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Depending on whom you talk to, jellyfish are either fascinating, a nuisance, a toxic menace, or some combination of the above. Jellyfish plop into the media spotlight when their presence causes beach closures, or...
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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,...
Zombie worms don’t crave brains: instead they seek bones. The 1 to 3 inch (2 to...

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Zombie worms ( Osedax roseus ) eat away at the bones of a dead whale that has fallen to the seafloor in Sagami Bay, Japan. These bizarre worms rely on whale bones for energy and are what scientists call “sexually dimorphic”—the...
What are corals? Corals themselves are animals. But tropical reef-building...
In recent years, blooms of jellyfish, such as these moon jellies ( Aurita...

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Coral reefs are the most diverse of all marine ecosystems. They teem with life, with perhaps one quarter of all ocean...
Sea jellies such as this one in the genus Benthocodon are commonly seen on or near the seafloor in the Monterey Canyon off central California. Some jellies in this genus feed on animals that live in...
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...
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...
Ocean scientists discovered this 1.5-m (5-ft) tall yellow bamboo coral in 2007 off the coast of Hawaii in 1,459 m (4,787 ft) of water. It is thought to represent a new genus. Learn about more deep-...
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Alaska’s pristine coastline is ripe for an influx of invasive marine species such as the European green crab and the rough periwinkle (an Atlantic sea snail), warns a new study by a team of...
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...
Dryodora glandiformis is a ctenophore found in Arctic and Northern European waters, bearing a pair of long and lovely tentacles.
This forest of Christmas tree worms is a group of polychaete worms that live on tropical coral reefs. See more celebratory ocean creatures in our slideshow!
These baby olive ridleys ( Lepidochelys olivacea ) will eventually provide a home to crustaceans, mollusks, and other epibionts. That's according to a survey of epibionts living on mature, nesting...
The sea hare gets its common name from its equivalent of nose and tongue—external sensory organs for smell and taste called rhinophores—which look like bunny ears. The sea hare, however, doesn't hop...
This sea potato ( Echinocardium cordatum ) looks similar to its root vegetable namesake, but it's a sea urchin! The spines on this urchin are more hair-like than the spikes seen on some more commonly...
Shellfish from the Chesapeake Bay are prized by seafood lovers. But the Bay's ecosystem and fisheries are threatened by human disturbances, including the introduction of non-native species. Non-...
Squids come in a wide range of sizes, from smaller-than-your-thumb to the enormous giant squid. Giant squid grow up to 16 meters (50 feet). Learn more the life, range, and ecology of the giant squid...
Bioluminescence is one of the more captivating adaptations that have evolved in marine animals. It's the ability of organisms to create and emit light. Dive underwater and you may witness lightshows...
You may not think of the ocean as a pharmacy but scientists are developing exciting new medicines from the sponges, corals, and other marine organisms found in the sea. Explore other videos that...
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...
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...
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