Today's Catch

May 8, 2013
Credit:

© David Shale

The long barbel on the chin of this dragonfish ( Stomias boa ) has a glowing tip that may attract prey. With its large mouth and sharp, curved teeth, the fish makes quick work of any prey that venture too close. Scaly dragonfish live at depths of 200-1,500 meters (656-4,921 feet) and grow up to 32 centimeters (12.6 inches) long. More about deep ocean can be found in the Deep Ocean Exploration...Read more
May 7, 2013
Credit:

© 2004 Smithsonian Institution

This beautiful bromeliad, also called an air plant because it gets its nutrients and water from the air, is a flowering plant in the pineapple family. All of them are epiphytes, meaning they get their support from and grow on other plants. Many are found in mangrove forests, such as this one making house on a mangrove root. It's not known whether they provide any benefit to the trees, but when...Read more
May 6, 2013
Credit:

NOAA Marine Debris Program

The “garbage patches,” as referred to in the media, are areas of marine debris concentration in the North Pacific Ocean, circulated by the North Pacific gyre. The gyre spreads across the Pacific Ocean from Japan to the western US, and north-south from California to Hawaii. Its total size isn't well defined because there are numerous factors that affect the location, size, and strength currents...Read more
May 3, 2013
Credit:

Patrick Decaluwe / Guylian Seahorses of the World 2010, Courtesy of Project Seahorse.

There are 47 different species of seahorses and 14 of those were discovered in the last eight years, including Pontoh's pygmy seahorse ( Hippocampus pontohi ), which was officially named in 2008. Seahorses’ ability to change their color and shape to blend in with their environment makes identification of individual species challenging. Because of this, some researchers previously thought there...Read more
May 2, 2013
Credit:

Bastian Bentlage

This venomous box jelly ( Chiropsalmus quadrumanus ) was collected off the coast of South Carolina. The specimen now resides in the Smithsonian’s marine collection . It's venomous sting can be lethal, especially to small children. Listen to Podcast of Life: Box Jellies and check out the jellyfish and comb jellies overview to learn more about jellies.Read more
May 1, 2013
Credit:

Mary Parrish/Smithsonian Institution

These "elevator" rudists, an ancient bivalve , used one long heavy valve to anchor themselves in the sediment. They used their tentacles (shown here in pink) to filter food from the sea water. Discover more about the ancient ocean at our feature Ocean Over Time .Read more
Apr 30, 2013
Dr. Francisco Chavez of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute estimates that a million tons of CO 2 enter the ocean hourly. His studies in Peru explore the phenomenon of ocean acidification , which occurs when waters have high concentrations of CO 2 . More about world climate change can be found in our Climate Change featured story .Read more
Apr 29, 2013
Credit:

Flickr user PacificKlaus

Like other sea snakes , the turtle-headed sea snake ( Emydocephalus annulatus ) has fangs and venom. But its venom is weak so, instead of defending with a bite, the species tends to react to danger by swimming back to a crack or crevice to hide. For food, the sea snake sneaks around coral reefs looking for fish eggs attached to coral or rocks. It then uses a large tooth-like scale on each side of...Read more
Apr 26, 2013
At Carrie Bow Cay in Belize , Dr. Candy Feller explains her research on the effect of excess nutrients on mangrove swamps. Feller runs the Animal-Plant Interaction Lab at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. See a photo of a tree-climbing crab and some of the other animals that make these coastal ecosystems their home in our Mangrove section .Read more
Apr 25, 2013
Credit:

Smithsonian Institution

Starksia blennies, small fish with elongated bodies, generally native to shallow to moderately deep rock and coral reefs in the western Atlantic and eastern Pacific oceans, have been well-studied for more than 100 years. It would have been reasonable to assume that there was little about the group left to discover. Using modern genetic analysis combined with traditional examination of morphology...Read more

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