1. Which of these giants is a regular visitor to Irish waters?
There are around 10 species of sharks that come to Ireland to enjoy our rich seas. These include the blue shark, short finned mako, several types of dogfish and the really impressive basking shark. These guys are the second biggest shark in the world and can measure up to a whopping 11 metres.
2. In what year were Irish waters declared a dolphin and whale sanctuary?
On the 7th of June 1991 Irish seas were declared a Whale and Dolphin Sanctuary, the first of it’s kind in Europe. This recognised that our waters held a great importance for these magnificent creatures and that they should be protected here.
3. Selkies are a mythical creatures of Irish folklore. On land they take the form of humans - but what creature do they live as in the sea?
Selkies are mythological creatures that can be found in Irish, Scottish, and Faroese folklore. Selkies are said to live as seals in the sea but shed their skin to become human on land.
4. What is the name of this rock pool critter?
There’s a plethora of creatures to find hiding in rock pools, anemones, urchins, mermaids purse (shark eggs), crabs, starfish and lots of different types of seaweed. The anemone are small, brightly coloured marine creatures that spend most of their time attached to rocks. They feed on what the sea bring close enough for their tentacles to catch.
5. What species of dolphin lives in the Shannon estuary?
The Shannon estuary is home to the only known resident group of bottlenose dolphins. Around 200 dolphins live here and it is a known calving area.
6. The Common or Harbour seal is one of two native species of seals in Ireland. What is the other
There are two native species of seal swimming about Irish waters, the grey seal and the common seal. Grey seals are the more common of the two (despite the others name!) and can be found all around the Irish coastline, preferring the more isolated spots. Common or harbour seals prefer more sheltered areas.
7. What is a baby puffin chick called?
These colourful creatures flock to the islands and rock outcrops of the west to spend the summer months there to breed and feed their pufflings on the local cuisine of sand eel and sprat.
8. What type of creature is this odd looking fellow found last year off Galway?
A skipper knew he caught something special when he landed this rare slipper lobster off the Galway Coast. He contacted the Marine Institute who identified it and handed it over to Galway Atlantaquaria who are now care for the 77mm lobster who has been named ‘Tréan.
9. Which of these is not one of the three Lamprey species found in Ireland?
There are 3 species of lamprey in Ireland; river lamprey, brook lamprey and the sea lamprey. Lampreys are some of the most primitive vertebrates alive today being over 360 million years old. They are jawless, having instead a round sucker-like mouth and their skeleton consists of cartilage like sharks and rays.
10. What's the name of this curious creature?
The thornback ray gets its name from its spines and is commonly found around Ireland’s coasts. Actually it has quite a wide geographical distribution and can be also be seen as far north as Iceland and south as Namibia. The thornback ray is classified as near threatened on the IUCN RedList.
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