Today's Catch

Aug 31, 2015
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Flickr User Critidoc

This bait ball shows how small fish can react when larger predators are near by gathering tightly together in a ball-like formation that exposes the least number of fish. Fish species found in the open ocean are especially in need of some protection, as they don't have the cracks and crevices that fish in coastal or coral reef habitats have to hide away. Instead, they hide behind one another to...Read more
Aug 28, 2015
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© David Liittschwager/National Geographic

Photographer David Liittschwager took a 12-inch metal frame to Moorea, French Polynesia, and four other disparate environments to see how much life he could find in one cubic foot. Read more about the project and ocean biodiversity .Read more
Aug 27, 2015
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Charles Viggers/Nature’s Best Photography

“Upon returning from the reef after a night dive, I swam toward a bright reflection and came eye-to-eye with this beautiful, curious squid," said Charles Viggers, a Nature's Best photographer. Squids have organs in their skin called chromatophores that reflect light and can change color to help them blend into their surroundings, attract mates—or attract photographers. They may not be as...Read more
Aug 26, 2015
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Jérôme Petit, Moorea Biocode Project

Cooks Bay in Moorea is one of the places that researchers are scouring in their quest to collect one of every life form big enough to pick up with tweezers. In the background is Mt. Rotui—the Tahitian word for octopus. More about the Island of Moorea can be found in our Scientists catalog life on the Island of Moorea featured story .Read more
Aug 25, 2015
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Marco Faasse, World Register of Marine Species

This ctenophore (a stingless jellyfish-like animal) is native to the east coast of North and South America. In 1982, it was discovered in the Black Sea, where it was transported by ballast water . It subsequently spread to the Caspian Sea. In both places it multiplied and formed immense populations. The sea walnuts contributed to the collapse of local fisheries because they feed on zooplankton...Read more
Aug 24, 2015
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Warshaw Collection of Business Americana, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian

In the 19th century, "whalebone" was an important fashion tool—however, it wasn't made out of bone, but whale baleen . Dried baleen was flexible yet strong, and used to create structure in clothing, such as tight corsets, used by high-fashion women to present a curvy waistline, collars and hooped frames for skirts. Other products that used baleen included umbrella ribs, riding crops, buggy whips...Read more
Aug 21, 2015
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Sam Taylor / Guylian Seahorses of the World 2005, courtesy of Project Seahorse

It's a pygmy seahorse ( Hippocampus bargibanti ), found in Indonesia's biodiverse Coral Triangle and one of the smallest seahorse species in the world! They can change colors like a chameleon to blend into their environment. This helps to protect them from predators and ambush their prey. Read ten things you never knew about seahorses .Read more
Aug 20, 2015
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Bob Nicholls/Bristol University

Today, filter feeders like clams, sponges, krill, baleen whales, fishes, and many others fill the ocean, spending their days filtering and eating tiny particles from the water. But when did the first filter feeder evolve? The first known filter feeder is a large shrimp-like creature called Tamisiocaris borealis . This species is an anomalocarid, a group of early marine animals from the Cambrian...Read more
Aug 19, 2015
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Courtesy of Alexander Semenov, Flickr

This pair of sea butterflies ( Limacina helicina ) flutter not far from the ocean's surface in the Arctic. Sea butterflies are a type of sea snail, but instead of dragging themselves around the seafloor with a muscular foot, they flap their adapted feet like butterfly wings! They are very small—rarely exceeding 1 centimeter long—but very abundant in some areas of the Arctic Ocean, where they feed...Read more
Aug 18, 2015
Credit:

Jessica Goodheart

This nudibranch has a few tricks up its sleeve: it steals jellyfish tentacles to use as weapons again its own enemies. How does it do this? Many fleshy, tentacle-like growths, called cerata (singular: ceras), project off its back. After the nudibranch eats the tentacles of a jellyfish, anemone, coral, or other stinging animal, the stolen stinging cells pass through the digestive gland, which is...Read more

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