The Conger above is just a baby! It may have been caught by a seal but these eels can reach 20 feet long and would be a match for any predator.
The barrel jellyfish is one of the largest jellies to visit British waters. Often seen in the summer, they can arrive in vast numbers and can be spotted very close to shore. They have a diameter of around 90cm and can weigh 35kg.
Jellyfish have specialised stinging cells, called nematocysts. These cells are special pressurised pods, containing a tiny, harpoon like sting. There are thousands of these cells on the jellies tentacles, and are what the jellies use to kill their prey, whatever may be unlucky enough to swim into the nest of tentacles.
While the barrels jellies venom is far too weak to affect humans, some of the most dangerous animals in the word are jellyfish, namely the box jellyfish, and the Portuguese man’o war.
The barrel feeds on the tiny plankton in the water column, and follows the plankton drifts in the ocean currents.
This one snapped in Maidencombe early last year put on a great show for one of our 'stag outings' and had many swimming for their lives!
Conger Oceanicus- Animalia, Chordata, Actinopterygii, Angulligormes, Congridae.
The Conger Eel is one of the largest eels in the world, and the largest found in English waters, growing to around 2 meters in length.
During the day, they hide in holes and crevices along rocky coastlines, and are often found in ship wrecks.
They usually live around 500 meters down, though they are also known to reach depths of 4000 meters!
They become active at night, catching unsuspecting fish with their razor sharp teeth.
Congers are easily identified by their colour, usually blue-grey, or brown-grey. the bottom jaw also protrudes further than the top, and of course their huge size and distinctive, snake like shape.
The Conger Eel reproduces just once in its life, spawning in large groups and then dying almost straight after!
As one of the larger animals found in British waters, they are not frequently seen, so if you do spot one, consider yourself very lucky
The Grey seal is the most common seal found in British waters. They can grow to around 2-3 meters in length, and sustain themselves on a diet of fish. Males are usually much larger than females, and are also darker in colour. The latin name, Halichoerus grypus, means ‘hooked nosed sea pig.
The pupping season is usually September to November. The mothers milk has 60% fat, enabling the pups to grow quickly and become independent within a month.
Inquisitive, shy to start, but quickly emboldened, these seals often interact with ocean going people, showing their excellent swimming abilities and bright intelligence. They can often be seen on sunny days lazing on the rock at Maidencombe, or swimming close to shore. They can be a pest to fisherman locally often taking fish off of hooks before they can be landed.
The seals in Maidencombe are friendly relaxed, they often follow a coasteering group and will swim with us at certain locations where they feel safest.
Cheers - Tom