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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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Talk about an investment! This octopus mom protected her brood of about 160 eggs for 4.5 years for the longest ever recorded brooding time of any animal. She was first observed by scientists from the Monterey Bay Aquarium...
This deep-sea black coral from Hawaii ( Leiopathes sp. ) is more than 4,200...
Giant clams are one of the many wonders of coral reefs. They can grow up to...

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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...
Tectitethya crypta (formerly known as Cryptotheca crypta ) is a large, shallow-water sponge found in the Caribbean. It was first studied for medical purposes in the 1950s when few scientists or...
It’s an honor to have something or someone named after you. Dr. David Pawson , Senior Research Scientist and Curator of Echinoderms at NMNH, has several genera and species, living and fossil, named...
All squid species have long been thought to lay their egg clusters on the sea floor and move on. Then in 2005, scientists from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) observed a deep-sea...
Like its terrestrial namesake, the Venus fly-trap anemone ( Actinoscyphia sp.) sits quietly and waits for food to drift into its outstretched tentacles, which are lined with stinging harpoons called...
This female hyperiid ( Phronima sedentaria ) is surrounded by her young, residing in the hollowed out barrel-shaped body cavity of a salp. It is thought that the mother Phronima captures and kills...
Humans have long been captivated by what we now call the giant squid ( Architeuthis ). This image gallery gives a glimpe into our fascination with the animal. For a long time, people saw mysterious...
The “Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef,” a unique exhibition and thought-provoking fusion of science, conservation, mathematics, and art, is on display in Washington, D.C., at the Smithsonian’s National...
Even on an early winter morning, it was sunny and warm in southern Florida. This was great because, regardless of the weather, Dr. Jon Norenburg and I were going to walk chest-deep into the water to...
Sea cucumbers might have a cucumber shape, but are definitely animal, not vegetable… or fruit. They belong to the Phylum Echinodermata , which also includes sea urchins, sand dollars, sea stars and...
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...
The long silver tool shown here is a piece of traditional Australian fishing gear called a “yabbie pump.” Researchers use the device to collect burrowing shrimp and other fast-moving animals from the...
Much like the Macro 1st place photograph, this animal also resides inside anemones. The porcelain crab ( Neopetrolisthes maculatus ) is a very small crab, with a colorful shell. It lives in anemones...
The Pharaoh Cuttlefish ( Sepia pharaonis ) lives in warm waters (30°C) in the western Indian Ocean. Cuttlefish are the most commonly caught cuttlefish species in the Persian Gulf, either for aquarium...
In this video Smithsonian research zoologist Dr. Martha Nizinski takes viewers with her as she searches for crustaceans in the deep sea . She's particularly interested in finding squat lobsters ,...
Mangrove roots provide support for filter-feeders like sponges, mussels, oysters, and barnacles. These play an important role in keeping the water clear. More about mangroves can be found in our...
This red octopod ( Stauroteuthis syrtensis ) shines in a novel way. Suckers stretching in a single row down each arm flash on and off. The glowing-sucker octopod drifts through deep waters off the...
This halimeda crab’s disguise did not fool researchers in Moorea where it was collected. These crabs cover themselves with the green algae of halimeda for camouflage.
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 .
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