Today's Catch

Nov 26, 2014
Credit:

Chuck Savall

The spotfin lionfish ( Pterois antennata ), with venomous spines extended, is native to Indo-Pacific reefs. Certain lionfish species have invaded reefs in Florida, the Caribbean and are moving up the Atlantic coast. The native Pacific fish probably escaped from an aquarium. Lionfish are aggressive predators and threaten local species. They are also referred to as turkeyfish because depending on...Read more
Nov 25, 2014
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
Nov 24, 2014
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
Nov 21, 2014
Credit:

Laurence Madin, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution/CMarZ, Census of Marine Life

Census of Marine Life researchers discovered this unusual transparent sea cucumber ( Enypniastes sp.) in the Gulf of Mexico at 2,750 meters depth. It creeps forward on its tentacles pretty slowly, at around 2 centimeters per minute, while sweeping detritus-rich sediment into its mouth. It's so transparent that you can even see its digestive tract winding through its body! See more cool...Read more
Nov 20, 2014
Credit:

Wolcott Henry

Compare the healthy coral on the left with the bleached coral on the right. Increased water temperatures caused the bleached coral to lose the microscopic algae that give the coral color and provide it with food. Corals can recover from bleaching if there is time and space for healthy tissues to regrow, but too often other factors such as pollution or fast-growing seaweeds smother their chances...Read more
Nov 19, 2014
Credit:

NOAA

Bottlenose dolphins ( Tursiops truncatus ) are very social animals, and often travel and hunt in groups called pods. The most common is a nursery group of 5-20 dolphins made up of females and their calves—although occasionally they will gather in groups (with males) of 1,000 or more. They often hunt together, and learn different tricks for catching food from one another (such as using sponges to...Read more
Nov 18, 2014
Credit:

©Clyde F.E. Roper

Smaller than the head of a pin, this arrow squid (Doryteuthis plei ) embryo looks like a miniature adult and is almost ready to hatch! Depending on the squid species, the development from a fertilized egg to a nearly-hatched larva can take one or several weeks. The embryo sits in an egg-sac, which keeps it separate from other developing embryos nearby and provides it food through absorption. Once...Read more
Nov 17, 2014
Credit:

Henrique Nascimento, Flickr

Necora puber , also known as the velvet swimming crab, may not be as soft as the name implies. The crab's red eyes and aggressive nature have resulted in a second nickname, devil's crab . As if it weren’t intimidating enough already, Necora puber is also the largest swimming crab found off of Britain’s coast. However not everyone is scared. Scotland has increased the capture of the red-eyed crab...Read more
Nov 14, 2014
Anemones are known for serving as homes for Nemo and countless other small fish and invertebrates. But these Cnidarians (in the same phylum as jellyfish and same class as corals ) have a long journey before they end up permanently stuck to a rock for their adult lives. An anemone starts out as a fertilized egg, which develops into a free-swimming larva (the planula). After growing bigger, it...Read more
Nov 13, 2014
Credit:

NSF and NOAA

A volcanic eruption of superheated magma (some 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit) from the West Mata Volcano produces a bright flash of hot magma that is blown up into the water before settling back to the seafloor. The explosion throws ash and rock into the water, and molten lava glows below. This volcano is in the Pacific Ocean near Fiji. Its top is nearly a mile below the ocean surface (1165 meters /...Read more

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