Invertebrates

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Watch as barnacles feed on bioluminescent dinoflagellates. Barnacles are crustaceans (like crabs, shrimps and lobsters) that secrete their shells for protection while living attached to things like rocks, harbors or boat hulls. They feed...
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Depending on whom you talk to, jellyfish are either fascinating, a nuisance, a...
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The ocean is home to a phenomenal diversity of marine organisms. They have...
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This summer, many of you have likely enjoyed feasting on crabs, be they blue,...

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A sea monster attacks a ship in an illustration for 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne. The illustration is by publisher and artist Pierre-Jules Hetzel, who is most famous for his drawings in Verne's books. This...
Many sperm whales stranded on beaches or caught by whalers exhibit telltale...
Two bright orange anemonefish ( Amphiprion ocellaris ) poke their heads...

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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...
This venomous box jelly ( Chiropsalmus quadrumanus ) was collected off the coast of South Carolina. The specimen now resides in the Smithsonian’s marine collection . It's venomous sting can be lethal...
A small horseshoe crab ( Limulus polyphemus ) rests on seaweed in Stage Harbor, Massachusetts. Atlantic horseshoe crabs can be found along the coast of North America from the Yucatán Peninsula to...
An isopod stands on top of a glass sponge, extending its legs to find zooplankton. This delicate sponge is small, but some glass sponges can grow to the size of a 50-gallon drum and live for...
You may have seen the sparkle of fireflies on a summer’s night. The fireflies produce light through a chemical reaction in their glowing abdomens, a process known as bioluminescence. But did you know...
"Harlequin shrimp normally live in pairs and their main diet is starfish... It takes a good eye and patience to find this beautiful shrimp, which looks like candy.” -- Nature's Best photographer,...
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...
In 1874, Reverend Moses Harvey of Newfoundland bought a dead giant squid caught by fishermen. More about the giant squid can be found in our Giant Squid featured story .
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...
Squids, octopuses and cuttlefish, such as this Australian Giant Cuttlefish ( Sepia apama ), compose just one group of animals that call seagrass beds home. Clams and worms bury themselves in the mud...
Riftia tubeworm ( Riftia pachyptila ) colonies grow where hot, mineral-laden water flows out of the seafloor in undersea hot springs—such as the Guymas Basin of the Gulf of California at 2,000 meters...
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...
The sea hare gets its common name from its equivalent of nose and tongue—external sensory organs for smell and taste called rhinophores—which look like bunny ears. The sea hare, however, doesn't hop...
This crab ( Neolithodes sp. ) was collected on a NOAA/MAR-ECO cruise to the Mid-Atlantic Ridge in the summer of 2009. Its red color provides camouflage and protection from predators. Red wavelengths...
Squids come in a wide range of sizes but despite differences in size and shape, all work basically the same way inside. More about the giant squid can be found in the Giant Squid section .
Much of the carbon dioxide we emit into the atmosphere ends up in the ocean. As CO 2 levels rise, seawater becomes more acidic. This change in chemistry poses a serious threat to marine organisms...
"Inside the Open Ocean: Blue Water Diving" produced by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) , describes a specialized diving technique that lets biologists study the ocean's most fragile...
This deep-sea urchin ( Echinocrepis rostrata ) is an important “bulldozer.” It turns over sediment and exposes prey as it moves across the ocean floor, leaving a trail of tracks behind. This photo...
On the deep seafloor of the Gulf of Mexico, ecosystems made up of fish, corals, sea stars, anemones and other invertebrates flourish. Since the sun’s rays don’t reach the deep sea, coral communities...
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