Today's Catch

Nov 18, 2013
Credit:

Trish Mace, Smithsonian Institution

This is an unidentified moray eel , collected from 650 feet off the coast of Curacao. Morays are very secretive animals that tend to stay hidden in caves and crevices. Researchers with the Deep Reef Observation Project (DROP) don't yet know if this is a young eel, or a small full-grown one. By analyzing this moray's DNA and comparing it to DNA from known morays in the Caribbean, they will...Read more
Nov 15, 2013
Credit:

Mary Parrish/Smithsonian Institution

Where ocean currents were strong, ancient rudist “recliners” lay unattached on the seabed. Notice the pink tentacles, which were used to filter feed. Learn more about ocean life throughout deep time in our Ocean Over Time interactive or an image gallery .Read more
Oct 31, 2013
Credit:

© David Shale

This lizardfish ( Bathysaurus ferox ) rests on the ocean bottom with its head slightly elevated—waiting to snatch prey with its large mouth and sharp teeth. It lives at depths of 600-3,500 meters (1,969-11,483 feet) and grows up to 64 centimeters (25.2 inches) long. More about deep ocean exploration can be found in the Deep Ocean Exploration section .Read more
Oct 10, 2013
Credit:

Richard Ling / www.rling.com

Squids, octopuses and cuttlefish, such as this Australian Giant Cuttlefish ( Sepia apama ), compose just one group of animals that call seagrass beds home. Clams and worms bury themselves in the mud or sandy ground. Anemones, sponges, algae and bacteria grow on seagrass blades. Many different fishes hide among the grass, while manatees and green turtles graze. It's estimated that a single square...Read more
Oct 8, 2013
Credit:

Wikimedia user Beckmannjan

This common octopus ( Octopus vulgaris ) doesn't have a jetpack to help him zoom through the water, but he's got something pretty close: a siphon that shoots water. (It's the little orange/yellow cup in the picture.) Octopuses pull water into their mantle cavities and then squeeze it out through the siphon (also called a funnel) at the front of their mantles to both swim and steer.Read more
Oct 3, 2013
Most lobsters are a mottled brown color, but sometimes you can see a strange orange or blue lobster. And then, when lobsters are cooked, they turn bright red. Why is there such a rainbow of lobster colors? As explained in this video from the American Chemical Society, lobsters eat a red pigment in their plant food called astanxanthin, which helps protect them against stress. This pigment is...Read more
Sep 30, 2013
Credit:

Brian Skerry

Beluga whales are naturally vocal animals. They are often called “ canaries of the sea ” thanks to their wide repertoire of sounds such as whistles, squeals, moos, chirps, and clicks. Some researchers believe they even found a beluga that tried to imitate human voices ! Their smiling appearance and communicative nature make belugas very charismatic animals. Though young belugas are gray or brown...Read more
Sep 24, 2013
Credit:

New England Aquarium, Photographer Philip Hamilton

Whalers hunted right whales for their blubber, which could be turned into oil to burn in lamps or make soap, and their baleen. Baleen is the series of fringed plates hanging in their mouths that they use to strain the seawater for food. Baleen was used in a number of consumer products, such as corsets. Here, a researcher examines the baleen from a whale that washed up on the beach. More about the...Read more
Sep 23, 2013
Credit:

John Turnbull, Flickr

Is that fruit swimming in the ocean? Well it may look like fruit, but it's actually a pineapplefish ( Cleidopus gloriamaris ). Like the hard outer part of a pineapple, this fish also has an outer shell made of pineapple-like yellow scales. But that is where the similarity to the fruit disappears. The pineapplefish has glowing organs that can be used to find prey at night, the color of which may...Read more
Sep 20, 2013
Credit:

©Clyde F.E. Roper

These newly hatched arrow squid larvae ( Doryteuthis plei ) are each tinier than the head a pin. Free from their yolk sac, they will drift with the current out to sea as zooplankton. Many animals eat zooplankton, so few will survive to adulthood and to reproduce themselves.Read more

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