More Adaptations

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 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...
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...
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 aptly named fish ( Anoplogaster cornuta ) has long, menacing fangs, but the adult fish is small, reaching only about 6 inches (17 cm) in length. It's teeth are the largest in the ocean in...
Hyperiid amphipods are small crustaceans related to sand fleas and distantly related to shrimp. They range in size from very tiny to more than 7 inches long, and are found at all depths of 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,...
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...
Like many deep sea creatures, this tiny comb jelly ( Bathocyroe fosteri ) has a transparent body, enabling it to blend into the surrounding waters. This ctenophore is very common around the Mid-...
About 100 million years ago , during the heyday of the dinosaurs, reefs were built by mollusks called rudist clams. Like modern clams, rudists were bivalves , with two shells (or valves) joined at a...
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...
A male mudflat fiddler crab ( Uca rapax ) waves its huge claw to impress females and threaten competitors. Only the males have the large claw. When the tide is high, fiddler crabs retreat to their...
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...
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 crab ( Neolithodes sp. ) was collected on a NOAA/MAR-ECO cruise to the Mid-Atlantic Ridge in the summer of 2009. Its red color provides camouflage and protection from predators. Red wavelengths...
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...
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...
Subscribe to Adaptations