More Scientific illustrations

Sea anemones are members of the phylum Cnidaria, and as such are related to corals and jellyfish. Unlike jellyfish, however, anemones (and other anthozoans like corals) lack the free-swimming medusa...
Offshore Peru, during the Eocene (~56-34 million years ago), showing three archaeocetes (ancient whales), along with a previously described fossil penguin. Top to bottom: Perudyptes devriesi ,...
Historically, sea urchins were known as sea hedgehogs due to their superficial resemblance to the spiny mammalian species. “Urchin” is, in fact, a Middle English term for hedgehog. Sand dollars (like...
Inside the giant squid's sharp beak is a tongue-like organ called the radula (shown in yellow). Covered with rows of tiny teeth, it rams bite size pieces of food down the squid's throat. The pieces...
Starfish—marine invertebrates of the phylum Echinodermata—are famous for their ability to shed limbs as a means of defense and then regenerate the sacrificed part. Ancient creatures, the fossil...
Copepods are aquatic crustaceans found in every marine habitat, from surface waters to the deep sea. With over 13,000 described species, they are among the most abundant of all multicellular animals...
An adult giant squid struggles for survival in an encounter with a sperm whale - its only known predator. The whale will probably overpower and eat the squid. More about the giant squid can be found...
This illustration shows the edge of a warm inland sea during the Cretaceous Period, heyday of the dinosaurs. Constantly shifting sediment supported new groups of organisms, including rudist clams—...
The Semaeostomes (the name translates to “flag mouths”) are an order of jellyfish exhibiting four long, frilly oral arms. Figures 1 and 2 in this set of illustrations portray a species Haeckel named...
This illustration shows one old idea of what the ancient shark Helicoprion might have looked like. There once was room for many ideas—some more plausible than others—because the only fossils of the...
Crinoids (echinoderms related to sea stars and sea urchins) dominate the Paleozoic shallow water habitat in this illustration. They evolved a variety of stalk heights, which enabled them to capture...
Nudibranchs (often casually called sea slugs) are soft-bodied, marine snails that have lost all trace of an external shell. The name “nudibranch” translates from the Latin as “naked gills.”...
About 100 million years ago, during the heyday of the dinosaurs , reefs were built by mollusks called rudist clams . They looked very different from today's coral reefs . Discover more about the...
The siphonophores are an order of marine animals in the phylum Cnidaria (the same phylum containing jellyfish ). Although they superficially resemble jellyfish, each siphonophore specimen is actually...
Evidence shows that life probably began in the ocean at least 3.5 billion years ago. Photosynthesis began more than 2.5 billion years ago—the Great Oxidation Event. But it took hundreds of millions...
These watercolor sketches of Trapezia crabs were drawn by Frederick Bayer, a former Smithsonian coral biologist, in 1947. Trapezia crabs live on and within corals, feeding on their tissue and mucus,...
As soon as Dampier set foot in Australia, he began making observations and collecting specimens of plants, which he carefully pressed between the pages of books to be studied by the “ingenious” and “...
Scientists met the robotic glider Scarlet Knight about halfway along its journey of scientific exploration from the United States to Spain, discovering that barnacles were growing on the glider’s...
Subscribe to Scientific illustrations