Today's Catch

Apr 6, 2016

Scott Kupiec

In recent years, blooms of jellyfish, such as these moon jellies ( Aurita aurita ) in the Chesapeake Bay, have become more common around the world for a number of different reasons . One result of these blooms is that there is less food for fish and more for bacteria . This is because the large numbers of jellyfish eat zooplankton—potential fish food —but most fish don't eat jellyfish. Instead,...Read more
Apr 5, 2016

Dr. Mike Goebel, NOAA NMFS SWFSC

Looking through this iceberg's reflection in the Antarctic water, you can see the iceberg below the surface—some 90% of its total volume. Icebergs are pieces of freshwater ice broken off of glaciers or ice shelves, left to float across the sea. Many icebergs and other pieces of floating ice cram together, freezing into pack ice, which is a form of sea ice.Read more
Apr 4, 2016

Lophelia II 2010 Expedition, NOAA-OER/BOEMRE

An orange brisingid starfish sits on a large reef of Lophelia pertusa, cold-water corals in the Gulf of Mexico, at 450 m depth as a school of fish swims above. They have many arms—up to 20!—covered in spines, which themselves are covered with small snapping jaws called pedicellariae. By attaching their center to a surface and waving these long arms in the water, these starfish filter feed,...Read more
Apr 1, 2016

D. Ross Robertson and Carole C. Baldwin

By diving in the Curasub, Smithsonian researchers with the Deep Reef Observation Project (DROP) have discovered a new species of tiny fish in the biodiversity-rich waters of the southern Caribbean. The fish, a blenny named Haptoclinus dropi , is only around 2 cm in length with a beautiful color pattern that includes iridescence on the fins. Against a white background, it's hard to see the...Read more
Mar 31, 2016


Superheated magma, about 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit, glows orange as it slowly leaks from cracks along the six-mile long active rift zone of the West Mata Volcano in the Pacific Ocean near Fiji. The slow-leaking magma doesn't erupt, but bubbles out and solidifies to form pillow basalts, a type of rock commonly found at volcano sites and in the Earth's crust. The volcano's top is nearly a mile below...Read more
Mar 30, 2016

Department of Invertebrate Zoology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution

These watercolor sketches of Trapezia crabs were drawn by Frederick Bayer, a former Smithsonian coral biologist, in 1947. Trapezia crabs live on and within corals, feeding on their tissue and mucus, and protect them from predators such as crown-of-thorns starfish . Bayer made these drawings in 1947, during a survey of marine fauna on the coral reefs of Bikini Atoll in the Pacific, one year after...Read more
Mar 29, 2016
This octopod is sometimes called a “Dumbo” octopod because its fins resemble the ears of Disney’s Dumbo the elephant. The video was recorded in 2003 on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge by the Russian manned submersible MIR 2. More about deep ocean exploration can be found in our Deep Ocean Exploration featured story . Note: this video contains no audio.Read more
Mar 28, 2016
A whale size comparison chart Credit:

Smithsonian Institution

How do right whales size up? North Atlantic right whales ( Eubalaena glacialis ) are big, but they're not the biggest whales. That distinction goes to the blue whale ( Balaenoptera musculus ), the largest animal on Earth. The orca's size of up to 31 feet (9.4 meters) makes it the largest dolphin. The sperm whale , on the other hand, may not be the biggest whale, but it has the biggest brain to...Read more
Mar 25, 2016
This female hyperiid (Phronima sedentaria), a type of marine crustacean, is surrounded by her young inside the hollowed out barrel-shaped body cavity of a salp. Credit:

© 2012 KJ Osborn, Smithsonian

This female hyperiid ( Phronima sedentaria ), a type of marine crustacean, is surrounded by her young inside the hollowed out barrel-shaped body cavity of a salp. The mother Phronima presumably captures and kills the salp to build her nursery and paddles it around while caring for her young. Phronima eyes see blue light best and are well-suited to look for other animals horizontally out the front...Read more
Mar 24, 2016

Alan Studley/Nature’s Best Photography

“This shark was cruising low along the reef known as Alcyone. Her left eye was glancing up toward other hammerheads when I took this shot from below.” -- Nature's Best photographer, Alan Studley. See more beautiful ocean photos in our slideshow of winners from the 2010 Nature's Best Ocean Views photo contest.Read more