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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...
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...
No two snowflakes are alike. Every snowflake is beautiful in its own way. But this one’s pretty creepy. The snowflake moray eel ( Echidna nebulosa ) has white, black and yellow splotches all over its...
Recent Antarctic expeditions have documented climate-induced changes to emperor penguin habitats and impacts on how the penguins feed, breed, and raise their young.
As it clings to a red sea fan, a feather star ( Cenometra bella ) gently waves its slender arms—filtering bits of food from the water. Also known as sea lilies, feather stars are related to sea stars...
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...
This image from a scanning electron micrograph magnifies the tiny teeth that cover the surface of the giant squid’s tongue-like organ, or radula . Seven rows of sharp teeth help direct tiny pieces of...
Found in Arctic waters, this rare deep-water species of larvacean , Oikopleura gorskyi , eats by filtering particles from the seawater it drifts through. Larvaceans build 'houses' around themselves...
Great White Sharks breach to hunt -- with split-second timing they grab an unsuspecting seal or sea lion in one swift snatch. Follow the action in this slideshow . Learn more about the great white...
"Open Wide" spread from Citizens of the Sea by Nancy Knowlton.
This may look like a mane of hair, but it’s actually baleen from a North Atlantic Right Whale. Although it looks soft and furry, dried baleen is quite stiff, which made it useful for creating...
Smithsonian Marine Science Network Postdoctoral Fellow, Seabird McKeon, returns from the Smithsonian field site in Belize. Together with Dan Barshis of Stanford University, Seabird reports on the...
Animals, on land and in the ocean, live in a 3-D world, and they depend on their sense organs and brains to build the mental constructs that allow them to orient and navigate, which is crucial for...
Like octopods and cuttlefishes, giant squid have eight arms. But they use their two much longer feeding tentacles to seize prey. The tentacles have powerful suckers at the ends. More about the giant...
Red Phalaropes ( Phalaropus fulicarius ) are a type of sandpiper that have specialized in feeding in open water. They spin rapidly on the surface to create a small whirlpool, which draws plankton to...
Sperm whales have conical teeth on their long, narrow, lower jaw. The teeth fit neatly into sockets in the upper jaw, which has no teeth. This arrangement is a perfect adaptation for slurping up soft...
The twin-spot snapper ( Lutjanus bohar ) is one of the more curious predators in the central Pacific, says marine ecologist Stuart Sandin of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. "It poses...
Ever heard of a cookie-cutter shark ( Isistius brasiliensis )? They look like your average shark —sort of menacing and streamlined—but their name comes from how they feed. They eat smaller animals (...
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