Today's Catch

Jun 9, 2014
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
Jun 6, 2014
Credit:

Jeff Gage/Florida Museum of Natural History

This well-preserved fossil is the only intact partial skull ever found of a white shark that lived about 6.5 million years ago called Carcharodon hubbelli . The fossil jaw contains 222 teeth, some in rows up to six teeth deep, and may provide evidence that modern day great white sharks evolved from the ancestors of mako sharks, not the megalodon.Read more
Jun 5, 2014
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
Jun 4, 2014
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
Jun 3, 2014
Credit:

Maggie D. Johnson, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Many species of pink coralline algae cover a reef surface in the Southern Line Islands. Often unnoticed, these pink algae crusts help to cement coral reefs together, providing extra support and habitat for animals that live on reefs. Unhealthy coral reefs are often home to fast-growing seaweeds that cover and smother the slow-growing coralline algae. In the Southern Line Islands, however, the...Read more
Jun 2, 2014
Credit:

Scott Hamilton

The twin-spot snapper ( Lutjanus bohar ) is one of the more curious predators in the central Pacific, says marine ecologist Stuart Sandin of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. "It poses commonly for the camera but is also immediately on-hand whenever there is an opportunity to eat." These fish (also called bohars) are top predators on the reef, eating a variety of fishes, shrimps, crabs,...Read more
May 30, 2014
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
May 29, 2014
Credit:

Flickr User wildestanimal

Seals and sea lions have many similarities, and are in the same family of Pinnipeds, but they lead very different lives. Seals are smaller than sea lions; male Stellar sea lions can grow to be up to 2,200 pounds. Seals also are suited to spend more time in the water than sea lions, which can "walk" on shore with their large flippers and spend time in large social groups. Another give-away is that...Read more
May 28, 2014
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
May 27, 2014
Credit:

Caine Delacy

When you think of African animals, what do you think of? Probably the “Big Five:” lions, elephants, leopards, buffalo and rhinos. But Africa also has an incredible amount of marine diversity in the coral reefs and open water surrounding the continent. Consider the ocean’s “Big Five” —whale sharks, giant manta rays, humpback whales, dolphins, tiger sharks—in this blog post from a researcher...Read more

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