Sunday, 27 November 2011

Wembury bay rockpooling

Cornish Sucker fish
 Went for a quick Surf down at Wembury bay (Devon) this morning, Followed by a search round the rockpools. Wembury Bay is a marine reserve so is particularly rich in rockpool life.
As well as the usual species I came across a few rarer fish, such as this sea scorpion (below). Though common in deeper waters it's rarer to find them in rockpools, possibly because of their superb camouflage. I caught this young one surprisingly high-up the beach and whilst it was in the net it flipped over and revealed an amazingly colourful underside. Sea scorpions are ambush predators and can change their colours to blend perfectly with the surronding rocks and seaweed so on the top are usually a mottled collection of browns and greens.
Soon after the Sea scorpion I spotted a Five Bearded rockling, (bottom photo, looks like a catfish). I've found a few over the summer but what was interesting here was that I caught two in the same pool (a mating pair?), and as I was placing them back in the water a third swam straight at me in an apparent display of aggression. I have no knowledge of the breeding habits of these fish but it is just possible that it is at this time of year that they seek out mates, I'll definetly research it.
The last fish of the day was a personal favourite; the Cornish Sucker fish, the  fins on the undersides of these fish (pelvic fins) fuse to create a strong sucker pad that can even suspend them upside down. As well as this they have  a highly recognisable  duck bill- like mouth , a yellow body covered in red spots and a pair of electric blue fake eye spots, definitely on of  the UK's weirdest fish.
Spot the Sea Scorpion

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