Today's Catch

Dec 24, 2013
Credit:

Copyright © Alexander Semenov

This is a tree topper unlike any other! Reminiscent of a freshly made snow angel, these pteropods are actually shell-less sea snails ( Clione limacina ). Unlike the typical snail, they flap their adapted foot ‘wings’ to get around in the water column. They are extremely small, with the largest species reaching only 5 centimeters long. Sea angels' mostly eat their relatives, the sea butterflies ,...Read more
Dec 23, 2013
Credit:

Joseph Poupin, Institut de Recherche de l'Ecole Naval

Ghost crabs are often seen scuttling quickly along beaches at night, when they emerge from their burrows to feed, and can be difficult to photograph in the wild. They are common in Moorea, an island in the Pacific Ocean, where this specimen was collected. More about the Moorea can be found in the article "Scientists Catalog Life on the Island of Moorea . "Read more
Dec 20, 2013
Credit:

Wikimedia User "Mtpaley"

An emperor penguin chick ( Aptenodytes forsteri ) huddles under its mother's legs to keep warm in the long Antarctic winter. Learn more about research on emperor penguins and other Antarctic creatures .Read more
Dec 19, 2013
Credit:

Raphael Williams

A coral ( Montastraea faveolata ) has just spawned. Each of the hundreds of polyps living in the colony releases a small pink bundle of sperm and eggs. Read more about coral spawing and watch a spawning event .Read more
Dec 18, 2013
Credit:

Seabird McKeon

The Sargassum frogfish Histrio histrio (Antennariidae) is a small but voracious predator - it can ingest animals up to it’s own size! The fins of the frogfish are perfect for creeping around in the algae and stalking unsuspecting prey. Off the coast of Belize, Smithsonian Marine Science Network postdoctoral fellow, Seabird McKeon, studies floating seaweeds and the minuscule animals that call them...Read more
Dec 17, 2013
Credit:

© osf.co.uk. All rights reserved.

In this close-up photo, you can actually see the photosynthetic algae, or zooxanthellae, living inside a tiny coral polyp. Look for the brownish-green specks in the colorless polyp. Corals depend on these algae for food and for some of their oxygen. To learn more about coral reefs, explore our featured ecosystem Coral Reefs.Read more
Dec 16, 2013
Credit:

Rod Mast/Marine Photobank

A Galapagos sea lion ( Zalophus wollebaeki ) rests on a beach in Ecuador. The population of these charming animals swings wildly during El Niño events, but is declining overall. They are currently listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List . See more pictures of animals at risk .Read more
Dec 13, 2013
Credit:

©Clyde F.E. Roper

Sperm whales have conical teeth on their long, narrow, lower jaw. The teeth fit neatly into sockets in the upper jaw, which has no teeth. This arrangement is a perfect adaptation for slurping up soft-bodied squids—giant or otherwise. The sperm whale is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN's Red List of Threatened Species .Read more
Dec 12, 2013
Credit:

Brian Gratwicke, Flickr

These large jellyfish ( Chrysaora fuscescens ) are most commonly found along the coasts of California and Oregon. (They're also popular in the displays of public aquaria.) Their bells can grow to a diameter of around 1 foot ( 30 cm) , with red stinging tentacles and oral arms extending far below. Pacific sea nettles have a varied diet, which includes fish, comb jellies, floating snails, and other...Read more
Dec 11, 2013
Credit:

©James D. Watt/Ocean Stock

This bluefin trevally is lucky to call Hawaii’s Maro Coral Reef, part of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument , its home. Maro is the largest reef in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands and just one of the many marine ecosystems protected in the 140,000 square miles of Papahānaumokuākea, one of the largest marine protected areas in the world. Learn more about Papahānaumokuākea and other...Read more

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