Today's Catch

Coral Sand

Coral Sand Under a Microscope

Coral sand is aptly named: it's sand made up of tiny bits of coral and other ocean animals such as foraminifera , molluscs, and crustaceans. This image, taken at 100x zoom, took 18th place in the 2012 Nikon Small World photomicrography competition.
Red coral necklaces in a display window. Harvesting deep-sea coral to produce jewelry like this threatens these ecosystems.

Coral for Sale

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...
New deep sea expeditions reveal new species underwater.

New Jelly Species: 'Bathykorus bouilloni'

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...
The tough serrated ring around the opening grips the squid’s prey.

Giant Squid Sucker

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...
A photo of a squid using bioluminescence to hide in the deep sea.

Midwater Squid, Abralia veranyi

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...

Where did Half of the Great Barrier Reef's Coral Go?

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...
A mangrove tree crab clings to a leaf near a Smithsonian marine laboratory in Panama.

Mangrove Tree Crab

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...
A deep red jellyfish, Crossota norvegica, floats in the water.

Deep-Red Jellyfish

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...
Size comparison between humans, modern Great White Sharks and the ancient Giant Megatooth.

How Big are Great White Sharks?

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...
A female giant squid being prepared for display.

Female Giant Squid

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...