Today's Catch

What is coral? The answer is coral is an animal. This cutaway diagram of a coral polyp shows the location of its photosynthetic algae, or zooxanthellae, which coral needs to survive.

What Is Coral? A Coral Polyp and Zooxanthellae

What are corals? Corals themselves are animals. But tropical reef-building corals have tiny plant-like organisms living in their tissue. The corals couldn’t survive without these microscopic algae–called zooxanthellae (zo-zan-THELL-ee). This cutaway...
A juvenile Kemp's ridley sea turtle emerges from the nest

Kemp's Ridley Hatchling

Kemp's ridley sea turtles ( Lepidochelys kempii ) often emerge from their nests during the day, which is a rare (and dangerous) thing for sea turtle hatchlings! They are the most critically endangered sea turtle species in the world, and have...
Magellanic penguins on the beach in Punta Tombo, Argentina

Punta Tombo Penguins

Every breeding season, some 400,000 Magellanic penguins ( Spheniscus magellanicus ) come to Punta Tombo, Argentina to nest on the shore. They typically lay two eggs in a burrow or under a bush, and the parents take turns watching the egg or chick...
A bloom of moon jellies.

A Bloom of Moon Jellies

In recent years, blooms of jellyfish, such as these moon jellies ( Aurita aurita ) in the Chesapeake Bay, have become more common around the world for a number of different reasons . One result of these blooms is that there is less food for fish and...

Map of Shark Protections Through Time

Sharks face many threats from people, including extreme overfishing driven by high prices for their fins, and being caught by mistake in nets and on longlines. While there is still much work to be done to conserve sharks, take a moment to recognize...
Two Southern Resident killer whales.

Southern Resident Killer Whales

Orcas (also counterintuitively referred to as both “killer whales” and “sea pandas” because of their ruthless hunting and similar coloring to the cuddly bamboo-eaters) serve as a symbol for the conservation of all species. The Southern Resident...
Superheated magma slowly leaks from a crack in the seafloor.

Superheated Magma Underwater

Superheated magma, about 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit, glows orange as it slowly leaks from cracks along the six-mile long active rift zone of the West Mata Volcano in the Pacific Ocean near Fiji. The slow-leaking magma doesn't erupt, but bubbles out...
Beautiful crab water colors

Trapezia Crabs Watercolors

These watercolor sketches of Trapezia crabs were drawn by Frederick Bayer, a former Smithsonian coral biologist, in 1947. Trapezia crabs live on and within corals, feeding on their tissue and mucus, and protect them from predators such as crown-of-...

Video of Cirrate Octopod aka Dumbo Octopus

This octopod is sometimes called a “Dumbo” octopod because its fins resemble the ears of Disney’s Dumbo the elephant. The video was recorded in 2003 on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge by the Russian manned submersible MIR 2. More about deep ocean exploration...
A whale size comparison chart

What is the Largest Whale? A Cetacea Size Comparison Chart.

How do right whales size up? North Atlantic right whales ( Eubalaena glacialis ) are big, but they're not the biggest whales. That distinction goes to the blue whale ( Balaenoptera musculus ), the largest animal on Earth. The orca's size of up to 31...

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