Today's Catch

May 8, 2014
Credit:

Jeff Yonover/Nature's Best Photography

These beautiful pink and yellow shimmering fish ( Parapriacanthus ransonneti ) live in large groups among corals and in caves where they feed on zooplankton at night. “Golden sweepers form schools in reef crevices and caves and among coral heads. The technique I employed to make this image was a long exposure and rear curtain synchronization combined with a circular rotation of the camera during...Read more
May 7, 2014
Credit:

© Lollo Enstad/San Diego Natural History Museum

Two fossilized teeth from a megalodon ( Carcharodon megalodon ) dating back more than 20 million years. Their teeth can reach a diagonal length of seven inches! The ancestry of great white sharks has long been debated, but by looking closer at shark teeth scientists know that the giant megatooth shark was not an ancestor of the great white shark. More about the great white shark can be found in...Read more
May 6, 2014
Credit:

Mark J. A. Vermeij

Grey reef sharks ( Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos ) are among the most versatile and tough predators on a Pacific coral reef, but they are also among the most vulnerable species, as they are threatened by wasteful fishing practices like shark finning . They're also very sensitive to human presence, fleeing reefs when people settle along the coasts and preferring more isolated areas. Where you can...Read more
May 5, 2014
Credit:

Howard J. Spero/University of California, Davis

This foraminifera was collected as it floated about 3 meters below the surface off the coast of Puerto Rico. The central dark area is the shell surrounded by spines. The tiny yellow dots are symbiotic algae, which live in the protoplasm of the host organism. When the foraminifer dies, the spines fall off and only the shell is preserved in the fossil record. Shell building animals like forams will...Read more
May 2, 2014
The majestic and highly predatory red lionfish ( Pterois volitans ) , native to the Indo-Pacific, is invading Atlantic waters. The lionfish is a popular home aquarium species, and some were most likely dumped off the Florida coast when no longer wanted. The result is a lionfish population explosion that now threatens native species like snapper, grouper, and sea bass. Read " Five Invasive Species...Read more
May 1, 2014
Credit:

Tony Brown, Flickr

In November 2012, Australia began protecting a huge swath of its ocean from overfishing and oil exploration, creating the largest network of marine reserves in the world at a grand total of 1.2 million square miles (3.1 million square kilometers). The area, a third of the continent’s territorial waters, includes an underwater canyon as large as the U.S. Grand Canyon, seagrass meadows, and the...Read more
Apr 29, 2014
Credit:

NOAA Office of Response and Restoration

The Exxon Valdez oil spill occurred on March 24, 1989 when an oil tanker grounded on a reef in Alaska’s Prince William Sound. It spilled almost 11 million gallons of crude oil, which reached 1,300 miles of coastline. The spill's remote location, accessible by air or boat only, made the restoration response all the more difficult. Seabirds, mammals, fish, invertebrates, and their communities were...Read more
Apr 23, 2014
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
Apr 16, 2014
Credit:

© Sandra Raredon/Smithsonian Institution

The distinctive form of a winghead shark ( Eusphyra blochii ) is revealed by an X-ray image. The Winghead Shark, one of about ten species of hammerhead sharks, has its eyes set at the tips of its wide, T-shaped head, giving it superb binocular vision. Scientists in the Division of Fishes at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History use X-ray images, like the one shown, to study the...Read more
Apr 14, 2014
Credit:

The Wales Inupiaq Sea Ice Dictionary, courtesy of Igor Krupnik (NMNH)

To people living in warm climates, all ice looks the same. But if you live day-in and day-out on sea ice, like the Inupiaq people of Alaska, you would find that there are many kinds of ice, all distinct. In fact, the Inupiaq have more than 100 names for different kinds of sea ice, illustrated here. A female walrus and her calf ( isavgalik ) rest on ice ( nunavait ) in the midst of scattered pack...Read more

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