Today's Catch

Oct 19, 2015

Flickr user JennyHuang

There aren't any mummies or zombies buried under the seafloor: instead the ocean has its own terror from below, the bobbit worm ( Eunice aphroditois ). A couple inches wide and up to ten feet long, the bobbit worm stays hidden under tropical sands with just its five antennae poking out—waiting. When it senses prey above, it moves with speed and strength to grab them, sometimes splitting its fishy...Read more
Oct 16, 2015

Chuck Savall

Corals are sedentery animals, so how do they reproduce? One way is sexually through spawning , when the corals release eggs and sperm into the water (often at the same time due to some sort of trigger). External sexual reproduction occurs when colonies of coral release huge numbers of eggs and sperm that are often glued into bundles (one bundle per polyp) that float towards the surface. In this...Read more
Oct 15, 2015

Flickr User wildestanimal

Seals and sea lions have many similarities, and are in the same family of Pinnipeds, but they lead very different lives. Seals are smaller than sea lions; male Stellar sea lions can grow to be up to 2,200 pounds. Seals also are suited to spend more time in the water than sea lions, which can "walk" on shore with their large flippers and spend time in large social groups. Another give-away is that...Read more
Oct 14, 2015

Paulyn Cartwright et al. 2007 (PLOS ONE) Link

How long have jellyfish lived in the ocean? This jellyfish fossil is from the Cambrian period, more than 500 million years ago. It was found buried in Utah —an area that used to be underwater, covered by the ocean. Fossil jellyfish are rare because they have no bones or other hard parts to turn into fossils. Instead, scientists have to look for so-called "soft fossils," when organisms are quickly...Read more
Oct 13, 2015

Caine Delacy

When you think of African animals, what do you think of? Probably the “Big Five:” lions, elephants, leopards, buffalo and rhinos. But Africa also has an incredible amount of marine diversity in the coral reefs and open water surrounding the continent. Consider the ocean’s “Big Five” —whale sharks, giant manta rays, humpback whales, dolphins, tiger sharks—in this blog post from a researcher...Read more
Oct 9, 2015

Erwin Poliakoff

These beautiful mandarinfish ( Synchiropus splendidus ) are covered in bright blue, red, yellow and orange waves. What they lack, however, are traditional fish scales. Instead of your typical fish scales they are covered in a smelly mucus coating. It's possible that this mucus, which not only smells but also tastes bad, deters predators.Read more
Oct 8, 2015

Antoine N'Yeurt, Moorea Biocode Project

A strain of this green seaweed, native to the Indian and Pacific Oceans, escaped public and private aquariums in California, Japan, Australia, and Monaco. It has spread widely in the Mediterranean, replacing native plants (such as seagrasses ) and depriving marine life of food and habitat. In California , it was eradicated at considerable cost using toxic chemicals. Read No Passport Required:...Read more
Oct 7, 2015

© Alexander Semenov Link

Comb jellies (such as this Bolinopsis species) are named for their combs: the rows of cilia lining their bodies that propel them through the ocean. Read more about jellyfish and comb jellies .Read more
Oct 6, 2015

Brian Skerry

"Wild manatees in Belize are not used to humans. Living miles offshore in mangroves, they remain shy and elusive. After weeks searching and waiting for an opportunity to photograph them, I was rewarded with an especially tolerant mother and calf. I approached quietly, watching the mother create billowing clouds of silt as she fed on seagrass. I positioned myself so the light was perfect and...Read more
Oct 5, 2015

Allen G. Collins/NOAA

This bearded fireworm ( Hermodice carunculata ) must have a strong stomach -- it’s sucking on fire coral ( Millepora sp. ), which would give the unlucky snorkeler a nasty sting. Encountered in St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands, the worm in this photo is about 15 cm (6 inches) long, but they can get up to twice that length. Those venom-filled bristles can break off in human skin, causing an intense...Read more