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The Ocean Blog

The corkwing wrasse, or gilt-head, changes color depending on its age, sex, and breeding season. For instance, during the breeding season, males have blue spotted fins and the middle of their scales...
Zombie worms don’t crave brains: instead they seek bones. The 1 to 3 inch (2 to 7 centimeter) Osedax worms were first discovered living in the bones of a rotting gray whale on the deep sea floor,...
“Every four years, sockeyes come inland from the Pacific to spawn. The year 2010 was the largest run in 100 years, reaching more than 30 million fish. On this day, I waited for the right sunlight,...
"Devoted Dads" spread from Citizens of the Sea by Nancy Knowlton.
This purple urchin Paleopneustes cristatus is seldom seen by itself, and can be found in groups of hundreds. Dr. Dave Pawson , a senior scientist at NMNH who studies deep-sea echinoderms, is testing...
The ocean is home to many moms of all shapes and sizes: from charismatic polar bears and dolphins to small fishes and shrimps and more. Learn about some of the diverse parenting habits of marine moms...
Much like our friend the seahorse , the males of this fish raise the young. As you can see in the photograph above, the male has his clutch of eggs in his mouth. This species ( Opistognathus...
This close-up view of salps, which have aggregated together into a long chain, have brilliant red guts from eating red plankton. They were observed by researchers with the Census of Marine...
This summer, many of you have likely enjoyed feasting on crabs, be they blue, stone, or Dungeness, and a special treat will have been the big, easy morsels of claw meat. The size of this muscle is...
Bacteria are everywhere in the ocean. They live in the water, on virtually every living and non-living surface, and even inside other organisms . There are 1 million bacterial cells in every...
Over the last few days, a video of hermit crabs stampeding across the rocky shores of St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands has taken the internet by storm. Where are the hermit crabs going, and why?...
Phoenix swimming with her calf in February 2007 in the Southeast calving grounds off the coasts of Georgia and Florida. Researchers track these highly endangered whales (there are only about 450 of...
Red Phalaropes ( Phalaropus fulicarius ) are a type of sandpiper that have specialized in feeding in open water. They spin rapidly on the surface to create a small whirlpool, which draws plankton to...
The small larvae of elkhorn coral ( Acropora palmata ) settle and grow on the crustose coralline algae species Hydrolithon boergesenii .
In recent years, I have taken to watching flying fish along the Maine coast. Not the usual flying fish that skim over tropical seas, but fish dangling from the beaks of flying puffins. Puffins are...
Killer whales ( Orcinus orca ) have something in common with humans: early menopause. Read Smithsonian marine scientist Nancy Knowlton's blog post to find out more.
Just like other seahorse species, male weedy sea dragons are the ones to get 'pregnant' and give birth to the babies. To show he is ready to hold eggs, the male wrinkles part of his tail. On this...
A parent Magellanic penguin ( Spheniscus magellanicus ) sits with its big chick. Magellanic penguins live in South America, breeding in colonies along the coasts of Chile, Argentina and the Falkland...
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