Invertebrates

Animals without backbones make up a huge percentage of the ocean’s biodiversity. They aren’t just small (like pteropods) or squishy (like jellyfish); the giant squid and corals that build huge reefs are also invertebrates.

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Chrysaora melanaster is a jellyfish found in the Arctic.

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Jellyfish and Comb Jellies

Jellyfish and comb jellies are gelatinous animals that drift through the ocean's water column around the world. They are...

Why I Love Polychaetes

Credit: © 2008 K.J. Osborn Polychaete worms are not your average cringe-inducing, writhing worms. (Okay, maybe some are.) They are fascinating, varied, and a critical part of our ocean. The visual variety among the...

Spirals in Time: A Walk at the Seashore

When I set out to write a book about mollusks (called Spirals in Time ), I wasn't quite prepared for just how many animals I would get to know. There are somewhere between 100,000...

How Jellyfish Break Down Oil After a Spill

Jellyfish produce mucus, especially when stressed, which can interact with oil and break it down. This moon jellyfish is sloughing off mucus that has mixed with droplets of oil. Credit: Brad Gemmell By Emily...

Seaside Lichens

Horizontal bands of color represent different species of lichen that have adapted to the conditions at different heights above sea level. Credit: Stephen Sharnoff Very few plant species can survive close to the ocean,...

A Rainbow of Colorful Lobsters

Most lobsters are a mottled brown color, but sometimes you can see a strange orange or blue lobster. And then, when lobsters are cooked, they turn bright red. Why is there such a rainbow...

Building Good Mussels

A new wave of farming has come to the ocean. It’s called aquaculture. And it’s a way to grow and harvest mussels and other healthy, tasty types of seafood. Explore other videos that capture...

What Makes Sponges Grow?

Sponges are animals that eat tiny food particles as they pump water through their bodies. They are very common on Caribbean coral reefs, and come in all shapes, sizes and colors. There is great...
Aegina, a type of jellyfish, swims through the water.

The Surprising Elegance of Midwater Sea Life

Imagine a hollow cube, measuring one foot on each side, suspended in the ocean at a depth roughly three football fields below the surface. From here, the seafloor is another 4,000 feet (or 1,200...
Duria Antiquior – A More Ancient Dorset, 1830

Unearthing History: Mary Anning's Hunt for Prehistoric Ocean Giants

Although in reality an ichthyosaur and plesiosaur would have likely never battled, this widely shared lithograph by artist, geologist and paleontologist Henry De la Beche even inspired author Jules Verne to pen a similar...

15 Creatures in the Gulf of Mexico that are Stranger Than Fiction

Credit: © 2015 DEEPEND/Danté Fenolio The Gulf of Mexico coastal region is known for its seafood —shrimp, spiny lobsters, crawfish and oysters just to name a few. Crawfish and shrimp boils, where spiced seafood...

A Jellyfish Is Born

In schyphozoans, a process called strobilation takes place in order for the jellies to reproduce. During strobilation, a polyp splits into 10-15 plate-like segments stacked atop one another in a tower called a strobila...

Facing Climate Change: Oyster Farmers

Generally, shelled animals—including mussels, clams, urchins and starfish—are going to have trouble building their shells in more acidic water. Mussels and oysters are expected to grow less shell by 25 percent and 10 percent...

How Do Jellyfish Sting?

Jellyfish are transparent and made up of 95 percent water, so you’d think there isn’t much to them. But you’d be wrong. Jellyfish are more complex than you’d think—and one of their most fascinating...
A brachiopod looks like a clam, but they aren't closely related.

A Modern Day Brachiopod

Brachiopods are an ancient group of organisms, at least 600 million years old. They might just look like clams, but they are not even closely related. Instead of being horizontally symmetrical along their hinge,...
Santa Claws is Coming to Town

Here Comes Santa Claws

Santa isn’t the only long-distance traveler in a red suit—at the beginning of their wet season, the Christmas Island red crab ( Gecarcoidea natalis ) makes an impressive annual migration across Christmas Island, an...

Video of Christmas Crab Migration

The Christmas Island red crab ( Gecarcoidea natalis ) makes an impressive annual migration across Christmas Island, an island named for the day it was discovered in 1643. Read more about the great migration .
A female and male Photerus annecohenae

You Light Up My World!

A female (top left) and male Photerus annecohenae. Note that females are larger than males (sexual dimorphism) and that males have bigger eyes. Credit: Jim G. Morin While people may give chocolates to the...

The Amazing Horseshoe Crab

There’s a lot more to a horseshoe crab than meets the eye. They are not even crabs and are actually more closely related to spiders and scorpions. They don’t have teeth or jaws, and...

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