Today's Catch

Oct 11, 2013
Credit:

Wikimedia Commons, Pierre-Jules Hetzel

A sea monster attacks a ship in an illustration for 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne. The illustration is by publisher and artist Pierre-Jules Hetzel, who is most famous for his drawings in Verne's books. This terrifying monster looks a lot like an octopus or squid, which do little harm to people. Read about how author Ray Bradbury encouraged people to sympathize with sea beasts in one...Read more
Oct 10, 2013
Credit:

Richard Ling / www.rling.com

Squids, octopuses and cuttlefish, such as this Australian Giant Cuttlefish ( Sepia apama ), compose just one group of animals that call seagrass beds home. Clams and worms bury themselves in the mud or sandy ground. Anemones, sponges, algae and bacteria grow on seagrass blades. Many different fishes hide among the grass, while manatees and green turtles graze. It's estimated that a single square...Read more
Oct 9, 2013
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
Oct 8, 2013
Credit:

Wikimedia user Beckmannjan

This common octopus ( Octopus vulgaris ) doesn't have a jetpack to help him zoom through the water, but he's got something pretty close: a siphon that shoots water. (It's the little orange/yellow cup in the picture.) Octopuses pull water into their mantle cavities and then squeeze it out through the siphon (also called a funnel) at the front of their mantles to both swim and steer.Read more
Oct 7, 2013
Credit:

In Smithsonian Report 1916

Many sperm whales stranded on beaches or caught by whalers exhibit telltale circular scars like these. Only one thing could have made them: the strong suckers that line the giant squid’s eight arms and two long feeding tentacles. Older sperm whales have so many scars that they overlap each other. Learn more about the over-sized anatomy of the giant squid in this video with Smithsonian scientist...Read more
Oct 4, 2013
Credit:

Flickr User Mouser NerdBot

These star-shaped grains of sand, collected from southern Japan, look like miniature works of art -- but they were not sculpted by an artist. They are the shells of microscopic organisms called foraminifera , which build intricate shells from the calcium carbonate they collect while drifting through the water. Their shells have settled on the seafloor for 500 million years, and are used by...Read more
Oct 3, 2013
Most lobsters are a mottled brown color, but sometimes you can see a strange orange or blue lobster. And then, when lobsters are cooked, they turn bright red. Why is there such a rainbow of lobster colors? As explained in this video from the American Chemical Society, lobsters eat a red pigment in their plant food called astanxanthin, which helps protect them against stress. This pigment is...Read more
Oct 2, 2013
Credit:

Flickr user Jenny Huang (JennyHuang)/EOL

Two bright orange anemonefish ( Amphiprion ocellaris ) poke their heads between anemone tentacles. Anemonefish are able to swim amongst the stinging tentacles without getting stung — but no one knows exactly sure how. One dominant theory explains that they have a protective slime coating their bodies. However, anemonefish are not born with this protective slime and scientists don't know how they...Read more
Oct 1, 2013
Credit:

Kevin Bryant, Flickr

The pearly razorfish’s name may be slightly misleading since it is neither as rare as a pearl nor as dangerous as a razor. It is a common fish that tends to live in clear shallow areas near seagrass beds and coral reefs, where it collects coral debris to build its nests. However, even having a home may not be enough to put this skittish fish at ease. When startled, the pearly razorfish will...Read more
Sep 30, 2013
Credit:

Brian Skerry

Beluga whales are naturally vocal animals. They are often called “ canaries of the sea ” thanks to their wide repertoire of sounds such as whistles, squeals, moos, chirps, and clicks. Some researchers believe they even found a beluga that tried to imitate human voices ! Their smiling appearance and communicative nature make belugas very charismatic animals. Though young belugas are gray or brown...Read more

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