Invertebrates

FEATURES

Blog entry
Depending on whom you talk to, jellyfish are either fascinating, a nuisance, a toxic menace, or some combination of the above. Jellyfish plop into the media spotlight when their presence causes beach closures, or...
Blog entry MORE STORIES Blog entry MORE AUDIO / VIDEO
The ocean is home to a phenomenal diversity of marine organisms. They have...
Blog entry MORE STORIES Blog entry MORE AUDIO / VIDEO
This summer, many of you have likely enjoyed feasting on crabs, be they blue,...
Zombie worms don’t crave brains: instead they seek bones. The 1 to 3 inch (2 to...

LATEST POSTS

What are corals? Corals themselves are animals. But tropical reef-building corals have tiny plant-like organisms living in their tissue. The corals couldn’t survive without these microscopic algae–called zooxanthellae (zo-zan-...
In recent years, blooms of jellyfish, such as these moon jellies ( Aurita...
An orange brisingid starfish sits on a large reef of Lophelia pertusa, cold-...

LEARN MORE

Coral reefs are the most diverse of all marine ecosystems. They teem with life, with perhaps one quarter of all ocean...
Discover some amazing corals in this footage that shows and identifies a range of deep-sea coral species from the Juan de Fuca Canyon
In this video Smithsonian research zoologist Dr. Martha Nizinski takes viewers with her as she searches for crustaceans in the deep sea . She's particularly interested in finding squat lobsters ,...
Like octopods and cuttlefishes, giant squid have eight arms. But they use their two much longer feeding tentacles to seize prey. The tentacles have powerful suckers at the ends. More about the giant...
Dryodora glandiformis is a ctenophore found in Arctic and Northern European waters, bearing a pair of long and lovely tentacles.
The long silver tool shown here is a piece of traditional Australian fishing gear called a “yabbie pump.” Researchers use the device to collect burrowing shrimp and other fast-moving animals from the...
This close-up photo shows the tough, serrated ring around the opening of a giant squid sucker. The ring is made of chitin—the same material that’s in your fingernails. Using suction, the sucker...
This tiny, shrimplike creature is no more than 2.5 centimeters (1 inch) long, but it’s as ferocious as a shark. Its giant eyes spot prey. Huge claws grab the prey, and a tiny mouth rips it to shreds...
Recent scientific discoveries have revealed an underwater community of marine animals and other organisms that thrive in the dark depths of the ocean near hydrothermal vents and undersea volcanoes...
You may have seen the sparkle of fireflies on a summer’s night. The fireflies produce light through a chemical reaction in their glowing abdomens, a process known as bioluminescence. But did you know...
Fever. Aching muscles. Coughing. Sniffling. It’s flu season . Have you had your shot? If so, thank a horseshoe crab. In fact, if you’ve been put on an IV, had a medical device implanted, or received...
This deep-sea urchin ( Echinocrepis rostrata ) is an important “bulldozer.” It turns over sediment and exposes prey as it moves across the ocean floor, leaving a trail of tracks behind. This photo...
This image from a scanning electron micrograph magnifies the tiny teeth that cover the surface of the giant squid’s tongue-like organ, or radula . Seven rows of sharp teeth help direct tiny pieces of...
Not all slugs (snails without shells) are slimy brown pests found in your backyard garden. In the ocean they come in a huge variety of colors — some match the background and are hard to spot, but...
This is the first photograph of a live giant squid ( Architeuthis ) in its natural habitat. It was taken in 2004 by two Japanese researchers who had suspended a long line from their research vessel...
This red octopod ( Stauroteuthis syrtensis ) shines in a novel way. Suckers stretching in a single row down each arm flash on and off. The glowing-sucker octopod drifts through deep waters off the...
The festive Christmas tree worm ( Spirobranchus giganteus ) lives on tropical coral reefs and resembles a fluffy fir tree adorned with ornaments. The multi-functional branch-like appendages are used...
A longshoreman stands in front of a large pile of oyster shells on waterfront pier in Atlantic City in 1910. Back then, oysters were incredibly abundant. In the late 1800s, fishermen pulled in 10...
In the aftermath of the Gulf oil spill, what is the effect of oil on invertebrates like jellyfish, clams, crabs, sea stars, and plankton? The scope of the damage is more easily observed among birds...
Subscribe to Invertebrates