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White abalones are slow-moving, algae-eating mollusks. Rapid overharvesting since the 1970s has resulted in white abalones becoming the first marine invertebrate listed as endangered on the...
A pair of French Angelfish ( Pomacanthus paru ) swim off the coast of Brazil. This species demonstrates a rare quality among ocean fish: mating pairs appear to spend extended time together, defending...
Bacteria are everywhere in the ocean. They live in the water, on virtually every living and non-living surface, and even inside other organisms . There are 1 million bacterial cells in every...
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...
Love is in the air at the National Museum of Natural History! Our scientists are helping species look for love in this series of “dating profiles” to celebrate Valentine’s Day. For more dating...
Penguins are odd birds. For one, they cannot fly (but they are amazing swimmers), and, contrary to popular belief, the majority of penguin populations live in warmer regions. Only four of the 18...
Killer whales ( Orcinus orca ) have something in common with humans: early menopause. Read Smithsonian marine scientist Nancy Knowlton's blog post to find out more.
Sharks have young in three different ways. After internal fertilization, some species lay a thick egg case that encloses the shark embryo (seen in the photo here). Most species are ovoviviparous,...
The ocean is home to many moms of all shapes and sizes: from charismatic polar bears and dolphins to small fishes and shrimps and more. Learn about some of the diverse parenting habits of marine moms...
“Every four years, sockeyes come inland from the Pacific to spawn. The year 2010 was the largest run in 100 years, reaching more than 30 million fish. On this day, I waited for the right sunlight,...
Smaller than the head of a pin, this arrow squid (Doryteuthis plei ) embryo looks like a miniature adult and is almost ready to hatch! Depending on the squid species, the development from a...
Instead of females, male seahorses carry the developing seahorse embryos in a kangaroo-like pouch. During mating season, the female deposits her eggs into the pouch, and the male fertilizes them...
Pomarine Jaegers ( Stercorarius pomarinus ), also known as Pomarine Skuas, are predatory and pirate-like seabirds that will often steal prey from other birds. They spend their entire lives at sea...
In marshlands along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, it's easy to hear the sharp, buzzing calls of seaside sparrows ( Ammodramus maritimus )—even if they can be hard to spot. These five-inch, brown...
Olive ridley turtles ( Lepidochelys olivacea ) are the smallest marine turtle, living in warm waters close to shore as adults. Female olive ridleys take part in mass nestings that can involve 150,000...
If youngsters get cared for at all, the mother is usually involved. But in fish and a few other groups where eggs are not abandoned, fathers are the primary care providers. Males are sometimes such...
Most wild seahorses (here the thorny seahorse Hippocampus histrix ) are monogamous and some species mate for life. Searching for mates can be difficult and risky since seahorses are poor swimmers,...
Seahorse couples, such as this pair of thorny seahorses ( Hippocampus histrix ) , greet each other every morning with a unique dance that sometimes involves changing color. The couple promenades and...
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