Today's Catch

Aug 12, 2013
Credit:

Tony Brown, Flickr

The spanish dancer is one of the largest species and best swimmers of the nudibranchs. Nudibranchs are mollusks who don't have shells in their adult stage. When the spanish dancer swims, the wide edges of its mantle (the parapodia) are pushed through the water in a graceful undulating movement reminiscent of flamenco dancers. The spanish dancer is not just known for its dance. It has a...Read more
Aug 9, 2013
Credit:

Jennifer Strotman, Collections Program

I want snack, so give me cookie! The cookie cutter shark ( Isistius brasiliensis ) is as fearless as they come! This small, 20-inch shark can take on giants like whales and larger sharks, and have even been known to mistakenly try to bite submarines. They dwell in the deep warm ocean and come closer to the surface as the sun sets to grab a quick snack off their unsuspecting prey. Cookie cutter...Read more
Aug 8, 2013
Credit:

© Michael Rutzen

Great white sharks ( Carcharodon carcharias ) are marvels of evolution, with highly-evolved senses keeping them among the ocean’s top predators. However, they are threatened with extinction and listed on the IUCN Red List as "Vulnerable." Their biggest (and, perhaps, only) threat is people. Great whites are often portrayed as terrifying man-killers, which makes them a target for sport fishing and...Read more
Aug 6, 2013
Credit:

DougWood2013, Flickr

Bull sharks cut a threatening figure with the largest recorded bull shark reaching 11.5 feet and 500 pounds. They prey on dolphins, birds, turtles, bony fish, and other species of shark. Catching such a wide array of prey is possible because bull sharks can survive in both coastal freshwater and saltwater. However it was still a surprise for some golfers in Australia that these versatile sharks...Read more
Aug 5, 2013
Credit:

Edy Setyawan

The whale shark ( Rhincodon typus ) is the largest fish on Earth. They spend most of their lives in the deep water up to 200 meters or more, but swim up to the surface to gather food and warm their bodies. In Kwatisore—located in Cenderawasih Bay National Park, Papua, Indonesia—they interact with bagans ( fishing platforms on the water's surface ), which provide ikan puri (anchovy), a staple in...Read more
Aug 2, 2013
Credit:

wildestanimal, Flickr

Lying on the ice with a few friends is not an unusual way to spend time for walruses, who tend to be sociable animals. Their groups can range from tens to thousands. Each individual herd has a dominant male who is established by his aggressiveness, tusk size and physical size. Though due to the competitiveness for dominance, the social structure always remains on thin ice.Read more
Aug 1, 2013
Credit:

Erwin Poliakoff, Flickr

Frogfish are skilled hunters and some species are capable of blending into local environments such as coral reefs . A frogfish can camouflage itself so well that prey fish will swim close by without seeing the predator lurking before them. Then, before the prey knows it, he’s eaten in about 6 milliseconds! The frogfish is an eating machine with a mouth cavity that can grow up to 12 times its size...Read more
Jul 31, 2013
Credit:

Paul Flandinette, Flickr

Anemone porcelain crabs may look delicate but they have their own sort of armor: a hard exoskeleton. They live under rocks, sponges, groups of feather stars, and even in giant anemones where they can hide inside the tentacles. Once inside they do not have to worry about gathering food since they are mainly filter feeders . Anemone porcelain crabs are also masters of escape and, if attacked, can...Read more
Jul 30, 2013
Coral reefs are some of the most endangered ecosystems on the planet that are home to beautiful wildlife and provide food to many people living on the coast. So how do you protect the reefs without cutting off communities from their food source? Instead of creating one big marine protected area to conserve coral reefs, one idea is to protect a series of smaller reef areas. A series of protected...Read more
Jul 26, 2013
Credit:

© 2004 Smithsonian Institution

An American crocodile ( Crocodylus acutus ) resting on a bed of seagrass . These medium-sized crocodiles are most commonly found in mangrove -lined estuaries and saltwater lagoons between the southern coast of the United States and the northern coasts of South America and Mexico. They are considered "Vulnerable" by the IUCN Red List , having undergone a population decline of 30% over the last...Read more

Pages