Today's Catch

May 29, 2012

© Trevor Sewell/Electron Microscope Unit, University of Cape Town

Great White Sharks are stealthy hunters and the secret is in their skin. Shark skin is covered by tiny flat V-shaped scales, called dermal denticles, that are more like teeth than fish scales. These denticles decrease drag and turbulence, allowing the shark to swim faster and more quietly. Olympian swimsuit designers have taken a page from the shark’s playbook and created a fabric that mimics the...Read more
May 21, 2012

Smithsonian Institution

Fitting nine of anything on two fingers is impressive. These mollusks and echinoderms are a teeny-tiny sample of the ocean's biodiversity. The Census of Marine Life estimates that there are at least one million species of plants and animals in the sea -- and most have not been described. The nine animals in this photo were collected by Smithsonian researchers in the southern Caribbean, near...Read more
May 20, 2012

Flickr user Graham Busby, "buzzthediver"

A mantis shrimp ( Odontodactylus scyllarus ) holds her clutch of eggs in her clubbed claws. Usually these claws are weapons that punch hard-shelled prey at speeds of more than 50 miles an hour. Mantis shrimp have compound stalked eyes that allow them to see an array of colors that human eyes cannot - they can even see ultraviolet light and polarized patterns. Check out this Nature's Best...Read more
May 18, 2012

Ian Gordon / Auscape International

Largely due to overfishing, the Southern Bluefin Tuna is listed as " critically endangered ." If its population continues to decline, the species faces the possibility of extinction. It's not alone. Scientists classified the Atlantic Bluefin Tuna as "endangered" and Bigeye Tuna as "vulnerable." See more endangered species on our Endangered Vertebrates Slideshow .Read more
May 16, 2012

Robert Schwemmer, CINMS, NOAA

Male northern elephant seals face off on the beach by vocalizing through their extended noses, called proboscises. Every winter, when the seals return to the beach where they were born to breed, males arrive first to tussle for territory. The winners of these fights are the "alpha" males, and they get the biggest and best territories. After the beachfront property is divvied among the alpha males...Read more
May 10, 2012

Steven Kovacs, Moore Haven, Florida, USA,

“ This moray eel was resting among some hard coral and was mesmerized by my dive lights, making it a very cooperative subject. The moray eel rhythmically opens and closes its mouth to move water through its gills and facilitate respiration, giving it the appearance of being aggressive and making for a dramatic portrait.” -- Nature's Best photographer, Steven Kovacs See a slideshow of other photos...Read more
May 4, 2012

FishWise Professional

The longspine seahorse ( Hippocampus histrix ), named for the spines covering its body, has a long snout and eyes that move independently of each other. Like other seahorses, the male carries the eggs and gives birth. Check out some other seahorse species - the pygmy seahorse and the longsnout seahorse .Read more
Apr 24, 2012

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, NOAA Research Permit #15488

Phoenix, the North Atlantic right whale whose replica hangs from the ceiling of the Sant Ocean Hall at the National Museum of Natural History, was sighted with a calf off of Amelia Island in Florida on February 22, 2012. Phoenix was first sighted in 1987 with her mother off the Georgia coast. Read more about right whales and Phoenix in our photo essay .Read more
Apr 20, 2012


NOAA is working with students across the globe to place floating buoys throughout the ocean through their Adopt a Drifter Program . The buoys will drift with the help of ocean currents and record the sea surface temperature and location of the buoy as they travel. The information gained from the buoys can help track oil spills, improve weather forecasts and better understand where animal and...Read more
Apr 13, 2012

Lori Johnston, NOAA

The Titanic's sinking around 100 years ago created a new underwater habitat for organisms: the wreck itself. One of these is a species of bacteria -- named Halomonas titanicae after the great ship -- that lives inside icicle-like growths of rust, called "rusticles." These bacteria eat iron in the ship's hull and they will eventually consume the entire ship, recycling the nutrients into the ocean...Read more