More Adaptations

A thresher shark’s long tail fin helps not only its swimming ability, but also its ability to hunt. It can use the fin to herd and trap schooling fish by swimming in increasingly smaller circles...
The basic body plans of all modern animals were set during the Cambrian Period, 542 - 488 million years ago. Your friends, family, and pet turtle may not look much like the creatures here. But we and...
Rivulus fish live in bodies of water that sometimes become contaminated with hydrogen sulfide—an extremely toxic compound that smells like rotten eggs. When this happens, the adaptable fish wiggle...
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...
Giant squid live up to their name: the largest giant squid ever recorded by scientists was almost 43 feet (13 meters) long, and may have weighed nearly a ton. You’d think such a huge animal would be...
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...
This beautiful jewel squid ( Histioteuthis bonnellii ) can be found swimming above the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, at depths of 500-2,000 meters (1,640-6,562 feet). The “jewels” covering the body are...
Mangrove is the name for a tree—and also for a complex ecosystem—that bridges land and sea. There are around 70 species of mangrove trees (meaning trees that can grow in salty water and soils), but...
This bait ball shows how small fish can react when larger predators are near by gathering tightly together in a ball-like formation that exposes the least number of fish. Fish species found in the...
You may have seen the sparkle of fireflies on a summer’s night. The fireflies produce light through a chemical reaction in their glowing abdomens, a process known as bioluminescence. But did you know...
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...
Arctic cod have a special protein that keeps their blood from freezing in ice-cold Arctic waters.
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...
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...
An Atlantic puffin ( Fratercula arctica ) carries many sandlances ( Ammodytidae ) in its mouth to take back to its hungry chick. Puffins have spiny tongues that, pressed against the roof of their...
Bioluminescence is one of the more captivating adaptations that have evolved in marine animals. It's the ability of organisms to create and emit light. Dive underwater and you may witness lightshows...
When I set out to write a book about mollusks (called Spirals in Time ), I wasn't quite prepared for just how many animals I would get to know. There are somewhere between 100,000 and 200,000 mollusk...
Weddell seals grind their teeth on holes in the ice to keep them open to their comings and goings between ocean and air. Their dives can last over an hour when they are looking for an opening in the...
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