Invertebrates

FEATURES

Video
In a decade long project, which ended in October 2010, scientists with the Census of Marine Life traveled the world cataloging the ocean’s life forms. From Australia to China to the Gulf of Mexico...
Slideshow MORE STORIES Slideshow MORE AUDIO / VIDEO
From the giant squid to microscopic squid babies, squids are beautiful and...
Since summer 2013, starfish along both coasts of the United States have been...
Slideshow MORE STORIES Slideshow MORE AUDIO / VIDEO
Tiny plant-like organisms called zooxanthellae live in the tissues of many...

LATEST POSTS

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 , which despite their name, are...
Discovering new species is an exciting quest, right? Well, some parts are—...
How does a coral spend its day? Most of us would say: not doing much. To the...

LEARN MORE

Sample the surprising diversity of deep-sea corals. See some of the ways they differ in color, shape, and size. Explore more...

The Ocean Blog

It is a well-known fact that for animals living in the deep sea, food can be scarce. The food that is around usually rains down from above as dead animals and organic particles from plankton living...
A deep-sea octopus wraps itself around a submersible’s robotic arm 2,300 meters (7,546 feet) down in the Gulf of Mexico. "Most octopuses will let you get close, maybe even touch them, but normally...
In 2012, the long-elusive giant squid was finally filmed live in its natural habitat. The squid was found by placing glowing lures outside of a submersible to mimic jellyfish, which typically...
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 the...
Staghorn (seen here) and elkhorn corals are listed as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act. They are the only coral species currently listed, but 66 other coral species have been proposed for...
From the giant squid to microscopic squid babies, squids are beautiful and fascinating. As cephalopods, the same family as octopuses and cuttlefish, they have no bones, and swim head-first through...
Flower-like clusters of polyps make up this coral colony. Their pink color comes from the zooxanthellae living inside. More about coral reef ecosystems can be found in our Coral Reefs featured story .
Alien-looking creatures like this deep-red jellyfish ( Crossota norvegica ) swim in the Arctic Sea. Learn more about Arctic sea life in our Under the Arctic Ice story, or at the home page for the...
This brilliant red octopus ( Benthoctopus sp. ) was photographed at more than 8,800 feet (about 2,700 meters) in Alaminos Canyon in the Gulf of Mexico. See more photos of wild creatures encountered...
Dead man’s fingers ( Alcyonium digitatum ) are soft corals named for their appendage-like appearance when thrown ashore by storms. The finger-like clumps of coral polyps come in various shades of...
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...
Sample the surprising diversity of deep-sea corals. See some of the ways they differ in color, shape, and size. Explore more in the multimedia feature " Coral Gardens of the Deep Sea ."
A beroid ctenophore lunges toward prey with its mouth wide open. Beroid comb jellies don't have tentacles to catch prey: instead, they can open their mouths and snap them shut tight to trap prey...
Two California market squids ( Loligo opalescens ) mate in the waters off of California's Channel Islands. While spawning, the male's arms blush red as he embraces the female, a warning to other...
When they get larger, Portunus sayi are formidable predators, quick to consume any smaller animal that comes within reach. Fish, other crustaceans, and even smaller members of their own species are...
This photo shows just a small part of the cephalopod collection at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. Shown here is Dr. Clyde Roper , a zoologist and squid expert. More about the...
During the summer of 1998, scientists at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science made a series of disturbing discoveries in the Chesapeake Bay. In June, they collected an unusual specimen: a single...
Another common species of sargassum shrimp, Leander tenuicornis (Palaemonidae), can be spotted by its long transparent claws or "chelae". Very similar shrimp are found in near shore habitats all...
Subscribe to Invertebrates