Invertebrates

FEATURES

Video
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...
Blog entry MORE STORIES Blog entry MORE AUDIO / VIDEO
Depending on whom you talk to, jellyfish are either fascinating, a nuisance, a...
Blog entry MORE STORIES Blog entry MORE AUDIO / VIDEO
The ocean is home to a phenomenal diversity of marine organisms. They have...
Blog entry MORE STORIES Blog entry MORE AUDIO / VIDEO
This summer, many of you have likely enjoyed feasting on crabs, be they blue,...

LATEST CATCH

For a long time, scientists thought that some small tentacled fossils were early ancestors of jellyfish. But a new study has found that these ancient animals are actually related to an entirely different group of animals : the...
This swimming crab ( Liocarcinus holsatus ) has a parasitic barnacle rooted...
In 2006, this female giant squid attacked bait suspended beneath a Japanese...

DIVE DEEPER

Jellyfish and comb jellies are gelatinous animals that drift through the ocean's water column around the world. They are...
This is a tree topper unlike any other! Reminiscent of a freshly made snow angel, these pteropods are actually shell-less sea snails ( Clione limacina ). Unlike the typical snail, they flap their...
A thicket of white stony coral ( Lophelia pertusa ) shelters a squat lobster (Eumunida picta). This is the typical shape of this widespread species of deep-sea coral. See more pictures of coral in...
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...
Since summer 2013, starfish along both coasts of the United States have been dying in large numbers—and not gracefully. As their tissues collapse, the starfish (also called sea stars) start to look...
Methane gas, trapped deep within the Earth's crust, can slowly leak from cracks in the seafloor known as methane seeps. While we would never consider methane as food, in the deep sea where there is...
Dryodora glandiformis is a ctenophore found in Arctic and Northern European waters, bearing a pair of long and lovely tentacles.
The spiral-tufted bryozoan ( Bugula neritina ) is being studied for a potential Alzheimer's disease and cancer drug—but it's not the bryozoan that makes the chemical. The chemical, found in the...
Instead of females, male seahorses carry the developing seahorse embryos in a kangaroo-like pouch. During mating season, the female deposits her eggs into the pouch, and the male fertilizes them...
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...
"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...
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...
Many sperm whales stranded on beaches or caught by whalers exhibit telltale circular scars like these. Only one thing could have made them: the strong suckers that line the giant squid’s eight arms...
Amidst the bright blue tufts and the dark blue fringes of the beautiful Risbecia tryoni , you might not even notice the red emperor shrimp. The two animals are native to the Indo-Pacific region, and...
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...
This new species of deep-water sea cucumber ( Elpidia belyaevi ) was discovered by Census of Marine Life researchers in the frigid waters of the Arctic . Since the 1800s, researchers observed sea...
Dr. Karen Bice studies the foraminifera in ocean sediment to better understand climate change. More about scientists studying world climate change can be found in our Climate Change featured story .
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...
Staghorn (seen here) and elkhorn corals are listed as Threatened under the U.S. Endangered Specis Act, as their numbers have fallen catastrophically due to disease. Listed in 2006, they were the only...
Subscribe to Invertebrates