Today's Catch

Jul 7, 2015
Credit:© Chip Clark/Smithsonian Institution
The smallest shark, a dwarf lantern shark ( Etmopterus perryi ) is smaller than a human hand. It's rarely seen and little is known about it, having only been observed a few times off the northern tip of South America at depths between 283–439 meters (928–1,440 feet). The specimen pictured here was discovered in the Caribbean Sea off the coast of Colombia in 1985 at a depth of 290 m (950 ft). Like...Read more
Jul 6, 2015

Flickr User Telemachus

Sharks have young in three different ways. After internal fertilization, some species lay a thick egg case that encloses the shark embryo (seen in the photo here). Most species are ovoviviparous, which means that the shark hatches and develops within the female shark and is born live. A third way (viviparous) is similar to human development, where the young shark grows within the female and gets...Read more
Jul 2, 2015
Credit:© Hauke Flores, AWI
In Antarctica's Southern Ocean swims a beautiful polychaete (bristly worm) called Tomopteris carpenteri , which is adorned with alternating red and transparent bands. The largest species in its genus, it it found throughout the water column, including the deep sea, where this photo was taken by Census of Marine Life researchers. Most polychaetes swim in the open water using their parapodia, the...Read more
Jul 1, 2015

L. Madin, Woods Hole Oceanographic Inst. (WHOI) (

In the Coral Triangle, a biodiverse area between Indonesia and the Philippines, scientists discovered this swimming polychaete (bristly worm), which they have dubbed the "squidworm." Using a remotely operated vehicle, the researchers with the Census of Marine Zooplankton (CMarZ), a project of the Census of Marine Life , dove 1.8 miles (2,800 meters) to first discover Teuthidodrilus samae in 2007...Read more
Jun 30, 2015

David Shale/MAR-ECO, Census of Marine Life

This beautiful jewel squid ( Histioteuthis bonnellii ) can be found swimming above the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, at depths of 500-2,000 meters (1,640-6,562 feet). The “jewels” covering the body are bioluminescent photophores. But these squids can't bargain for their lives with those jewels: they have been found in the stomachs of sperm whales, swordfish and sharks.Read more
Jun 29, 2015

Alan D. Wilson

The polar bear ( Ursus maritimus ) is found in the Arctic and classified as a vulnerable species by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. This marine mammal can swim more than 30 miles when sea ice has receded due to warm temperatures. Listen to a podcast from Encyclopedia of Life that tells the story of two personal encounters with a polar bear, and find out more about its Arctic home .Read more
Jun 26, 2015

Lawrence Madin, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Climate and sea changes in the Southern Ocean create conditions that favor the growth of salps over krill , the latter of which are a vital food source for seals, whales, and penguins. Salps are filter-feeding tunicates that float through the water column, sometimes forming long salp chains, consuming phytoplankton and using jet propulsion to move. Read about their complex life history in “ The...Read more
Jun 25, 2015

Mark Rosenstein, Flickr

The toothy goby or common ghost goby ( Pleurosicya mossambica ) lives among soft corals and sponges in the Indo-Pacific ocean. The relationship it has with its host is commensal , which means the goby benefits from the protection and habitat in the corals, but the coral doesn't get hurt or benefit from the relationship. Many of the other 2000 or so species of gobies form such symbiotic...Read more
Jun 24, 2015

Carl Salonen

"Two arrow crabs in a cup coral, lit from behind. It seemed to be a scene from a 1960s monster movie," wrote Carl Salonen of his image , a winning selection in the Portraits of Planet Ocean Flickr contest . Arrow crabs ( Stenorhynchus seticornis ) are small, spider-like crabs that live on coral reefs. Nocturnal animals, they leave their homes—often rocky crevices, sponges, corals, anemones or...Read more
Jun 23, 2015

© 2002 MBARI

All squid species have long been thought to lay their egg clusters on the sea floor and move on. Then in 2005, scientists from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) observed a deep-sea squid species ( Gonatus onyx ) that keeps close watch over her eggs . Suspended from the squid's arms by hooks, the female squid carries her brood of roughly 3,000 eggs with her to keep them safe at...Read more