Today's Catch

Oct 16, 2014
When a whale dies, the story has just begun. The massive carcass sinks to the seafloor, where it provides food for a deep sea ecosystem on the otherwise mostly barren seafloor. There are several stages to the whale fall ecosystem as different parts of the whale are used up. In the first phase, mobile scavengers such as ratfish, hagfish and sharks smell whale on the water and swim from afar,...Read more
Oct 16, 2014
Credit:

Linda Snook/NOAA/CBNMS

The Pacific hagfish ( Eptatretus stoutii ), a fish that looks similar to an eel, has no jaw and is totally blind. They find food, often dead fish, through a specialized sense of smell and, because they can absorb nutrients through their skin, can eat by just burrowing into a dead carcass. However, they also eat live prey. Learn more about their habitat, ecology, and slime-producing habits !Read more
Oct 16, 2014
Credit:

Gustavo Almada (Flickr

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 and flying out to sea to catch food. In recent years, the parents have had to fly farther to catch food that has moved offshore as ocean waters warm...Read more
Oct 16, 2014
Credit:

NOAA

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 and solidifies to form pillow basalts, a type of rock commonly found at volcano sites and in the Earth's crust. The volcano's top is nearly a mile below...Read more
Oct 16, 2014
Credit:

D. Ross Robertson and Carole C. Baldwin

By diving in the Curasub, Smithsonian researchers with the Deep Reef Observation Project (DROP) have discovered a new species of tiny fish in the biodiversity-rich waters of the southern Caribbean. The fish, a blenny named Haptoclinus dropi , is only around 2 cm in length with a beautiful color pattern that includes iridescence on the fins. Against a white background, it's hard to see the...Read more
Oct 16, 2014
Credit:

Photo courtesy of Jim Denny

The Hawaiian petrel ( Pterodroma sandwichensis ) lives over the Pacific ocean unless it is breeding season (March to October) when they can be found nesting on Hawaiian islands. They feed on animals like fish, squid and crustaceans that they swoop down to grab from the water, but their meals may have changed over the past 4,000 years.Read more
Oct 16, 2014
Credit:

Alan Studley/Nature’s Best Photography

“This shark was cruising low along the reef known as Alcyone. Her left eye was glancing up toward other hammerheads when I took this shot from below.” -- Nature's Best photographer, Alan Studley. See more beautiful ocean photos in our slideshow of winners from the 2010 Nature's Best Ocean Views photo contest.Read more
Oct 16, 2014
There are many plastic nets floating in the world's ocean. Some of them were lost at sea by fishers; others were discarded overboard when they ripped or became tangled. Regardless, once they are adrift, they catch and kill many sea creatures that get in their way. But it doesn't have to be this way. The plastic that makes up the discarded nets could be reused and recycled—if only there were a way...Read more
Oct 16, 2014
Credit:

Department of Invertebrate Zoology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution

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-thorns starfish . Bayer made these drawings in 1947, one year after the US military tested nuclear bombs on the coral reefs of Bikini Atoll in the...Read more
Oct 16, 2014
Credit:

Smithsonian Institution

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. While the Orca, or Killer whale size of up to 31 feet make it the largest dolphin. The Sperm whale on the other hand may not be the biggest whale, but it has the biggest brain...Read more

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