More Adaptations

The Ocean Blog

Stinging cells (nematocysts) line the tentacles of this moon jelly ( Aurelia aurita ). Upon contact with prey or a predator, a venom-laden harpoon shoots out to stun or kill. Read more about...
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...
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...
Earth’s first animals had soft bodies. This illustration shows a community of soft-bodied Ediacaran (edi-A-karan) animals. Some species resemble living ocean creatures. Others are unlike any known...
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...
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 new species of lobster is blind—an adaptation to deep-sea life —and has very bizarre claws, or chelipeds. It was discovered about 300 meters (984 feet) deep in the Philippine Sea by a Census of...
This transparent cockatoo squid ( Leachia sp.), also known as a glass squid, lives in the depths of the ocean and has many adaptations to help it survive there. It retains ammonia solutions inside...
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...
Arching mangrove roots like these help keep trunks upright in the soft sediments at water’s edge. More about mangroves can be found in our Mangroves featured story .
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...
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...
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...
Adaptation is the key word if you are looking to survive in a tide pool, a space that some scientists describe as the most competitive real estate in the ocean. Tide pools are exposed to the water's...
Even on an early winter morning, it was sunny and warm in southern Florida. This was great because, regardless of the weather, Dr. Jon Norenburg and I were going to walk chest-deep into the water to...
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...
These beautiful mandarinfish ( Synchiropus splendidus ) are covered in bright blue, red, yellow and orange waves. What they lack, however, are traditional fish scales. They live in western Pacific...
This jelly’s red color provides camouflage in the deep ocean. Red light rarely reaches those depths, and most deep-sea animals have lost the ability to see red. The long, complex tentacles of this...
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