Today's Catch

Aug 19, 2015

Courtesy of Alexander Semenov, Flickr

This pair of sea butterflies ( Limacina helicina ) flutter not far from the ocean's surface in the Arctic. Sea butterflies are a type of sea snail, but instead of dragging themselves around the seafloor with a muscular foot, they flap their adapted feet like butterfly wings! They are very small—rarely exceeding 1 centimeter long—but very abundant in some areas of the Arctic Ocean, where they feed...Read more
Aug 18, 2015

Jessica Goodheart

This nudibranch has a few tricks up its sleeve: it steals jellyfish tentacles to use as weapons against its own enemies. How does it do this? Many fleshy, tentacle-like growths, called cerata (singular: ceras), project off its back. After the nudibranch eats the tentacles of a jellyfish, anemone, coral, or other stinging animal, the stolen stinging cells pass through the digestive gland, which is...Read more
Aug 17, 2015

Freshwater and Marine Image Bank, University of Washington Libraries Digital Collections

The deep-sea dragonfish ( Stomiidae ), also called the barbeled dragonfish, uses it's fang-like teeth to grab prey in its deep-sea environment . Like other deep-sea organisms, dragonfish have bioluminescent photophores and other adaptations that allow them to make do at extreme depths. See a photo of a dragonfish jaw up-close , and see more photos of spectacular deep-sea animals .Read more
Aug 14, 2015

Jiro Sakaue

The Palauan primitive cave eel ( Protanguilla palau ) has an evolutionary history that dates back some 200 million years . Because of this and the fact that it has retained some primitive features, scientists are recognizing it as a 'living fossil.' A Japanese research diver, Jiro Sakaue, found the first specimen in February 2009, in a cave of a reef near the Republic of Palau. After extensive...Read more
Aug 13, 2015

Justin Hofman/Nature's Best Photography

The largest of all seal species, the southern elephant seal ( Mirounga leonina ) is found in chilly Antarctic and Subantarctic waters. The male seals dive as deep as 1,430 meters (over 4,600 feet) and stay at depth for up to two hours. “The southern elephant seal is a truly restrained behemoth. Males can grow to be five times larger than females, up to 5,000 pounds. This elephant seal may look...Read more
Aug 12, 2015
Watch how a group of 9 staff members and 487 volunteers from Washed Ashore , a non-profit in Bandon, Oregon, made "Flash" the marlin―an enormous sculpture that weighs in at 850 pounds. The work of art is made only from pieces of plastic that have washed up on the beach, after being cleaned and sorted by color.Read more
Aug 11, 2015

NOAA/OAR/National Undersea Research Program (NURP)

A beroid ctenophore lunges toward prey with its mouth wide open. Beroid comb jellies don't have tentacles to catch prey: instead, they can open their mouths and snap them shut tight to trap prey inside. And one of their main prey items is other jellies—one species ( Beroe cucumis ) feeds exclusively on them !Read more
Aug 10, 2015

Chip Clark/Smithsonian Institution

There are about 4 million specimens in the fish collection housed at the National Museum of Natural History . It is the largest of its kind in the world. Learn how these collections helped to solve an international scientific mystery .Read more
Aug 7, 2015

Pamela Hallock/University of South Florida

In this photo of a shallow coral reef in the Pacific there are three species of forams . On the left, Peneroplis planatus . In the center, Amphistegina lessonii . And on the right, Laevipeneroplis sp. Their colors come from the symbiotic algae that live inside the foram shells. Just like corals, these forams are subject to bleaching when ocean temperatures get high enough to kill off the colorful...Read more
Aug 6, 2015

David Henshaw

"A juvenile California sea lion performing close to the camera. The speed and elegance of these creatures is really unmatched in the oceans," wrote David Henshaw of his image , a winning selection in the Portraits of Planet Ocean Flickr contest . California sea lions ( Zalophus californianus ) are social animals, forming groups of hundreds to thousands of animals that gather onshore to breed...Read more