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The ocean is home to a phenomenal diversity of marine organisms. They have evolved to inhabit warm waters near the equator and the icy waters of the Earth’s poles. Marine life takes advantage of...
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This summer, many of you have likely enjoyed feasting on crabs, be they blue,...
Zombie worms don’t crave brains: instead they seek bones. The 1 to 3 inch (2 to...
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Today’s discoveries about our planet’s biological diversity build upon the...

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This deep-sea black coral from Hawaii ( Leiopathes sp. ) is more than 4,200 years old. Black corals are named for the color of their skeletons, but the external tissues of black corals come in many bright colors. Explore more in...
Giant clams are one of the many wonders of coral reefs. They can grow up to...
Riftia tubeworm ( Riftia pachyptila ) colonies grow where hot, mineral-laden...

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Nudibranchs are a kind of sea slug, and their 3000 species are found from the poles to the tropics in both shallow and deep...
In this episode of the Podcast of Life , learn how three fiery, painful stings during an early morning swim in Hawaii changed the life of researcher Angel Yanagihara. Once the young biochemist had...
This close-up view of salps, which have aggregated together into a long chain, have brilliant red guts from eating red plankton. They were observed by researchers with the Census of Marine...
The sargassum is coated with encrusting organisms, such as bryozoans and hydroids, that use it as a perch to filter feed in the oceanic waters, as well as crustaceans such as thos swimming crab...
Census of Marine Life researchers discovered this unusual transparent sea cucumber ( Enypniastes sp.) in the Gulf of Mexico at 2,750 meters depth. It creeps forward on its tentacles pretty slowly, at...
A longshoreman stands in front of a large pile of oyster shells on waterfront pier in Atlantic City in 1910. Back then, oysters were incredibly abundant. In the late 1800s, fishermen pulled in 10...
Male fiddler crabs, like this one collected on Moorea, wave their enlarged claw as way of signaling to other crabs, especially during mating season. Learn more about the Island of Moorea in the...
Marine parasites may be small in size, but they can be present in very high numbers and put together can weigh even more than all the top predators in an estuary or bay ecosystem! They play an...
Polarized sunglasses have become the norm for humans when they want to filter out the strong glare from the sunlight bouncing off of water in a horizontal direction. But how do animals do that live...
When this tusk shell was brought up from the deep reef, it was a surprise when a hermit crab poked out! Notice the hermit crab's large claw that it can use to tightly cover the shell opening when it...
"Two arrow crabs in a cup coral, lit from behind. It seemed to be a scene from a 1960s monster movie," wrote Carl Salonen of his image , a winning selection in the Portraits of Planet Ocean Flickr...
Beautiful worms? These stunning images from Alexander Semenov prove that this isn't an oxymoron. Polychaete worms are found throughout the oceans and (as the images below prove) they are a diverse...
Portrait of a scallop with black and white striped lips, whose shell is encrusted with a red sponge.
This rare staurozoan , or stalked jellyfish ( Haliclystus californiensis ) is about 2 centimeters in length and was collected off the coast of California. Unlike the traditional bell-shaped floating...
It's a pygmy seahorse ( Hippocampus bargibanti ), found in Indonesia's biodiverse Coral Triangle and one of the smallest seahorse species in the world! They can change colors like a chameleon to...
This copepod Calanus hyperboreus (up to 7mm in length) lives in the Arctic , usually within 500 meters of the surface. To survive the cold Arctic winters, Calanus hyperboreus builds up dense fat (...
The dumbo octopus ( Grimpoteuthis ) is a deep sea animal that lives on the ocean floor at extreme depths of 9,800 to 13,000 feet. They are small animals, around 8 inches tall, and have a pair of fins...
A huge colony of brittlestars (likely Ophiacantha rosea ) covers the peak of a seamount in the deep ocean. What’s the attraction? Food! Their arms reach out for tiny food particles carried by the...
Ghost crabs are often seen scuttling quickly along beaches at night, when they emerge from their burrows to feed, and can be difficult to photograph in the wild. They are common in Moorea, an island...
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