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A few years ago, I was in New Zealand photographing a story about the value of marine reserves (a type of marine protected area ). My last location was a place called the Poor...
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When snorkeling in the Kahekili Herbivore Fisheries Management Area (KHFMA) in...
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When we think "Africa," we think of the "Big Five"—lions, elephants, leopards,...
In the dark, cold waters 600 meters (nearly 2000 feet) below the ocean's...

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This bait ball shows how small fish can react when larger predators are near by gathering tightly together in a ball-like formation that exposes the least number of fish. Fish species found in the open ocean are especially in...
The deep-sea dragonfish ( Stomiidae ), also called the barbeled dragonfish,...
The Palauan primitive cave eel ( Protanguilla palau ) has an evolutionary...

DIVE DEEPER

By Lindsay Aylesworth, Project Seahorse The day I stepped into my wetsuit, donned my mask, and embarked on my first scuba...
The whitish spots on this fish are individual parasitic trematode worms. Trematodes have complicated life cycles that usually involve multiple hosts -- often starting in a snail and then moving on to...
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...
This fish’s tail looks like a long streamer. It lives near the ocean’s surface and grows only up to 45 mm (1.7 in) long. Find out how this fish was part of an international scientific mystery.
The corkwing wrasse, or gilt-head, changes color depending on its age, sex, and breeding season. For instance, during the breeding season, males have blue spotted fins and the middle of their scales...
The Census of Marine Life - a ten-year effort by scientists from around the world to answer the age-old question, “What lives in the sea?” It was an international effort to asses the diversity,...
"I was photographing this beautiful school of jacks when a diver slowly approached from beneath. I shifted my position to capture the moment he entered the ball of fish. Seconds later, he was...
This bluefin trevally is lucky to call Hawaii’s Maro Coral Reef, part of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument , its home. Maro is the largest reef in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands and just...
A yellow moray eel, Gymnothorax prasinus , inside of a sea sponge in the waters off of Poor Knights Islands, New Zealand. Photographer Brian Skerry takes an artistic eye to his underwater photography...
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...
Boats Connect Us to the Ocean More than any other objects, boats symbolize human connection to the ocean. As you look through the center of the Ocean Hall, past the model right whale , you can see a...
Bioluminescence is one of the more captivating adaptations that have evolved in marine animals. It's the ability of organisms to create and emit light. Dive underwater and you may witness lightshows...
Researchers with the Smithsonian's Deep Reef Observation Project (DROP) collected this sea toad, Chaunax pictus , off the coast of Honduras in 2011. The team is trying to collect sea toads from...
Starksia blennies, small coral reef fish with elongated bodies, have been well-studied for more than 100 years. But things are not always what they seem when it comes to fish. Using genetic analysis...
Scientists are excited when they discover an animal where they had never seen it before. This eelpout fish, Lycodes adolfi, was seen on the Pacific side of the Arctic in 2009. Previously, scientists...
This guineafowl moray ( Gymnothorax meleagris ) is one of about 200 species of moray eels found in tropical and subtropical coral reefs . Moray eels are a type of bony fish. Many species, like this...
Ocean creatures may not sing carols and go ice skating, but some celebrate the winter holidays all year round! So turn on the “Jingle Shell Rock” and celebrate with these intriguing ocean animals.
In the X-ray image of this Viper Moray Eel ( Enchelynassa canina ), note the second set of jaws in the “throat”; these are the gill arches, which are present in all fish. Gill arches support the...
Tropical hatchetfish ( Argyropelecus lychnus ), like the one shown in this X-ray photograph, live in the dark depths of the ocean ; this specimen was collected at about 2,789 feet (850 meters) in the...
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