Invertebrates

FEATURES

Audio
What reef animal comes in a rainbow of crazy colors, can throw out its stomach to immobilize predators, then creep away and regrow a brand-new stomach? It’s the sea cucumber, prized as a gastronomic...
This summer, many of you have likely enjoyed feasting on crabs, be they blue,...
About 100 million years ago , during the heyday of the dinosaurs, reefs were...
Zombie worms don’t crave brains: instead they seek bones. The 1 to 3 inch (2 to...

LATEST POSTS

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 like a rabbit: it is a sea...
“Upon returning from the reef after a night dive, I swam toward a bright...
This ctenophore (a stingless jellyfish-like animal) is native to the east...

LEARN MORE

Sample the surprising diversity of deep-sea corals. See some of the ways they differ in color, shape, and size. Explore more...

The Ocean Blog

Coral reefs are the most diverse of all marine ecosystems. They teem with life, with perhaps one quarter of all ocean species depending on reefs for food and shelter. This is a remarkable statistic...
This forest of Christmas tree worms is a group of polychaete worms that live on tropical coral reefs. See more celebratory ocean creatures in our slideshow!
Watch a Discovery video on Smithsonian squid expert Clyde Roper’s search for giant squid in Kaikoura Canyon off the coast of New Zealand. More about giant squid can be found in our Giant Squid...
http://www.flickr.com/photos/islandconservation/6951137074/in/photostream/
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,...
The feathery strands at the back of this nudibranch’s ( Chromodoris willani ) body are no mere adornment: they’re its gills! Nudibranchs, shell-less snails or sea slugs, are named for these tufted...
Seahorses range in size—from as small as a pine nut to as large as a banana. The largest seahorse species (pictured here) is Hippocampus abdominalis , or the big-bellied seahorse, which can reach...
This new species of lobster is blind—an adaptation to deep-sea life —and has very bizarre claws, or chelipeds. It was discovered about 300 meters (984 feet) deep in the Philippine Sea by a Census of...
What is this bizarre, spiky-looking organism? Hint: it can be found in tropical areas of the Pacific and Indian ocean basins crawling slowly over coral reefs and devouring any living coral polyps...
During the summer of 1998, scientists at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science made a series of disturbing discoveries in the Chesapeake Bay. In June, they collected an unusual specimen: a single...
An octopus shoots ink in defense as it swims away from a scuba diver.
Depending on whom you talk to, jellyfish are either fascinating, a nuisance, a toxic menace, or some combination of the above. Jellyfish plop into the media spotlight when their presence causes beach...
This giant isopod (a crustacean related to shrimps and crabs) was collected from the cold, deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico in 2006. Scientists believe that it is one of about nine species in the...
What reef animal comes in a rainbow of crazy colors, can throw out its stomach to immobilize predators, then creep away and regrow a brand-new stomach? It’s the sea cucumber, prized as a gastronomic...
It is a well-known fact that for animals living in the deep sea, food can be scarce. The food that is around usually rains down from above as dead animals and organic particles from plankton living...
Discover some amazing corals in this footage that shows and identifies a range of deep-sea coral species from the Juan de Fuca Canyon
This transparent cockatoo squid ( Leachia sp.), also known as a glass squid, lives in the depths of the ocean and has many adaptations to help it survive there. It retains ammonia solutions inside...
Researchers in Moorea use a variety of tools to collect organisms. Some are simple, everyday items like buckets and brushes, and some are…a little stranger. Here, two researchers use a “yabbie pump”...
Subscribe to Invertebrates