Monday, 30 January 2012

Davy Jones' pan-species locker

The pan-lister in me couldn't resist buying 'Great British Marine Animals' by Paul Naylor, its third edition having just published. This is a photographic guide to the commoner species found in UK waters and has already helped me add to my marine list (with a bit of retro checking of my Cornish rock pool pictures taken last August). What is sobering is the number of marine animal species to be found in the UK - go on, have a guess. 250? 500? It can't be over a thousand, can it? Yes it can...

Approximately 7,000.

Take sponges. There are in the region of 400 species of sponge to tempt the pan-lister, but Paul Naylor throws in a curve-ball by suggesting that microscopic examination is often essential to clinch an ID.

This book has caused me to adopt an ambition marine mammal, although I doubt that I'll ever see one. The Fireworks Anemone is big, spectacular and inhabits deep water such as the bottom of muddy Scotish sea-lochs. Another thing that is obvious is that the biologists that have given these sea creatures their English names have used the simple trick of looking at them, deciding what they resemble, and calling them just that - hence Strawberry Anemone, Dahlia Anemone, Breadcrumb Sponge, Chocolate Finger Sponge, Prawn Cracker Sponge (I'm not making these up). Now all I have to do is buy an oxygen tank, a pair of flippers, an underwater camera and start inroads into the 7,000 ticks on offer. Lundy, anyone?

4 comments:

  1. Nice one! That is one the better books I used last year.

    I used to have a heavy bag with about six books when rockpooling. Once, I crouched down to examine something and got up to discover my bag went down with me into the water. All the books soaked. Got them dried off at home though.

    All good fun.

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  2. Andrew, I can't wait to go rock pooling again!

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  3. Steve, I have some fantastic rockpooling on my doorstep, a 10 minute walk away, and I have regularly tried to kick myself into gear to get stuck in. This year, I must do just that! Breadcrumb Sponge was a new species for me last year only 300 yards from the garden!

    I might try that book and hope it has some stuff from the northern north sea rather than cornish suckerfish and seahorses!

    S...

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  4. This book has led to the adoption of an ambition of marine mammals, but I think that I will never see one. I am also this one, it so nice and i like it. Thanks for posting!

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