Today's Catch

Jul 26, 2016
Credit:

I. MacDonald (in Gulf of Mexico–Origin, Waters, and Biota. Vol. 1. Biodiversity. Felder, D. L. and Camp, D. K. (eds.) 2009. Texas A&M Press.

Like its terrestrial namesake, the Venus fly-trap anemone ( Actinoscyphia sp.) sits quietly and waits for food to drift into its outstretched tentacles, which are lined with stinging harpoons called nematocysts. Of course, this is how most anemones behave; this one just happens to look a like like the Venus fly-trap plant! They are deep-sea animals; this one was photographed at roughly 4,900 feet...Read more
Jul 25, 2016
Remember playing Tetris? Originally developed in 1984, the video game in which blocks of various shapes rain down and the player needs to find a way to fit them together is now ubiquitous. This TED ED video compares Tetris blocks to carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere and reabsorbed by plants and ecosystems as a part of the carbon cycle. But what happens when you can't keep up with...Read more
Jul 22, 2016
Credit:

Flickr User Mouser NerdBot

These star-shaped grains of sand, collected from southern Japan, look like miniature works of art -- but they were not sculpted by an artist. They are the shells of microscopic organisms called foraminifera , which build intricate shells from the calcium carbonate they collect while drifting through the water. Their shells have settled on the seafloor for 500 million years, and are used by...Read more
Jul 21, 2016
Credit:

Flickr user Jenny Huang (JennyHuang)/EOL

Two bright orange anemonefish ( Amphiprion ocellaris ) poke their heads between anemone tentacles. Anemonefish are able to swim amongst the stinging tentacles without getting stung — but no one knows exactly sure how. One dominant theory explains that they have a protective slime coating their bodies. However, anemonefish are not born with this protective slime and scientists don't know how they...Read more
Jul 20, 2016
A beluga whale Credit:

Brian Skerry

Beluga whales are naturally vocal animals. They are often called “ canaries of the sea ” thanks to their wide repertoire of sounds such as whistles, squeals, moos, chirps, and clicks. Some researchers believe they even found a beluga that tried to imitate human voices ! Their smiling appearance and communicative nature make belugas very charismatic animals. Though young belugas are gray or brown...Read more
Jul 19, 2016
A pearly razorfish Credit:

Kevin Bryant, Flickr

The pearly razorfish’s name may be slightly misleading since it is neither as rare as a pearl nor as dangerous as a razor. It is a common fish that tends to live in clear shallow areas near seagrass beds and coral reefs, where it collects coral debris to build its nests. However, even having a home may not be enough to put this skittish fish at ease. When startled, the pearly razorfish will...Read more
Jul 18, 2016
White abalone Credit:

Cabrillo Marine Aquarium

White abalones are slow-moving, algae-eating mollusks. Rapid overharvesting since the 1970s has resulted in white abalones becoming the first marine invertebrate listed as endangered on the Endangered Species Act in 2001 . The population is struggling to recover because they need a mate nearby in order to breed—a difficult task with a small and scattered population. A 2010 assessment stated that...Read more
Jul 15, 2016
Cabo Pulmo is the northernmost coral reef in the eastern Pacific, and, at around 20,000 years old, it may be the oldest and most important reef in the American Pacific. The preservation of Cabo Pulmo is a local, national, and international success story. After decades of intense fishing had depleted Cabo Pulmo’s marine life, the local communities secured protected status for the reef from the...Read more
Jul 14, 2016
Credit:

© 2004 Smithsonian Institution

An American crocodile ( Crocodylus acutus ) resting on a bed of seagrass . These medium-sized crocodiles are most commonly found in mangrove -lined estuaries and saltwater lagoons between the southern coast of the United States and the northern coasts of South America and Mexico. They are considered "Vulnerable" by the IUCN Red List , having undergone a population decline of 30% over the last...Read more
Jul 13, 2016
Credit:

Critidoc, Flickr

A master of disguise, the pygmy seahorse ( Hippocampus bargibanti ) grows to only 2cm in length and matches the gorgonian coral that it lives on. The pygmy seahorse is so successful at hiding that it was not found until its home was being studied in a lab. So little is known about this mysterious creature that the major threats to it are unknown. However a possible threat is removing the pygmy...Read more

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