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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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This deep-sea black coral from Hawaii ( Leiopathes sp. ) is more than 4,200 years old. Black corals are named for the color of their skeletons, but the external tissues of black corals come in many bright colors. Explore more in...
Giant clams are one of the many wonders of coral reefs. They can grow up to...
Riftia tubeworm ( Riftia pachyptila ) colonies grow where hot, mineral-laden...

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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 bearded fireworm ( Hermodice carunculata ) must have a strong stomach -- it’s sucking on fire coral ( Millepora sp. ), which would give the unlucky snorkeler a nasty sting. Encountered in St...
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...
Using an ROV (Remotely-Operated Vehicle) equipped with a high-definition video camera, scientists can observe the life that flourishes beneath the Arctic ice . On this expedition, they discovered...
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...
Discover some amazing corals in this footage that shows and identifies a range of deep-sea coral species from the Juan de Fuca Canyon off the Olympic coast and the Davidson Seamount, an underwater...
This tiny, shrimplike creature is no more than 2.5 centimeters (1 inch) long, but it’s as ferocious as a shark. Its giant eyes spot prey. Huge claws grab the prey, and a tiny mouth rips it to shreds...
The largest of the cuttlefish species, Australian Giant Cuttlefish ( Sepia apama ) delight scientists each year as they gather in masses to spawn in northern Spencer Gulf, northwest of Adelaide in...
Today’s discoveries about our planet’s biological diversity build upon the research of previous generations of scientists. The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) is a digital library committed to...
The dumbo octopus ( Grimpoteuthis ) is a deep sea animal that lives on the ocean floor at extreme depths of 9,800 to 13,000 feet. They are small animals, around 8 inches tall, and have a pair of fins...
A giant squid left this tentacle behind after getting entangled on a hook below a Japanese research vessel, and eventually escaping. An underwater camera took footage of the event—the first time a...
The whitish spots on this fish are individual parasitic trematode worms. Trematodes have complicated life cycles that usually involve multiple hosts -- often starting in a snail and then moving on to...
Swimming by a black sea nettle may be a bit of a shock. These large jellyfish can grow to be over three feet in diameter, and their tentacles can be over 25 feet long. Despite their large size, much...
A fringe of short tentacles surrounds the flattened bell of this tiny, transparent jellyfish ( Halicreas minimum ), which can be found at depths up to 984 feet (300 meters). But it would be hard to...
A morning sun star ( Solaster dawsoni ) loses its grip on a rock surface as its body slowly decomposes from starfish wasting syndrome off the coast of Vancouver in September 2013. These photos are...
When this tusk shell was brought up from the deep reef, it was a surprise when a hermit crab poked out! Notice the hermit crab's large claw that it can use to tightly cover the shell opening when it...
A specimen from the Smithsonian’s squid collection and videos of a mystery squid helped scientists identify a new family of deep sea squid—the Magnapinnidae, known as the bigfin squids. More about...
Dr. Clyde Roper, squid expert, explains how he developed a passionate interest in the giant squid ( Architeuthis dux) in this excerpt of "Eyeball to Eyeball," an episode of Errol Morris' First Person...
The Smithsonian's Department of Invertebrate Zoology has a collection of over 57,000 specimens from over 5,700 sites in the Gulf of Mexico, which are now catalogued on Google Earth . Below is a tiny...
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