Today's Catch

Sep 8, 2014
Credit:

© Michael Moore/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

This close-up photo of a right whale's head shows dozens of hitchhikers—tiny crustaceans known as whale lice, or cyamid amphipods. They live on the rough patches of skin (known as callosities) on North Atlantic right whales , eating algae that settles there and only causing minor skin damage. Distinctive patterns formed by their white bodies crowding around rough patches on whales’ skin help...Read more
Sep 5, 2014
Credit:

Brian Skerry, National Geographic

A gentoo penguin ( Pygoscelis papua ) mother stands with her chick in Antarctica. When walking on land, gentoo penguins waddle with their long tails dragging behind them; but in the water, they are the fastest penguins of them all, reaching swimming speeds of 36 kilometers per hour (around 22 miles per hour). The penguins breed on islands in the Antarctica, stacking stones to build nests to keep...Read more
Sep 4, 2014
Credit:

© Brian Skerry, www.brianskerry.com

A yellow moray eel, Gymnothorax prasinus , inside of a sea sponge in the waters off of Poor Knights Islands, New Zealand. Photographer Brian Skerry takes an artistic eye to his underwater photography, such as the blurred yellow illuminating the otherwise well-hidden eel. In his book Ocean Soul , he wrote, “I believe my most important role remains as artistic interpreter of all that I see. I need...Read more
Sep 3, 2014
Credit:

Flickr user wildestanimal

These two nautiluses ( Nautilus belauensis ) are pictured off the coast of Palau in the Pacific Ocean. There are six living species of nautilus who live in chambered shells. As they get bigger, they move into a newly formed, larger section of the shell. The shell is not only used for protection, but as a way to control their movement and buoyancy. Its spiral shape is is a natural example of...Read more
Sep 2, 2014
Dr. Francisco Chavez of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute estimates that a million tons of CO 2 enter the ocean hourly. His studies in Peru explore the phenomenon of ocean acidification, which occurs when waters have high concentrations of CO 2 . More about world climate change and acidification can be found in our ocean acidification overview article .Read more
Aug 29, 2014
Credit:

Flickr user A.Davey

Blue-footed Boobies ( Sula nebouxii ) , common in the Galapagos Islands and other warm coastal areas of the Pacific, can catch flying fish in mid-air. Their blue feet are for fashion AND function. Male and female boobies wave their feet about in elaborate courtship displays and dances . Bluer feet mean a healthier bird and a better parent. Learn more about sea birds here !Read more
Aug 28, 2014
At Carrie Bow Cay in Belize , Dr. Candy Feller explains her research on the effect of excess nutrients on mangrove swamps. Feller runs the Animal-Plant Interaction Lab at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. See a photo of a tree-climbing crab and some of the other animals that make these coastal ecosystems their home in our Mangrove section .Read more
Aug 27, 2014
Credit:

© 2004 Smithsonian Institution

The lettuce sea slug ( Elysia crispata ) has enlarged fleshy appendages that are folded over one another, with colors ranging from blue to green, with purple and red lining. The green coloring is what gives this mollusk it's common name, resembling a head of leafy green lettuce. The sea slug eats green algae , but not all of the algae they eat is digested. Some of the green algae gets shuttled...Read more
Aug 26, 2014
Credit:

© 2004 Smithsonian Institution

West Indian Manatees, Trichechus manatus , are found in warm, shallow coastal ecosystems along the southeastern North America and northeastern South America. They graze plants in mangrove ecosystems and seagrass beds , occasionally eating small fish or invertebrates. However, they are sensitive to changes in their environment, such as cool water temperatures and harmful algal blooms , along with...Read more
Aug 25, 2014
In this video Smithsonian research zoologist Dr. Martha Nizinski takes viewers with her as she searches for crustaceans in the deep sea . She's particularly interested in finding squat lobsters , which despite their name, are actually crabs. On this dive in the waters off Curaçao , she discovers some living on a sunken piece of wood. This work is part of the Deep Reefs Observation Project (DROP...Read more

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