Posted by Graeme Lyons , Saturday, 6 September 2014 12:00
End of summer is always a difficult time after a busy field season and the last few weeks have been very trying, so I almost didn't take the opportunity to go out on the Watchful again last week with Sussex IFCA, but I'm glad I did. It ended up being an epic 16 hours at sea and it certainly came up with the goods again. Another cephalopod in the form of an immature Common Cuttlefish was one of the highlights for me! Not to be mistaken for the adult Little Cuttlefish that we also saw.
In fact we recorded quite a few nice molluscs, including my first live Rayed Trough Shells (top) and Netted Dog Whelks (bottom).
And this Leach's Spider Crab Inachus phalangium was also one I hadn't seen before, although this one is covered in an orange sponge.
But this was a small fish survey and that's where all the effort went. And there were so many fish this time...
The two fish I had never seen before were Sprat and this awesome little Worm Pipefish.
However, we pulled up something very strange and as yet I have not been able to put this to a taxonomic group, our best bet is a type of sponge. When the Skipper came out (referring to his fishing days) he simply said 'we used to call those Dutchman's Farts'. So, can you tell me what on Earth this is?! Most unusual about this 'thing' was that after a few minutes it would take on the shape of the bottom of the container it was in, like it was struggling to hold its weight above water. I might not know what it is but I love it!
A big thank you to Sussex IFCA for allowing me to tag along, at least I was able to put something back by measuring and identifying thousands of fish! Thanks also to Oli Froom for the lift back so late at night!