Today's Catch

Oct 18, 2013
Credit:

David Clark

On the Galapagos Islands, William Dampier wrote excitedly of the giant tortoises he encountered: “I do believe there is no place in the world that is so plentifully stored with these animals….” This photo was taken at the Charles Darwin Research Station in Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos. No longer plentiful, the Galapagos tortoise is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN's Red List for...Read more
Oct 17, 2013
Credit:

Image Courtesy Edie Widder

Under white light, this shortnose greeneye fish ( Chlorophthalmus agassizi ) looks unimpressive. But, in dim blue light—the type usually seen at depth—it shows its true fluorescent colors. NOAA scientists collected this specimen during a 2004 expedition for optical studies . The scientists believe the green flouresence of the fish’s eye lenses help it detect prey better in dimly lit water...Read more
Oct 16, 2013
Credit:

K. Raskoff, Monterey Peninsula College, Arctic Exploration 2002, NOAA

Chrysaora melanaster , one of the largest jellyfish commonly found in the Arctic, swims underneath the Arctic ice . Its tentacles can stretch to more than 3 meters long and pack a mean sting for humans.Read more
Oct 15, 2013
Credit:

New England Aquarium

Every North Atlantic right whale has a pattern of callosities unique to that individual. This distinctive pattern provides a very visual, convenient tool that researchers can use to tell one individual from another. Learn more about how these callosities are used by researchers in our Tale of a Right Whale .Read more
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 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

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