Today's Catch

The eel-like Atlantic hagfish being measured out of water.

Pacific Hagfish

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...

Staghorn Coral

Staghorn (seen here) and elkhorn corals are listed as Threatened under the U.S. Endangered Specis Act, as their numbers have fallen catastrophically due to disease. Listed in 2006, they were the only coral species under protection until 2014, when...

Sea Hare in the Intertidal Zone

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...

Glowing Dinoflagellate Meal

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...
Illustration of a four-legged proto-whale with webbed feet.

Early Whale with Webbed Feet

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...
Fossil tooth whorl of ancient shark.

Fossil tooth spiral

This fossil tooth whorl of the ancient shark Helicoprion , dates back 290 million years. 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...
Flame shells live in enormous colonies, but hidden in nests.

Orange-Tentacled Flame Shell

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...

Orcas in the Antarctic

Three distinct types of killer whale, or orcas, can be found in the Antarctic, each with a different habitat and diet preference. One type of orca preys almost exclusively on the Antarctic minke whale, another on seals, and the last eats fish. None...
A brachiopod looks like a clam, but they aren't closely related.

A Modern Day Brachiopod

Brachiopods are an ancient group of organisms, at least 600 million years old. They might just look like clams, but they are not even closely related. Instead of being horizontally symmetrical along their hinge, like clams and other bivalves, they...

Oil’s Impact on Marine Invertebrates

In the aftermath of the Gulf oil spill, what is the effect of oil on invertebrates like jellyfish, clams, crabs, sea stars, and plankton? The scope of the damage is more easily observed among birds and large animals, but Dr. Chris Mah, an...

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