Today's Catch

Oct 19, 2012

Devin Harvey/Marine Photobank

Red coral necklaces fill a store display window. The United States annually imports around one million live coral animals from tropical reefs for use in aquariums, and is the largest documented consumer of precious red coral, commonly used in jewelry, according to a 2008 SeaWeb report ( PDF ). Harvesting coral to produce jewelry like this threatens all coral reefs , including deep-sea corals .Read more
Oct 16, 2012

K. Raskoff, Monterey Peninsula College, Hidden Ocean 2005, NOAA

Many expeditions in the Arctic reveal new species, such as this jellyfi sh Bathykorus bouilloni , which, strangely, has only four tentacles! Dr. Kevin Raskoff from California State University, Monterey Bay first captured one in the deep Arctic in 2002 and thought it was rare. But when he returned in 2005 with NOAA and the Census of Marine Life , he and his crew found themselves in a swarm of the...Read more
Oct 15, 2012

© Clyde F.E. Roper

This close-up photo shows the tough, serrated ring around the opening of a giant squid sucker. The ring is made of chitin—the same material that’s in your fingernails. Using suction, the sucker tightly grips the squid’s prey. The ring digs into the skin of the giant squid’s only predator—the sperm whale—leaving its mark behind. More about the giant squid can be found in our Giant Squid featured...Read more
Oct 5, 2012

E. Widder, ORCA,

Glowing photophores are visible on this midwater squid ( Abralia veranyi ) viewed from below at low light levels. We think of light as a way to see in the dark. But many species use it to help them hide. This adaptation is called counterillumination. Seen from below, an animal might stand out as a dark shape against the brighter water above. By glowing on its underside, it can blend in. Watch a...Read more
Oct 3, 2012
In the past 30 years, the Great Barrier Reef -- Australia's iconic natural wonder -- has lost half of its coral to a combination of forces. Dr. Nancy Knowlton, Sant Chair of Marine Science at the Smithsonian Natural Museum of Natural History and Editor-in-Chief of the Ocean Portal, went on PBS NewsHour to talk about the reef, its problems, and how it can be restored. Also, read her blog post on...Read more
Sep 28, 2012

Norfolk Public Library

A longshoreman stands in front of a large pile of oyster shells on waterfront pier in Atlantic City in 1910. Back then, oysters were incredibly abundant. In the late 1800s, fishermen pulled in 10 million bushels of oysters each year but, by the mid-1900s, the catch had dropped to 1 or 2 million bushels each year because of disease and overharvesting. Nowadays, the normal catch is down to 100,000...Read more
Sep 27, 2012

Steven Paton, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute

A mangrove tree crab ( Aratus pisonii ) clings to a leaf near the Smithsonian Institution’s marine laboratory on Galeta Island, Panama, part of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute . During high tide, the crabs climb up into the branches and, during low tide, climb back to the mangrove tree's roots and freshly-revealed beach to scavenge for both plant and animal food, including bits of the...Read more
Sep 17, 2012

K. Raskoff, Monterey Peninsula College, Hidden Ocean 2005, NOAA.

Alien-looking creatures like this deep-red jellyfish ( Crossota norvegica ) swim in the Arctic Sea. Learn more about Arctic sea life in our Under the Arctic Ice story, or at the home page for the Arctic Ocean Diversity project . And learn more about jellyfish !Read more
Sep 11, 2012

© Mary Parrish/Smithsonian Institution

Imagine an adult person – now triple that size. That’s the size of the great white shark ( Carcharodon carcharias ). The biggest great white sharks can reach up to 20 feet long, but most are smaller. The average female is 15-16 feet long, while males reach 11-13 feet. More about the great white shark can be found in our great white shark overview . Take the size of an adult and multiply it ten...Read more
Sep 4, 2012

Don Hurlbert/Smithsonian Institution

The larger of two giant squids on display in the Smithsonian's Sant Ocean Hall , this female was caught in a fisherman's net off the coast of Spain in 2005. It was probably 2-3 years old and, when alive, 11 meters (36 feet) long with tentacles that extended 6.7 meters (22 feet). It weighed more than 150 kilograms (330 pounds). Since then it has shrunk considerably. But, at 7.6 meters (25 feet)...Read more