Today's Catch

Nov 19, 2015
Credit:

Ari Friedlaender

Humpback whales ( Megaptera novaengliae ) can be found in Antarctic waters during the spring and summer in the Southern hemisphere, where they gorge on their main food source: tiny krill. How do they locate the small prey and maneuver their large bodies to eat? Scientists are looking at those questions and using different types of tags to learn more.Read more
Nov 17, 2015
Credit:

Richard Wylie/Nature's Best Photography

Weedy seadragons ( Phyllopteryx taeniolatus ) are found off the coast of south and east Australia. Just like seahorses , the male seadragon is tasked with caring for its eggs. The bright pink eggs are placed by the female on a brood patch on the underside of the male where they are incubated and then hatch after about six weeks. “The male weedy seadragon is entrusted with the pink, fertilized...Read more
Nov 16, 2015
Credit:

Howard J. Spero/University of California, Davis

This foraminifera was collected as it floated about 3 meters below the surface off the coast of Puerto Rico. The central dark area is the shell surrounded by spines. The tiny yellow dots are symbiotic algae, which live in the protoplasm of the host organism. When the foraminifer dies, the spines fall off and only the shell is preserved in the fossil record. Shell building animals like forams will...Read more
Nov 13, 2015
Credit:

Seabird McKeon

Sargassum fluitans , a.k.a. “Gulfweed,” forms dense clumps up to the size of a beach ball that slowly rotate as they drift. The fronds are quite dense, but if you look carefully, sometimes you can see hints of the rich community that hides in the floating sargassum. Off the coast of Belize, Smithsonian Marine Science Network postdoctoral fellow, Seabird McKeon, studies floating seaweeds and the...Read more
Nov 12, 2015
Credit:

© Alexander Semenov Link

Stinging cells (nematocysts) line the tentacles of this moon jelly ( Aurelia aurita ). Upon contact with prey or a predator, a venom-laden harpoon shoots out to stun or kill. Read more about jellyfish anatomy in our jellyfish and comb jellies overview page .Read more
Nov 10, 2015
Credit:

Jose Alejandro Alvarez

The larger fish in this picture are called sweetlips ( Plectorhinchus ) because of their big, fleshy lips. There are over thirty species of sweetlips, which tend to live on coral reefs in small groups. “On an afternoon dive, I spotted a small group of sweetlips in the current among a shoal of juvenile convict blennies. It took me some time to get close to the fish without spooking them. I took...Read more
Nov 9, 2015
Credit:

Jeff Gage/Florida Museum of Natural History

This well-preserved fossil is the only intact partial skull ever found of a white shark that lived about 6.5 million years ago called Carcharodon hubbelli . The fossil jaw contains 222 teeth, some in rows up to six teeth deep, and may provide evidence that modern day great white sharks evolved from the ancestors of mako sharks, not the megalodon.Read more
Nov 6, 2015
Credit:

Kenneth Kopp

This nudibranch, or shell-less marine snail, is making a comeback to a location it hasn't been to in years along the California coast. First discovered off the coast of Southern California in 1902, Felimare californiensis was thought to be extinct in the region since 1984 due to pollution. But the nudibranch with its blue and gold color scheme has been spotted off the Southern California coast...Read more
Nov 5, 2015
Credit:

John Sylvester/Nature's Best Photography

Harp seals are protected in the United States by the Marine Mammal Protection Act . Although they are not considered endangered, as sea ice melting earlier and earlier each year, available harp seal breeding grounds are being lost in the North Atlantic and Arctic. “Every March, up to 200,000 harp seal pups are born on sea ice in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. In 2011, storms and lack of ice-cover due...Read more
Nov 4, 2015
Credit:

Allen Collins

This rare staurozoan , or stalked jellyfish ( Haliclystus californiensis ) is about 2 centimeters in length and was collected off the coast of California. Unlike the traditional bell-shaped floating jellyfish, staurozoans live attached to rocks or other hard surfaces and mostly live in cold water. They tend to blend in with their surroundings, so often go unnoticed except to those who seek them...Read more

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