Today's Catch

Feb 6, 2013
Credit:

Deano Cook/Nature's Best Photography

At night this lemon shark ( Negaprion brevirostris ) lurks at the surface, but often during the day they will lie on the ocean bottom. This behavior had been thought to save them energy, but in reality it takes energy for the shark to push water over their gills while not moving. They may be lying still to be cleaned by small fish, like the wrasse. “As nightfall was approaching and the sun...Read more
Feb 5, 2013
Credit:

Seabird McKeon

Sargassum fluitans , a.k.a. “Gulfweed,” forms dense clumps up to the size of a beach ball that slowly rotate as they drift. The fronds are quite dense, but if you look carefully, sometimes you can see hints of the rich community that hides in the floating sargassum. Off the coast of Belize, Smithsonian Marine Science Network postdoctoral fellow, Seabird McKeon, studies floating seaweeds and the...Read more
Jan 25, 2013
Credit:

NHK/NEP/Discovery Channel

In 2012, the long-elusive giant squid was finally filmed live in its natural habitat. The squid was found by placing glowing lures outside of a submersible to mimic jellyfish, which typically indicate to the squid that food is nearby. Before this encounter, the giant squid had never been observed in its natural environment, and the only film had been taken of a squid caught on a hook and brought...Read more
Jan 14, 2013
Credit:

I. MacDonald, FSU, Arctic Exploration 2002, NOAA

Polar bears have evolved to survive in the Arctic with large, oar-like front paws for better swimming, as well as insulating blubber, and two layers of fur for the frigid temperatures. They rely on pack ice, traveling thousands of miles in a year looking for food (mostly ringed and bearded seals, although they hunt other animals if they come across them). Polar bears are listed as threatened by...Read more
Dec 31, 2012
Credit:

Freshwater and Marine Image Bank, University of Washington Libraries Digital Collections

The deep-sea dragonfish ( Stomiidae ), also called the barbeled dragonfish, uses it's fang-like teeth to grab prey in its deep-sea environment . Like other deep-sea organisms, dragonfish have bioluminescent photophores and other adaptations that allow them to make do at extreme depths. See a photo of a dragonfish jaw up-close , and see more photos of spectacular deep-sea animals .Read more
Dec 31, 2012
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©Mason Weinrich, Whale Center of New England

A right whale opens its mouth wide, revealing huge plates of baleen hanging from its upper jaw. There are between 200 and 270 baleen plates on each side of a right whale's upper jaw. They work like a giant sieve to catch the whale's food. Strong but flexible, baleen is made of the same substance as your fingernails - keratin. Discover more about this species in A Tale of A Whale , a photo essay...Read more
Dec 28, 2012
Credit:

Spencer Wright

The pinecone fish ( Monocentris japonicus ) looks like the real thing on land—covered in large scales with a dark trim. They are found lurking in caves and under ledges in the Indian and Western Pacific Oceans, and are a popular aquarium fish.Read more
Dec 26, 2012
Credit:

Flickr User Sushi_Girl1995

These candy cane snapping shrimp ( Alpheus randalli ) have a pretty nice set up. They share their living space with goby fish, helping the fish dig and maintain the burrow that they share in the seafloor. In turn the small, and mostly blind, shrimp (seen in this photo below the goby) get protection from predators in the form of alerts from the goby and a place to call home.Read more
Dec 25, 2012
Credit:

Nick Hobgood

This forest of Christmas tree worms is a group of polychaete worms that live on tropical coral reefs. See more celebratory ocean creatures in our slideshow!Read more
Dec 21, 2012
Credit:

Jerry Kirkhart

Ever heard of a cookie-cutter shark ( Isistius brasiliensis )? They look like your average shark —sort of menacing and streamlined—but their name comes from how they feed. They eat smaller animals (like squid) whole, but also take large, round cookie-cutter shaped bites out of larger animals, such as tuna, whales, dolphins, and seals (which you can see in this picture of an elephant seal). They...Read more

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