Today's Catch

Nov 25, 2013
Credit:

Alvaro E. Migotto

These brittlestars ( Ophiothela mirabilis ) are not where they belong. These animals, usually found in the Pacific Ocean, were first spotted in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Brazil in 2000. And since then, they've been seen crawling up and down the eastern coast of South America, all the way north to the Caribbean. O. mirabilis has been observed in ports up and down the coast, suggesting...Read more
Nov 22, 2013
Credit:

Copyright © Brian Skerry

Florida Manatee ( Trichechus manatus latirostris ) swimming within a fresh water spring on Crystal River in Florida. Note the tree roots on the right of the frame which make up a portion of this unique ecosystem. Fish aggregate around the manatee and eat algae off of the manatee's body.Read more
Nov 21, 2013
Credit:

© Chip Clark/Smithsonian Institution

The fossil tooth whorl of the ancient shark Helicoprion , dating back 290 million years before present. For a long time, people didn't know what the shark looked like—but, thanks to a CT scan of a fossil, researchers finally put the pieces together in 2013. Read more about this story in our great white shark overview , and learn more about top predators like Helicoprion in the Ocean Over Time...Read more
Nov 20, 2013
A behind the scenes look at the NMNH ocean-related collections and their importance to research and discovery.Read more
Nov 19, 2013
Credit:

Filip Nuyttens, World Register of Marine Species

The European green crab ( Carcinus maenas ) has spread far beyond its native continent, to waters off North and South America, Asia and Australia. It's a voracious eater and poses a nuisance to shellfish farmers. Invasive species have various means of reaching new habitats. Read about the role ships play in spreading invasive species .Read more
Nov 18, 2013
Credit:

Trish Mace, Smithsonian Institution

This is an unidentified moray eel , collected from 650 feet off the coast of Curacao. Morays are very secretive animals that tend to stay hidden in caves and crevices. Researchers with the Deep Reef Observation Project (DROP) don't yet know if this is a young eel, or a small full-grown one. By analyzing this moray's DNA and comparing it to DNA from known morays in the Caribbean, they will...Read more
Nov 15, 2013
Credit:

Mary Parrish/Smithsonian Institution

Where ocean currents were strong, ancient rudist “recliners” lay unattached on the seabed. Notice the pink tentacles, which were used to filter feed. Learn more about ocean life throughout deep time in our Ocean Over Time interactive or an image gallery .Read more
Nov 14, 2013
Credit:

K. Raskoff, Monterey Peninsula College, Arctic Exploration 2002, NOAA

Light refracts off the comb-rows of the Mertensia ovum , a ctenophore , producing stripes of rainbow colors . The jelly eats copepods and small crustaceans that become stuck to its sticky tentacles. View the “Under Arctic Ice” photo essay to learn more.Read more
Nov 13, 2013
The ocean, which we often break into five large ocean basins, covers 71 percent of the Earth's surface and holds over 1.3 billion cubic km of water. This massive space also holds over 99 percent of the area that can be inhabited by life, along with geological features , such as the world's largest mountain range and the deepest canyon . Despite its vast space, the ocean can be impacted by human...Read more
Nov 12, 2013
Credit:

Seabird McKeon

When they get larger, Portunus sayi are formidable predators, quick to consume any smaller animal that comes within reach. Fish, other crustaceans, and even smaller members of their own species are not safe from this hungry sargassum swimming crab. Off the coast of Belize, Smithsonian Marine Science Network postdoctoral fellow, Seabird McKeon, studies floating seaweeds and the minuscule animals...Read more

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