More Senses

Check out the eyes on these Hawaiian squirrelfish ( Sargocentron xantherythrum )! Because squirrelfish are almost entirely nocturnal, they need big eyes to absorb as much moonlight and starlight as...
This hyperiid is one of seventeen species in the genus Lanceola , which are found between 200 and 7,000 meters below the ocean’s surface. Some species, like this one, are found exclusively below 3,...
Hear how research unfolds at sea in a tiny Zodiac surrounded by creatures that measure longer than a city bus. Playing female whale calls into the water, researcher Susan Parks suddenly finds herself...
This much smaller hyperiid (in the genus Paraphromina ) has eyes that make up 45 percent of its body! Its many retinas, which researchers believe are used to maximize light detection, are the small...
The blue-spotted stingray ( Taeniura lymma ) doesn’t like to be covered in sand like other species of stingray do. Instead, it prefers to show off its beautiful blue spots and, to stay up to the best...
The goblin shark ( Mitsukurina owstoni ) is one of the creepier fish out there! It has a long, prominent snout covered with special sensing organs (ampullae of Lorenzini) that help it to sense...
These Themisto hyperiids live in the top 200 meters of cold waters around the world. Each of their two large eyes has an upward-looking zone and a downward-looking zone. Each zone can see at...
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...
The Pacific hagfish ( Eptatretus stoutii ), a fish that looks similar to an eel, has no jaw and is totally blind. They find food, often dead fish, through a specialized sense of smell and, because...
The yellow features in this 3-D reconstruction of a fin whale fetal skull represent the early developmental stages of ear bones, characteristics that are extremely rare, fragile and nearly impossible...
Dr. Stefan Huggenberger from the University of Cologne explains sound production in sperm whales in "Moby Dick's Boom Box: Nasal Complex of Sperm Whales," a presentation at the Smithsonian's National...
What does a bioluminescent creature that lives more than two miles below the surface of the ocean and a glow stick have in common? More than you think. In a unique spin on an art technique called "...
Great white sharks ( Carcharodon carcharias ) are marvels of evolution, with highly-evolved senses keeping them among the ocean’s top predators. However, they are threatened with extinction and...
Sharks are much older than dinosaurs. Their ancestry dates back more than 400 million years, and they are one of evolution’s greatest success stories. These animals are uniquely adapted to their...
The distinctive form of a winghead shark ( Eusphyra blochii ) is revealed by an X-ray image. The Winghead Shark, one of about ten species of hammerhead sharks, has its eyes set at the tips of its...
Hoping to hear bowhead whales , NOAA marine mammal scientist Sue Moore listens to real-time sounds from an underwater hydrophone.
This is another view of Phromina from the side. The eyes take up most of the head, with one pair looking to the side (the red spot) and one pair facing upwards. Phronima live anywhere from 200-1100...
Scypholanceola aestiva looks like an armored alien of the deep. It doesn’t have compound eyes like other hyperiids, but instead sees variations in light using reflective cups embedded in the...
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