Today's Catch

Sep 10, 2013

canopic, Flickr

Weighing 600 pounds (around 272kg) and having a 30 foot (around 9 meters) arm span, the largest recorded giant pacific octopus was truly enormous. Giant pacific octopuses are powerful predators that are able to eat anything from shrimps and lobsters to birds and likely small sharks. They are also incredibly smart, and can solve mazes and imitate other species of octopus. The giant pacific octopus...Read more
Sep 9, 2013

João Pedro Silva, Flickr

The corkwing wrasse, or gilt-head, changes color depending on its age, sex, and breeding season. For instance, during the breeding season, males have blue spotted fins and the middle of their scales gain bright blue and green pigment. In order to breed, males build nests made out of seaweed in rocks and crevices. The breeding season is made more complex due to occasional sex reversal, meaning the...Read more
Sep 6, 2013

Taveuni Palms Resort, Flickr

Two large coral trout ( Plectropomus leopardus ) swim through a coral reef on Taveuni Island in Fiji. Coral trout are highly desired fish for human consumption, and because of overfishing, are considered near threatened by the IUCN red list . However, their populations recover when communities create no-take marine reserves. Because no fishing is allowed in the reserves, coral trout are able to...Read more
Sep 5, 2013

Fco. Javier Gallardo Álvarez, Flickr

The mauve stinger’s ( Pelagia noctiluca ) name in German means “night light,” referring to the jelly’s reddish coloring and its bioluminescence, the display of light by a living creature. Unlike a night-light, however, this jellyfish can become startled and leave a trail of glowing mucous behind. Scientists now have an incentive to follow that trail, since the mauve stinger’s bioluminescence can...Read more
Sep 4, 2013

Doug Nowacek/Duke University

This radio device is used to track North Atlantic right whales. Suction cups hold the device to a whale's back, where it records data such as depth, water, temperature, and underwater sounds. These tags can be used on many species of whales, including blue whales and humpbacks , and other versions have been used to study many other ocean animals . Read more about right whales in the Tale of a...Read more
Sep 3, 2013

sean.sheldrake, Flickr

Diving to survey, sample, and manage marine life takes a great deal of skill and knowledge. This diver is sampling the seafloor, also known as the benthic zone. This kind of sampling is important for mapping and can allow scientists to draw conclusions about animal habitats and distributions. For this to work, divers must collect many samples for the data. They can use a wide variety of tools...Read more
Aug 30, 2013
How do we know what coral reefs looked like hundreds of years ago? Often times, we are simply left wondering. Scientists can get an idea from naturalist recordings, but there are many unknowns and they are relying on interpreting personal observations. The landscape of coral reefs has certainly changed since 1846, when Joseph Jukes recorded his impressions of the Great Barrier Reef, and there is...Read more
Aug 29, 2013

Michael Bear, Flickr

Swimming by a black sea nettle may be a bit of a shock. These large jellyfish can grow to be over three feet in diameter, and their tentacles can be over 25 feet long. Despite their large size, much about them is still unknown, and they are relatively new to science: black sea nettles weren't an official species until 1997! This is because they are rarely observed in the wild, preferring calm...Read more
Aug 28, 2013

Choo Yut Shing, Flickr

The Japanese spider crab is a large catch for any fisherman. With a leg span of 13 feet (4 meters) and an average weight of around 40 pounds (16-20 kg), it claims the title of largest crab. It may also have the longest lifespan of any crab, living to be 100 years old. However, Japanese spider crabs do not survive very long without injury. Their long legs are weak , and a study found that three-...Read more
Aug 27, 2013

João Pedro Silva, Flickr

The blue-spotted stingray ( Taeniura lymma ) doesn’t like to be covered in sand like other species of stingray do. Instead, it prefers to show off its beautiful blue spots and, to stay up to the best standards, it needs the help of cleaner fish. These cleaner fish remove parasites from larger fish. Their coloring gives them a sort of uniform, which lets the larger fish know not to eat them. Other...Read more