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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...
Zombie worms don’t crave brains: instead they seek bones. The 1 to 3 inch (2 to...
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Marine parasites may be small in size, but they can be present in very high...
During the summer of 1998, scientists at the Virginia Institute of Marine...

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In recent years, blooms of jellyfish, such as these moon jellies ( Aurita aurita ) in the Chesapeake Bay, have become more common around the world for a number of different reasons . One result of these blooms is that there is...
An orange brisingid starfish sits on a large reef of Lophelia pertusa, cold-...
These watercolor sketches of Trapezia crabs were drawn by Frederick Bayer, a...

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Jellyfish and comb jellies are gelatinous animals that drift through the ocean's water column around the world. They are...
This bright purple sea star is a new species found by the Census of Coral Reef Ecosystems , a project of the Census of Marine Life. This particular specimen was seen on the reefs of the French...
The sargassum is coated with encrusting organisms, such as bryozoans and hydroids, that use it as a perch to filter feed in the oceanic waters, as well as crustaceans such as thos swimming crab...
Octopi (Or octopuses, both are technically correct) are renowned as one of the smartest animals alive. With no bones except for their sharp beak, they can fit through almost any hole or crevice...
Amidst the bright blue tufts and the dark blue fringes of the beautiful Risbecia tryoni , you might not even notice the red emperor shrimp. The two animals are native to the Indo-Pacific region, and...
This close-up photo of a right whale's head shows dozens of hitchhikers—tiny crustaceans known as whale lice, or cyamid amphipods. They live on the rough patches of skin (known as callosities) on...
A coral hermit crab, Paguritta harmsi , about the size of two grains of rice, living in coral in the waters of Japan's Ogasawara Islands.
Sponges are animals that eat tiny food particles as they pump water through their bodies. They are very common on Caribbean coral reefs, and come in all shapes, sizes and colors. There is great...
In a decade long project, which ended in October 2010, scientists with the Census of Marine Life traveled the world cataloging the ocean’s life forms. From Australia to China to the Gulf of Mexico...
I have a vivid childhood memory of sitting under the Blue Whale model hanging in the Natural History Museum in London, eating an ice cream and wondering “How in the world did that whale get so big?”...
A giant squid left this tentacle behind after getting entangled on a hook below a Japanese research vessel, and eventually escaping. An underwater camera took footage of the event—the first time a...
Light refracts off the comb-rows of the Mertensia ovum , a ctenophore , producing stripes of rainbow colors . The jelly eats copepods and small crustaceans that become stuck to its sticky tentacles...
Using a deep-diving ROV, the crew aboard Oceana’s research vessel Ranger were surprised to discover large colonies of deep-sea white coral in the Western Mediterranean Sea in July 2010. Most of the...
Scypholanceola aestiva looks like an armored alien of the deep. It doesn’t have compound eyes like other hyperiids, but instead sees variations in light using reflective cups embedded in 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...
A huge colony of brittlestars (likely Ophiacantha rosea ) covers the peak of a seamount in the deep ocean. What’s the attraction? Food! Their arms reach out for tiny food particles carried by the...
This bearded fireworm ( Hermodice carunculata ) must have a strong stomach -- it’s sucking on fire coral ( Millepora sp. ), which would give the unlucky snorkeler a nasty sting. Encountered in St...
Weighing 600 pounds (around 272kg) and having a 30 foot (around 9 meters) arm span, the largest recorded giant pacific octopus was truly enormous. Giant pacific octopuses are powerful predators that...
Dr. Clyde Roper recounts the tale of his encounter with a giant squid specimen ( Architeuthis dux) that was found washed up on a Massachusetts beach in this excerpt from "Eyeball to Eyeball," an...
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