Today's Catch

Mar 18, 2013
Credit:

Jose Alejandro Alvarez

The larger fish in this picture are called sweetlips ( Plectorhinchus ) because of their big, fleshy lips. There are over thirty species of sweetlips, which tend to live on coral reefs in small groups. “On an afternoon dive, I spotted a small group of sweetlips in the current among a shoal of juvenile convict blennies. It took me some time to get close to the fish without spooking them. I took...Read more
Mar 17, 2013
Credit:

Filip Nuyttens

This sea potato ( Echinocardium cordatum ) looks similar to its root vegetable namesake, but it's a sea urchin! The spines on this urchin are more hair-like than the spikes seen on some more commonly known urchins, and they lay flat across the urchin's body. They can be found buried in the sediments of the sea floor. In their burrow they separate themselves from the sand and mud with a layer of...Read more
Mar 15, 2013
Credit:

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
Mar 14, 2013
Credit:

Lovell and Libby Langstroth © California Academy of Sciences

The spiral-tufted bryozoan ( Bugula neritina ) is being studied for a potential Alzheimer's disease and cancer drug -- but it's not the bryozoan that makes the chemical. The chemical, found in the bryozoan's tissues, is produced by its bacterial endosymbiont, Candidatus Endobugula sertula . In exchange for a protective home in the bryozoan's tissues, the bacteria produces a chemical called a...Read more
Mar 14, 2013
Credit:

Eduardo Zattara, Smithsonian Institution

The over 1,000 species of ribbon worms ( Nemertea ) are mostly found in marine environments (like the Hubrechtia found in a mud flat, in the photo). These worms have both a mouth and an anus (unlike flatworms, which use the same opening for both ingesting and removing their food). Some species are centimeters long, like the ones that Smithsonian scientists searched for in Florida , while others,...Read more
Mar 13, 2013
Credit:

Brian Skerry, National Geographic

Red Pigfish ( Bodianus unimaculatus ) and Blue Mao-Mao ( Scorpis violacea ) school at the edge of a cavern in New Zealand's Poor Knights Islands. Read photographer Brian Skerry's story behind this photo on the Ocean Portal blog.Read more
Mar 12, 2013
Credit:

© Alexander Semenov Link

Stinging cells (nematocysts) line the tentacles of this moon jelly ( Aurelia aurita ). Upon contact with prey or a predator, a venom-laden harpoon shoots out to stun or kill. Read more about jellyfish anatomy in our jellyfish and comb jellies overview page .Read more
Mar 11, 2013
Fish swim around the wreck of the HMT Bedfordshire , an Arctic fishing trawler that was converted into an anti-submarine warship during World War II. Originally part of Great Britain's Royal Navy, it was sent to assist the United States Navy in 1941. In Spring 1942, the HMT Bedfordshire was hit by a torpedo sent from a U-boat and sunk off the coast of North Carolina, killing all 37 crewmembers...Read more
Mar 8, 2013
Credit:

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. They live in western Pacific tropical coral reef ecosystems and instead of your typical fish scales they are covered in a smelly, thick mucus coating. It's possible that this mucus, which not only smells—but tastes—bad, is used as...Read more
Mar 7, 2013
Credit:

© 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

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