Today's Catch

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
Sep 27, 2013
Credit:

Cabrillo Marine Aquarium

White abalones are slow-moving, algae-eating mollusks. Rapid overharvesting since the 1970s has resulted in white abalones becoming the first marine invertebrate listed as endangered on the Endangered Species Act in 2001 . The population is struggling to recover because they need a mate nearby in order to breed—a difficult task with a small and scattered population. A 2010 assessment stated that...Read more
Sep 26, 2013
Credit:

Hendrik Schicke, Flickr

When hoping to discover a pearl, looking inside one of the oysters you slurp may not be the best plan. Food oysters in the family Ostreidae are able to produce pearls, however these tend to be small, irregular, and worth very little . Most pearls strung on necklaces come from pearl oysters, which are in a whole different bivalve family! Pearl oysters create pearls when a hard particle is coated...Read more
Sep 24, 2013
Credit:

New England Aquarium, Photographer Philip Hamilton

Whalers hunted right whales for their blubber, which could be turned into oil to burn in lamps or make soap, and their baleen. Baleen is the series of fringed plates hanging in their mouths that they use to strain the seawater for food. Baleen was used in a number of consumer products, such as corsets. Here, a researcher examines the baleen from a whale that washed up on the beach. More about the...Read more
Sep 23, 2013
Credit:

John Turnbull, Flickr

Is that fruit swimming in the ocean? Well it may look like fruit, but it's actually a pineapplefish ( Cleidopus gloriamaris ). Like the hard outer part of a pineapple, this fish also has an outer shell made of pineapple-like yellow scales. But that is where the similarity to the fruit disappears. The pineapplefish has glowing organs that can be used to find prey at night, the color of which may...Read more

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