0500

British Marine Life Study Society
Glaucus House, 14 Corbyn Crescent, Shoreham-by-Sea, Sussex. BN43 6PQ.
Tel/Fax: 01273 465433

BMLSS (Scotland)

For details of how to join the BMLSS, please contact the above address, or the World Wide
Web site at Scotland which will include some sample articles which can be downloaded to
your computer. The copyright of each article remains with the writer of each article and
reproduction is not permitted without express permission.

Electronic News Service

Welcome to TORPEDO for October 1996. As this is the trial period, some of the
information may be repeated from earlier TORPEDO Reports. From 1997, each issue will
not contain duplicated information. If you wish to continue to receive TORPEDO, please
indicate in the affirmative by EMail to the above address. There will be no charge for the
year 1996.

Rare Fish Reports

Earlier Rare Fish Reports can be found at the two following sites:


Another site worth looking at is:



Andrew Johnson, from the University of Glasgow, spotted a two metres long
Swordfish, Xiphias gladius, five miles out of the Firth of Lorne in September of
this year. On a beautifully calm day with the Atlantic like a millpond, he spotted
something rising out of the water and coming straight towards the boat. He
could not believe his eyes, but with a long sword about a third the length of its
body, he identified it as a species of swordfish. To his surprise, it rose a further
seven times in full view of the divers on the charter boat heading for a site west
of the Garvellachs.

The Swordfish is the only member of the family Xiphiidae. It has a long pointed
snout which it uses to stun fish on which it will then feed. This fish is a
widespread and solitary fish throughout the warmer oceans, but it is an
extremely rare vagrant in British seas. One specimen was seen off the south of
the Isle of Wight a couple of years ago.

The Swordfish, Xiphias gladius, has a tuna-like first dorsal fin and attains a
length of 4.9 metres. Specimens are usually between 2 and 3 metres in length. It
feeds on shoaling fishes and squids. Its colour on the most often seen upper
surface is a blue-grey, paler underneath.

The only other fish recorded in British seas with a pointed snout is the Sailfish,
Istiophorous platypterus, which is distinguished by a huge dorsal fin. This latter
species has only been recorded once stranded on a Devon coast in 1928
(A. Wheeler). This fish belongs to the family Istiophoridae, which includes at
least three species of marlins and spearfishes with pointed snouts.

The Firth of Lorne is the six mile wide passage between the mainland and the
Isle of Mull and there is an open stretch of water to the Atlantic.


Marine Conservation Society

18/19/20 October: Annual Conference at Cardiff.

Tel: 01989 566017 Fax: 01989 567815.

West of England Geologists Association

26 October: University of Bristol, School of Chemistry
21st Anniversary Symposium: Restless Rocks

Enquiries to John Toller 0117 969 6834

Dorset Geologists Assoc. Newsletter Jane Clarke 01703 252309

British Association for the Advancement of Science (BASS)
Visions for the Future

1 November (Friday): Southampton Oceanography Centre

Participants should be aged 16-25. Good range of speakers and subjects.


Contact at BASS, 23 Savile Row, London W1X 2NB is Natasha Martineau.

Tel: 0171 973 3071 Fax: 0171 973 3051

National Federation of Biological Recording

12 November (Friday) Evaluating Species for Action

One day Seminar at:
The John Clare Lecture Theatre. Peterborough Library.

Contact: Nicky Court (NFBR) Tel: 01962 846741 (daytime)

Diary events on marine wildlife and oceanography to Glaucus House or
EMail: 106127.206 at CompuServe, Tel/Fax: 01273 465433.

Fax received during working hours only.

Sea Empress Supplementary

The Vernal/Summer 1996 issue of Glaucus contained a full report.
Supplementary oiled bird information arrived too late for this issue. The brief
oiled bird Report by Tim Thomas (RSPCA) will be included in the next issue of
Glaucus. if Torpedo recipients have not already received this information,
please request by EMail.


Anglesey Sea Zoo

A full time aquarist is wanted to join the team at the large Public Aquarium in
Brynsiencyn, Anglesey.

Essential skills: fishkeeping experience, literate, marine biology.

For full details contact Stephanie Dickinson at:

Anglesey Sea Zoo
LL61 6TQ

Tel: 01248 430411 Fax: 430213


In the summer of 1993, Susanne Herbert spotted a seal in the sea off Shoreham-by-Sea, a
most unusual occurrence.

In July 1996 a one and a half year old Grey Seal hauled up on a wooden support underneath
the footbridge that crosses the River Adur in the centre of the Sussex town of
Shoreham-by-Sea. It remained there until it swam back out to sea with the receding tide.

Information and Books

The new Collin's Pocket Guide to the Seashore by Peter Hayward is highly
recommended. It is available as a Special Offer to BMLSS members at the reduced price of
10.99. Please enclose a SAE for the Special Offer form.

Collins Pocket Guide to the Seashore of Britain & Northern Europe
by Peter Hayward, Tony Nelson-Smith, Chris Shields.
Illustrations by the WILDlife Art agency.
Harper Collins 1996
ISBN 0 00219955 6
Price 12.99 and Special Offers.

Book reviews of all marine books are regularly included in

Calypso Publications are specialist publishers of ichthyological and natural history titles.
Contact: Gerald Jennings Tel/Fax: 0171 281 4948

Glaucus Index

This is not yet available for downloading. Members are entitled to a PC disc free of charge.
Please specify word processor, and for an early reply enclose a SAE. 2500+ entries.


For details of the Shorewatch scheme send a message to EMail: 106127.206 at CompuServe
or surf at:


For 1996 reports are wanted for anything unusual, with a special emphasis on opisthobranch mollusc
(sea slugs etc.), all rare fish and the following unusual species:

Snake Pipefish, Entelurus aequoreus
Triggerfish, Balistes capriscus.
Black-faced Blenny, Tripterygion atlanticus
Atlantic Bonito, Sarda sarda
Boar Fish, Capros aper
Comber, Serranus cabrilla
Sea Horse, Hippocampus ramulosus
Opah, Lampris guttatus.
Bluemouth, Helicolenus dactylopterus.
Butterfly Blenny, Blennius ocellaris
Giant Goby, Gobius cobitis
Blindfish, Myxine glutinosa
Lesser Weever, Echiichthys vipera
Greater Weever, Trachinus draco
Marbled Electric Ray, Torpedo marmorata
Red Band-fish, Cepola rubescens
Topknot, Zeugopterus punctatus.
Leopard-spotted Goby, Thorogobius ephippiatus
Sturgeon, Acipenser sturio
Tadpole-fish, Raniceps raninus
Nigerian Garfish or Skipper, Scomberesox saurus
Snipefish, Macroramphosus scolopax
Wreckfish, Polyprion americanus
Yarrell's Blenny, Chirolophis ascanii
Snake Blenny, Lumpenus lampretaeformis
Frigate Mackerel, Auxis rochei
Tunny, Thunnus alalunga
Swordfish, Xiphias gladius
Barrelfish, Hyperoglyphe perciformis
Sunfish, Mola mola

and all of the larger sharks and rays.

TORPEDO compiled by Andy Horton.