Today's Catch

May 21, 2013
Credit:

Flickr user A.Davey

Blue-footed Boobies ( Sula nebouxii ) , common in the Galapagos Islands and other warm coastal areas of the Pacific, can catch flying fish in mid-air. Their blue feet are for fashion AND function. Male and female boobies wave their feet about in elaborate courtship displays and dances . Bluer feet mean a healthier bird and a better parent. Learn more about sea birds here !Read more
May 20, 2013
Credit:

© 2004 Smithsonian Institution

The lettuce sea slug ( Elysia crispata ) has enlarged fleshy appendages that are folded over one another, with colors ranging from blue to green, with purple and red lining. The green coloring is what gives this mollusk it's common name, resembling a head of leafy green lettuce. The sea slug eats green algae , but not all of the algae they eat is digested. Some of the green algae gets shuttled...Read more
May 17, 2013
Credit:

© 2004 Smithsonian Institution

West Indian Manatees, Trichechus manatus , are found in warm, shallow coastal ecosystems along the southeastern North America and northeastern South America. They graze plants in mangrove ecosystems and seagrass beds , occasionally eating small fish or invertebrates. However, they are sensitive to changes in their environment, such as cool water temperatures and harmful algal blooms , along with...Read more
May 16, 2013
In this video Smithsonian research zoologist Dr. Martha Nizinski takes viewers with her as she searches for crustaceans in the deep sea . She's particularly interested in finding squat lobsters , which despite their name, are actually crabs. On this dive in the waters off Curaçao , she discovers some living on a sunken piece of wood. This work is part of the Deep Reefs Observation Project (DROP...Read more
May 15, 2013
Credit:

L. Corbari, Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, Paris, and Joseph Poupin, École Navale, Brest

Discovering new species is an exciting quest, right? Well, some parts are—but after you find a cool-looking organism that you think is a new species, there's a lot more to be done. You have to confirm that it's new, write a detailed description, take photographs, collect DNA, and do other meticulous work. On average, it takes 21 years for a newly discovered species to be officially named! To...Read more
May 10, 2013
Credit:

Kevin Rolle

The Laysan albatross ( Phoebastria immutabilis ) breeds mainly in Hawaii and other Pacific islands where male and female pairs will incubate their egg for nine weeks. The pair participates in an elaborate courtship dance where movements and noises bond them together for the rest of their lives. After breeding season is over the birds move north and west towards Japan and Alaska. Their main food...Read more
May 9, 2013
For two months, Cassandra Brooks , a marine scientist with Stanford University, travelled on an ice-breaking ship through the Ross Sea in the Antarctica—and she filmed the whole thing. A camera hooked to the front of the ship recorded the ship’s travels, and the ever-changing sea ice. Sea ice isn’t just a solid layer covering the water’s surface. Sometimes the ice looks like shining glass...Read more
May 8, 2013
Credit:

© David Shale

The long barbel on the chin of this dragonfish ( Stomias boa ) has a glowing tip that may attract prey. With its large mouth and sharp, curved teeth, the fish makes quick work of any prey that venture too close. Scaly dragonfish live at depths of 200-1,500 meters (656-4,921 feet) and grow up to 32 centimeters (12.6 inches) long. More about deep ocean can be found in the Deep Ocean Exploration...Read more
May 3, 2013
Credit:

Patrick Decaluwe / Guylian Seahorses of the World 2010, Courtesy of Project Seahorse.

There are 47 different species of seahorses and 14 of those were discovered in the last eight years, including Pontoh's pygmy seahorse ( Hippocampus pontohi ), which was officially named in 2008. Seahorses’ ability to change their color and shape to blend in with their environment makes identification of individual species challenging. Because of this, some researchers previously thought there...Read more
May 2, 2013
Credit:

Bastian Bentlage

This venomous box jelly ( Chiropsalmus quadrumanus ) was collected off the coast of South Carolina. The specimen now resides in the Smithsonian’s marine collection . It's venomous sting can be lethal, especially to small children. Listen to Podcast of Life: Box Jellies and check out the jellyfish and comb jellies overview to learn more about jellies.Read more

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