More Adaptations

A huge colony of brittlestars (likely Ophiacantha rosea ) covers the peak of a seamount in the deep ocean. What’s the attraction? Food! Their arms reach out for tiny food particles carried by the...
Snow on land can make some people grumpy, but the magical-looking flakes and a beautiful layer on the trees can turn even disenchanted adults into gleeful children again. But what is the ocean...
This lizardfish ( Bathysaurus ferox ) rests on the ocean bottom with its head slightly elevated—waiting to snatch prey with its large mouth and sharp teeth. It lives at depths of 600-3,500 meters (1,...
Hidden beneath Arctic ice is a world few have ever seen. Take the icy plunge with a team of ice-loving scientists.
Like this ctenophore ( Aulococtena acuminata ), many animals that live in the midwater zone are red—making them almost invisible in the dim blue light that filters down from the sea surface. This...
With gnarled teeth and a perpetual frown, the sea wolf is a creature out of our nightmares! But despite its fearsome look, it isn't a danger to humans, largely preying on whelks, crabs, and sea...
Glowing photophores are visible on this midwater squid ( Abralia veranyi ) viewed from below at low light levels. We think of light as a way to see in the dark. But many species use it to help them...
A smasher mantis shrimp came out from its burrow on a fringing reef adjacent to the USS Liberty ship wreck in Tulamben, Bali, Indonesia at a depth of 6 meters. The smashers use their raptorial claw...
Scientists know the Greenland shark ( Somniosus microcephalus ) moves slowly in the Arctic's cold water. They also know that parasites attack the shark's eyes. But much about this animal remains a...
Nudibranchs are a kind of sea slug, and their 3000 species are found from the poles to the tropics in both shallow and deep water. Though they often only reach two centimeters in length, they are...
This red octopod ( Stauroteuthis syrtensis ) shines in a novel way. Suckers stretching in a single row down each arm flash on and off. The glowing-sucker octopod drifts through deep waters off the...
Deep sea animals have to live in a very cold, dark, and high-pressure environment where they can't see a thing! To survive there, they've evolved some very strange adapations. Some make their own...
Polar bears have evolved to survive in the Arctic with large, oar-like front paws for better swimming, as well as insulating blubber, and two layers of fur for the frigid temperatures. They rely on...
This tiny, shrimplike creature is no more than 2.5 centimeters (1 inch) long, but it’s as ferocious as a shark. Its giant eyes spot prey. Huge claws grab the prey, and a tiny mouth rips it to shreds...
The corkwing wrasse, or gilt-head, changes color depending on its age, sex, and breeding season. For instance, during the breeding season, males have blue spotted fins and the middle of their scales...
The yellow bioluminescent ring on this female octopus ( Bolitaena pygmaea ) may attract mates. Bioluminescence is an important adaptation that helps many deep sea animals survive in their dark world...
This shadowy fish, Trematomus bernacchii , is well adapted to the ice-cold water of the Antarctic: its blood comes equipped with natural antifreeze. This is a necessary adaptation because the...
Great White Sharks are stealthy hunters and the secret is in their skin. Shark skin is covered by tiny flat V-shaped scales, called dermal denticles, that are more like teeth than fish scales. These...
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