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The Ocean Blog

Jellyfish and comb jellies are gelatinous animals that drift through the ocean's water column around the world. They are both beautiful—the jellyfish with their pulsating bells and long, trailing...
What are corals? Corals themselves are animals. But tropical reef-building corals have tiny plant-like organisms living in their tissue. The corals couldn’t survive without these microscopic algae–...
Cardinalfish ( Cheilodipterus sp. ) dads do their part to protect their eggs by gingerly carrying them in their mouths. However, the dads could easily swallow the whole bunch in one gulp! To keep her...
Male northern elephant seals face off on the beach by vocalizing through their extended noses, called proboscises. Every winter, when the seals return to the beach where they were born to breed,...
In honor of Mother's Day, the Citizens of the Sea blog salutes ocean-going mothers everywhere. Especially a 60 year-old albatross named Wisdom. She holds the seabird records for both oldest bird and...
This purple urchin Paleopneustes cristatus is seldom seen by itself, and can be found in groups of hundreds. Dr. Dave Pawson , a senior scientist at NMNH who studies deep-sea echinoderms, is testing...
Zombie worms don’t crave brains: instead they seek bones. The 1 to 3 inch (2 to 7 centimeter) Osedax worms were first discovered living in the bones of a rotting gray whale on the deep sea floor,...
A coral ( Montastraea faveolata ) has just spawned. Each of the hundreds of polyps living in the colony releases a small pink bundle of sperm and eggs. Read more about coral spawing and watch a...
Over the last few days, a video of hermit crabs stampeding across the rocky shores of St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands has taken the internet by storm. Where are the hermit crabs going, and why?...
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...
by Laura Brodbeck A special type of marine protected area (MPA) called a “no-take zone” bans the removal of marine life from designated areas. At first glance, they seem like a hard sell to fishermen...
Just like other seahorse species, male weedy sea dragons are the ones to get 'pregnant' and give birth to the babies. To show he is ready to hold eggs, the male wrinkles part of his tail. On this...
Male fiddler crabs each have a single super-sized claw that they use as a weapon to threaten and fight other males and as beautiful adornment to attract females. Here, see a video of two male dancing...
by Fox Meyer Squids, octopuses, and cuttlefishes are among the few animals in the world that can change the color of their skin in the blink of an eye. These cephalopods —a group of mollusks with...
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.
Throughout their lifecycle, jellyfish take on two different body forms: medusa and polyps. Polyps can reproduce asexually by budding, while medusae spawn eggs and sperm to reproduce sexually. Learn...
In 1996, at age nine, Phoenix has her first calf (North Atlantic right whale #2605) off the southeast coast of Florida. More about the right whale can be found in our Tale of a Whale featured story .
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,...
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