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

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Chrysaora melanaster , one of the largest jellyfish commonly found in the Arctic, swims underneath the Arctic ice . Its tentacles can stretch to more than 3 meters long and pack a mean sting for humans.
A sea monster attacks a ship in an illustration for 20,000 Leagues Under the...
Many sperm whales stranded on beaches or caught by whalers exhibit telltale...

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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...
The blue-lined octopus may be small, growing to at most 15 cm, but it can be deadly: its venom can cause breathing failure in humans as well as other animals. Turtles can accidentally consume the...
This orange boring sponge ( Cliona varians ) overgrows several coral species at Panama's Smithsonian Tropical Studies Institute. Boring sponges mechanically and chemically breakdown mollusk shells...
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...
An octopus shoots ink in defense as it swims away from a scuba diver.
The Japanese spider crab is a large catch for any fisherman. With a leg span of 13 feet (4 meters) and an average weight of around 40 pounds (16-20 kg), it claims the title of largest crab. It may...
Ocean creatures may not sing carols and go ice skating, but some celebrate the winter holidays all year round! So turn on the “Jingle Shell Rock” and celebrate with these intriguing ocean animals.
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...
This bright purple sea star is a new species found by the Census of Coral Reef Ecosystems , a project of the Census of Marine Life. This particular specimen was seen on the reefs of the French...
In the aftermath of the Gulf oil spill, what is the effect of oil on invertebrates like jellyfish, clams, crabs, sea stars, and plankton? The scope of the damage is more easily observed among birds...
Simon Coppard, a post-doctoral research fellow at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama and an Encyclopedia of Life Rubenstein Fellow specializing in echinoids often uncovers new...
This image from a scanning electron micrograph magnifies the tiny teeth that cover the surface of the giant squid’s tongue-like organ, or radula . Seven rows of sharp teeth help direct tiny pieces of...
Sea stars are important members of marine ecosystems, especially in the tropics. We may think of tropical coral reefs as being home mainly to fish and corals, but in fact these habitats are home to 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...
Bivalves brought up in a box corer from the deep Arctic seafloor.
This male giant squid is on display in the Sant Ocean Hall at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History . It measures about 2.7 meters (9 feet) long and weighs a little more than 45.5...
Light refracts off the comb-rows of the Mertensia ovum , a ctenophore , producing stripes of rainbow colors . The jelly eats copepods and small crustaceans that become stuck to its sticky tentacles...
The sargassum is coated with encrusting organisms, such as bryozoans and hydroids, that use it as a perch to filter feed in the oceanic waters, as well as crustaceans such as thos swimming crab...
These two nautiluses ( Nautilus belauensis ) are pictured off the coast of Palau in the Pacific Ocean. There are six living species of nautilus who live in chambered shells. As they get bigger, they...
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