Today's Catch

Apr 15, 2015
Credit:

Mary Elizabeth Miller, Dauphin Island Sea Lab

A “pink meanie” jellyfish ( Drymonema larsoni )—a species found in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean—feeds on a moon jelly ( Aurelia ). Dr. Keith Bayha from the Dauphin Island Sea Lab and Dr. Michael Dawson from the University of California, Merced recently discovered that the pink meanie represents not only a new species, but an entirely new family of jellyfish. Learn more about jellyfish...Read more
Apr 13, 2015
Credit:

Eliott Norse, Marine Conservation Biology Institute/Marine Photobank

Bycatch, or accidentally caught species, can make up a very high percentage of the haul in shrimp trawl nets. However, some of these “trash” species are now being used, rather than discarded, and new technologies can reduce the catch of non-target species. Learn more in our featured story about Sustainable Seafood .Read more
Apr 10, 2015
Credit:

I. MacDonald (in Gulf of Mexico–Origins, Waters, and Biota. Vol. 1. Biodiversity. Felder, D. L. and Camp, D. K. (eds.) 2009. Texas A&M Press.)

This brilliant red octopus ( Benthoctopus sp. ) was photographed at more than 8,800 feet (about 2,700 meters) in Alaminos Canyon in the Gulf of Mexico. See more photos of wild creatures encountered during the Census of Marine Life .Read more
Apr 9, 2015
Credit:

Albert Kok

Staghorn (seen here) and elkhorn corals are listed as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act. They are the only coral species currently listed, but 66 other coral species have been proposed for listing and are under review. Both staghorn and elkhorn coral are found in Caribbean waters and generally do most of their reproduction when bits of their branches break off and reattach somewhere...Read more
Apr 8, 2015
Credit:

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center

The Island Leaf-Toed Gecko ( Phyllodactylus insularis ) is one of several species of geckos that live in the mangroves of the Caribbean’s Mangal Cay. More about mangroves can be found in our Mangroves overview .Read more
Apr 7, 2015
Watch as barnacles feed on bioluminescent dinoflagellates. Barnacles are crustaceans (like crabs, shrimps and lobsters) that secrete their shells for protection while living attached to things like rocks, harbors or boat hulls. They feed by reaching their feathery feet out of their shells and grabbing for small plankton. In this video from COSEE Florida and the Ocean Research & Conservation...Read more
Apr 6, 2015
Credit:

John Klausmeyer/University of Michigan Museum of Natural History

This early whale was well suited to life at sea. But it also may have spent time on land. An ancestor of the right whale , Maiacetus lived 49-40 million years ago. It had flipper-like limbs and webbed feet, like modern seals. But it also had ankle bones - clues that although Maiacetus swam, its ancestors walked. As later whales evolved to become more aquatic, the telltale anklebone disappeared...Read more
Apr 3, 2015
Credit:

Flickr user Rowland Cain

The sea hare gets its common name from its equivalent of nose and tongue—external sensory organs for smell and taste called rhinophores—which look like bunny ears. The sea hare, however, doesn't hop like a rabbit: it is a sea slug (an invertebrate in the gastropod (snail) taxonomic class) that glides around on its muscular foot. When threatened sea hares will release a cloud of ink, attempting to...Read more
Apr 2, 2015
Credit:

Graham Saunders, Flickr

A colony of 100 million flame shells ( Limaria hians ) was discovered in Scotland in 2012 , and is thought to be the biggest in the world. Flame shells are bivalve mollusks that are shaped a bit like scallops—but they have bright orange tentacles exuding from their shells. Despite their bright color, flame shells are very hard to spot because they hide in self-constructed felt-like nests. They...Read more
Apr 1, 2015
Credit:

Flickr User AJC1

In the ocean, microscopic forms of algae, known as dinoflagellates , can "bloom" into dense patches near the surface, often referred to as "red tides." Some of these harmful algal blooms (HABs) are dangerous, producing toxins that can kill marine organisms, taint shellfish, cause skin irritations, and even foul the air. They seem to be increasing in size, intensity, and persistence—possibly due...Read more

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