Divers Down Swanage
 
 

Pier Creatures

We have a vast array of life under Swanage Pier and would like to show you some of the things you can see.

Sand Eels

These small, slender fish are typically found shoaling over the seabed or buried in the sand. They are an important food source for many seabirds, including puffins.There are about 18 species.The species range from about 20-46cm (8-18in)Sand eels are slim, elongated, usually silver fishes, eel-like in shape and movement. They have a continuous dorsal fin and no pelvic fins. The head is long and has a projecting lower jaw. The tail is forked.

 

Edible Crab

The shell up to 25 cm wide and thecolour is reddish brown
The young crabs on the lower shore with larger adults out to sea
These crabs can live for up to 20 years

They have distinctive pie crimping markings around their shell which makes them look a bit like a pasty. The tips of their claws are black. Hairy legs make it easier for them to walk through water and to bury themselves into sand and sediment

Large female edible crabs carry up to 20 million eggs when pregnant

Tompot Blenny

The TOM POT Blenny is up to 20cm long
Red-brown with vertical dark stripes
Lives on the llower shore in rockpools and in holes and crevices
An inquisitive, curious and comical looking fish often seen by divers, especially around shipwrecks

A pair of distinctive feathery tentacles on the forehead tells this fish apart from the other blennies. They have hairy (feathery) nostrils. Males guard the eggs until they hatch. They have sharp teeth so watch your fingers if you try to catch one

Of the five wrasse species, the ballan wrasse is the largest – a specimen adult wrasse will reach around 50-60cm in length, but they are generally around the 40cm mark.

It is quite a common sea fish that prefers rocky or kelp-covered coastlines.

They are a long living fish and can reach 25 years old.

 Ballan Wrasse

 

Spider crabs are a family of long, skinny-legged crabs containing over 700 species. Often small and slow-moving, some species look like bits of debris and further camouflage themselves by adorning the bristles and spines of their exoskeleton with algae, seaweed and corals. This family contains the largest known arthropod - the Japanese spider crab - which has a leg span of four metres.

Spider Crab

 The family of true lobsters includes the Norwegian lobster, American lobster and European lobster - all of which are characterised by the presence of large, uneven claws.

Some lobsters may live for 50-100 years.

According to the Guinness book of Records the largest lobster caught, an American Lobster, Homarus americanus, weighed 20.1kg (44lbs 6oz).

Lobster

Smelt

 

 

Smelt are good-looking small fish. They are dark olive green in color on their backs and silver on their undersides. Many smelts have quite a few dark spots on their sides and fins. Another distinguishing feature of smelt are the pearly covers on their gills and their forked brown tails.
Smelt have large mouths and teeth. They have mature teeth on both their tongue and their jaws. These fish grow to be about half a foot to a foot long. They reach sexual maturity at the age of two years and have normal lifespans of four to five years. 

 

 

Cuckoo Wrasse.

The Cuckoo Wrasse is the most colourful. Both the young and the breeding females are orange to red in colour and each has dark spots towards the end of the dorsal fin. In contrast, the male has a vivid blue head which is overlaid with a mosaic of dark purple lines. The rest of the body is bright yellow or orange and the tail is edged with a wide band of similar royal blue to that of the head. Wrasse have thick protruding lips, strong teeth, both in the jaws (for biting and rasping) and in the throat (for gripping and crushing). With these teeth they are able to enjoy a mixed menu of shelled animals including barnacles, other crustaceans, and molluscs.

 

 

Pollock

 

 

Pollack can grow over 3ft and weigh up to 21kg. A sharp silver line runs along the sides of the pollock, above which is a colour resembling a greenish black and its belly is white.

 Cuttlefish belong to the class which also includes squid and octopses.  Despite their name, cuttlefish are not fish but molluscs. Recent studies indicate that cuttlefish are among the mostintellegent invertebrates.  Cuttlefish also have one of the largest brain-to-body size ratios of all invertebrates.  They have an internal shell (the cuttlebone), large W-shaped pupils, and eight arms and two tentacles furnished with denticulated suckers, with which they secure their prey. They generally range in size from 15 cm (5.9 in) to 25 cm (9.8 in), with largest species reaching 50 cm (20 in) in  length and over 10.5 kg (23 lb) in weight.  Cuttlefish eat small crabs, shrimp, fish and other cuttlefish. Their predators include dolphins, sharks, fish, seals and other cuttlefish. Their life expectancy is about one to two years.

 

Cuttlefish

 

 

 

The name bream covers one of the largest families of freshwater and seawater (marine) fish. This page deals with seawater species known generally as sea bream, gilt head or Dorade which belongs to the familySparidae, found mainly in the Mediterranean Sea and sometimes in the English Channel.   

Sea Bream is round bodied and classed as a "white" fish and grows to 60cm/2  feet in length.

 

Bream

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bib, also called pout is a  common fish of the cod family, Gadidae, found in the sea along European coastlines. The bib is a rather deep-bodied fish with a chin barbel, three close-set dorsal fins, and two close-set anal fins. It usually grows no longer than about 30 cm (12 inches) and is copper red with darker bars. Though abundant, it is ought as food.

Bib, Pout or Pouting