Invertebrates

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From the giant squid to microscopic squid babies, squids are beautiful and fascinating. As cephalopods, the same family as octopuses and cuttlefish, they have no bones, and swim head-first through the water with their...
Since summer 2013, starfish along both coasts of the United States have been...
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Tiny plant-like organisms called zooxanthellae live in the tissues of many...
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I have been at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History since 1966...

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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 swift Antarctic Circumpolar...
This copepod Calanus hyperboreus (up to 7mm in length) lives in the Arctic...
Deep-sea corals miles away from the source of the Deepwater Horizon oil...

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Sample the surprising diversity of deep-sea corals. See some of the ways they differ in color, shape, and size. Explore more...
Dr. Clyde Roper discusses the fascinating anatomy of the giant squid ( Architeuthis dux) in this excerpt of "Eyeball to Eyeball," an episode of Errol Morris' First Person television series. Watch...
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...
Giant clams are one of the many wonders of coral reefs. They can grow up to five feet wide, weigh over 400 pounds, and live for 100 years! They power all that bulk by filter feeding microbes and...
New, white growth emerges from a living deep-sea coral sample that was stained pink, enabling ocean scientists to measure its coral growth rate. Find out more about how ocean scientists study deep-...
Recently, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History researcher Chris Mah and collaborators with the British Antarctic Survey and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute used molecular tools...
Tiny plant-like organisms called zooxanthellae live in the tissues of many animals, including some corals , anemones, and jellyfish , sponges, flatworms, mollusks and foraminifera . These microscopic...
If there had been room to stand up, there would have been a standing ovation. As it was, the five of us on the submersible Curasub clapped and cheered when the first three deep-reef ARMS (Autonomous...
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...
This newly-discovered carnivorous sponge ( Chondrocladia lyra ) was found using robotic submersibles operated by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute 10,000 feet below the surface in dark...
This specimen of the deep-sea coral Desmophyllum dianthus shows the visible bands that help marine scientists learn how ocean conditions changed over time. By looking at the thickness of each band,...
Bottom trawl treasures from the shallow Chukchi Seafloor near the Canada Basin: sea stars , brittle stars , clams, some snails and crabs. View the “Under Arctic Ice ” photo essay to learn more.
A cnidarian brought up from the Arctic seafloor more than 2000 meters (6562 feet) deep.
The Encyclopedia of Life and Atlantic Public Media bring us a new installment of the podcast, One Species at a Time . Vacuumed up from its habitat a mile down in the ocean, the red paper lantern...
Like it or not, giant squids are related to snails, clams, and even slugs. They are all mollusks and have soft, fleshy bodies. More can be found in the Giant Squid section .
Scientists have been studying why populations of crown-of-thorns sea stars ( Acanthaster planci ) have mushroomed in recent decades. Coral reefs can suffer when the sea star's numbers explode because...
Coral reefs are bustling cities of marine life, until rising ocean temperatures turn them into ghost towns. Can reefs spring back from devastating bleaching events? In this episode of the Podcast of...
This common octopus ( Octopus vulgaris ) doesn't have a jetpack to help him zoom through the water, but he's got something pretty close: a siphon that shoots water. (It's the little orange/yellow cup...
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...
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