I was in Cleveleys this Sunday (21/11) and a on short diversion down to the beach I counted 20 dead sea mice Aphrodita aculeata on a 2 or 3 metre stretch of the hight tide strand. The tide was in so there wasn’t much beach to look at and I couldn’t tell if this was a localised collection or if it was typical of the whole shore. Got to admit that there was a bit too much dog muck on the beach for me to want to look much further!
miceThis was striking to me as a diver because sea mice are creatures that we rarely see. I would guess that I’ve done something of the order of 300 dives in British seas and in that time I’ve seen 3 sea mice. That’s a 1 in 100 dive ratio of sightings. So 20 – admittedly dead – in one smal area is unusual. It also has some interesting similarites to a sighting of a large number of sea mice made by Lancashire MCS members on a dive in Loch Fyne in November. Follow up dives were arranged in subsequent years to see if this was a regular occurence (I saw 2 of my total count on one of these dives) but nothing conclusive was found again. Maybe we should have been looking a bit closer to home?
What else was there on the beach? You can see a mermaid’s purse – probably a dogfish’s – in the debris behind the sea mice. I was also quite surprised to find jellyfish stranded. It’s not a time of year that I would have thought of for strandings. Didn’t see any leatherbacks though.
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