Marine Life

Hydroids

Oaten pipe hydroids, Tubularia indivisa

Description: The thin yellow stems support pink polyps (similiar to anemones) to a height of 10-15cm. Often these polyps are eaten by other marine organisms and the stems cluster together at the base.

Location: Oaten pipes are the most common species on the wreck. They are mostly found in areas with a high level of water movement such as on the edges of the wreck and on some surfaces of the engine.

Marine Turf

 

Description: "Marine Turf" is a term used to describe dense populations of plant-like animals such as hydroids and bryozoans. Together these animals form a moss-like growth about 2-6cm tall. Both hydroids and byrozoans live as colonies and they feed off minute particles suspended in the water column.

 

Location: A covering of 'marine turf' grows on and around the horizontal funnel segment and on other vertical surfaces.

Anemones


 

Corals

Devonshire cup coral, Caryophyllia smithii

Description: This solitary coral has an internal limestone skeleton in the shape of a cup into which they can retract and hide. They have transparent tentacles with spherical knobs on the ends and stripes of bright blue and green can be seen between the tentacles. This type of cup coral can vary in colour from white, pink, green or brown

Location: On the Iona II, these solitary organisms were present on vertical and horizontal surfaces of the wreck in high densities.

Southern Cup Coral, Caryophyllia inornata

Description: These colourless animals have short tentacles with prominent knobbed tips and consist of singular small solitary cups which are taller than their 5-7mm diameter.

Location: This very rare species has only had one colony spotted on the Iona II wreck. These animals can usually be found on vertical or overhanging rock faces in small groups.

Pink Sea Fans

Pink sea fans, Eunicella verrucosa

Description: The Pink sea fan is a type of soft coral which is actually a colony of many animals joined together. This allows better access to food particles passing by in the water. This species is extremely slow growing, increasing only 10mm a year.

Location: Their preferred substrate is a stable structure such as rocks or a wreck and in an area of gentle current to allow them to obtain nutrients. Pink sea fans are very rare and only occasionally seen on the wreck. Pink fans have suffered from being seaside souvenirs in the mid-20th century and those around Lundy have also been affected by a bacteriological disease in the 2000s. It is now an offence, under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, to harm these organisms.

Sponges

Crater sponge, Hemimycale columella

Description: The Crater sponge can grow up to 1cm thick and 30cm across.

Location: Small numbers of sponges have previously been identified on the horizontal surfaces of the wreck. A few other examples of sponges were found on the Iona II but any individuals were quite small. Species of sponges were: Suberites domuncula, Raspailia ramose and Dysidea fragilis,

Sea slugs

Nudibranchs (sea slugs)

Description: Nudibranchs are soft-bodied marine gastropod molluscs and are noted for their bright colours and unusual forms. They are usually quite small, only 2-4cm long.

Location: On the Iona II they have mainly been spotted feeding on Oaten pipe hydroids.

Crabs & Lobsters

Common lobster, Homarus gammarus

Description: The body of the Common lobster is dark blue and can be up to 75cm. This organism has eight walking legs, long red antennae and two large claws, one for cutting and one for crushing.

Location: This is a very common species all around the coast of Britain. Lobsters are normally found amongst boulders as they like to find shelter. This is why several lobsters have been sighted under the boilers on the Iona II.

Spiny spider crab, Maja squinado

Description: Also known as the European spider crab, this is a migratory crustacean that usually travels in the autumn. The body is reddish brown bordered with spines and has long spidery legs. Shell width can be up to 20cm. Their diet is quite varied and includes seaweeds, molluscs, sea urchins and sea cucumbers.

Location: Several spiny spider crabs have been seen on the wreck site.

Fish