Today's Catch

Nov 24, 2014
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
Nov 21, 2014
Credit:

Laurence Madin, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution/CMarZ, Census of Marine Life

Census of Marine Life researchers discovered this unusual transparent sea cucumber ( Enypniastes sp.) in the Gulf of Mexico at 2,750 meters depth. It creeps forward on its tentacles pretty slowly, at around 2 centimeters per minute, while sweeping detritus-rich sediment into its mouth. It's so transparent that you can even see its digestive tract winding through its body! See more cool...Read more
Nov 14, 2014
Anemones are known for serving as homes for Nemo and countless other small fish and invertebrates. But these Cnidarians (in the same phylum as jellyfish and same class as corals ) have a long journey before they end up permanently stuck to a rock for their adult lives. An anemone starts out as a fertilized egg, which develops into a free-swimming larva (the planula). After growing bigger, it...Read more
Nov 13, 2014
Credit:

NSF and NOAA

A volcanic eruption of superheated magma (some 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit) from the West Mata Volcano produces a bright flash of hot magma that is blown up into the water before settling back to the seafloor. The explosion throws ash and rock into the water, and molten lava glows below. This volcano is in the Pacific Ocean near Fiji. Its top is nearly a mile below the ocean surface (1165 meters /...Read more
Nov 6, 2014
Credit:

Smithsonian Institution

"The ocean is essential to all," reads a sign written in Korean by calligrapher Myoung-Won Kwon , a resident of Maryland. The artist showcased his craft for visitors at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History during a May 2011 event in honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month . Kwon works on scales small and large; one of his brushes is some four feet tall and he's created one...Read more
Nov 4, 2014
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Barry Brown/Substation Curacao

When this tusk shell was brought up from the deep reef, it was a surprise when a hermit crab poked out! Notice the hermit crab's large claw that it can use to tightly cover the shell opening when it retracts into the shell. Dr. Rafael Lemaitre, NMNH curator of decapod Crustacea , has identified this hermit crab as Pylopagurus discoidalis . In the past, deep-sea animals like this one could only be...Read more
Nov 3, 2014
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Marsh Youngbluth/MAR-ECO, Census of Marine Life

This jelly’s red color provides camouflage in the deep ocean. Red light rarely reaches those depths, and most deep-sea animals have lost the ability to see red. The long, complex tentacles of this unidentified comb jelly (Order Cydippia) have sticky cells that can snag prey, and then retract. Learn more about comb jellies and click through a slideshow of deep ocean animals .Read more
Oct 30, 2014
Credit:

Nicky deBattista

The West Norwegian Fjords - Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord site was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2005. The site's two fjords, among the world's longest and deepest, are considered archetypical fjord landscapes and among the most scenically outstanding anywhere. Their exceptional natural beauty is derived from narrow and steep-sided crystalline rock walls that rise up to 1,400 meters...Read more
Oct 29, 2014
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Mary Parrish/Smithsonian Institution

Vertebrates evolved in the sea and eventually moved onto land. The ancestors of whales later returned to the sea, taking advantage of its rich food supplies. As early whales adapted to their new marine surroundings, a diversity of species evolved. Explore the the interactive " Did Whale Evolution Go Backwards? ".Read more
Oct 28, 2014
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John Johnson/Marine Photobank

A 2010 study of IUCN's Red List of Threatened Species found that one-fifth of the world's vertebrates (animals with backbones) are threatened with extinction, including this Hawaiian monk seal. The Hawaiian monk seal ( Monachus schauinslandi ) is the one of the rarest marine mammals in the world: there are around 1,200 individuals alive today, around 1/3 the population size compared to 1950. Its...Read more

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