Today's Catch

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...
Elephant seals' eyes are specialized to dim light and, in particular, to light at the wavelength of 485 nm -- which is the same wavelength given off by the bioluminescent lanternfish that are the seals' main prey.

Elephant Seals Laze on the Beach

These southern elephant seals ( Mirounga leonina ) may look like beach bums, but when they are in the water hunting, they are anything but. Satellite tracking by tagging the animals has found that, during the 10 months they spend at sea, elephant...
An underwater photo of a school of jacks and a scuba diver

Bigeye Jacks and Diver Balicasag, Philippines

"I was photographing this beautiful school of jacks when a diver slowly approached from beneath. I shifted my position to capture the moment he entered the ball of fish. Seconds later, he was completely immersed in the school.” -- Nature's Best...
Blackdevil Fish

Blackdevil Fish

Blackdevil fish ( Melanocetus johnsonii ) are quintessential monsters from the deep . The female lurks in the dark, drawing in prey with her glowing lure, while the male attaches to her like a blood-sucking parasite. Females can swallow prey larger...
A NASA satellite image from August 23, 2011 of Hurricane Irene, the Atlantic basin's first hurricane of 2011.

Hurricane Irene

Even when viewed from space, Hurricane Irene looks sizable. When a NASA satellite took this image on August 23, 2011 the storm was 410 miles in diameter, with clouds covering eastern Cuba. Irene is the first Atlantic hurricane of 2011. Read about...

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