Today's Catch

Apr 16, 2013
Credit:

Flickr user Paul Flandinette

Polarized sunglasses have become the norm for humans when they want to filter out the strong glare from the sunlight bouncing off of water in a horizontal direction. But how do animals do that live in the water full time see over the glare? Over time some animals, including fish, crabs and shrimp, have evolved built-in polarized vision . In addition to helping them see underwater, mantis shrimp...Read more
Apr 15, 2013
Credit:

Rod Strachan/Nature's Best Photography

These cute Adélie penguins ( Pygoscelis adeliae ) are actually having a bit of a spat. In the spring (October for them), the penguins form breeding colonies on rocky coasts with thousands of birds in a group. Krill, a tiny crustacean, is the penguins' main food source, but krill populations are being affected by climate change and the Adélie penguin populations are decreasing as a result. “This...Read more
Apr 12, 2013
Credit:

Paulyn Cartwright et al. 2007 (PLOS ONE) Link

How long have jellyfish lived in the ocean? This jellyfish fossil is from the Cambrian period, more than 500 million years ago. It was found buried in Utah —an area that used to be underwater, covered by the ocean. Fossil jellyfish are rare because they have no bones or other hard parts to turn into fossils. Instead, scientists have to look for so-called "soft fossils," when organisms are quickly...Read more
Apr 11, 2013
Credit:

Flickr user bluewavechris

Large waves are a draw for surfers, scientists and spectators alike to locations around the world. Changes to the coast and ocean floor as well as sediment flow can change the nature of a wave as it reaches shore. So when three condos were going to be built on the shore of his favorite surfing spot, a surfer turned to economics . Turns out you can quantify the value of waves by looking at how...Read more
Apr 10, 2013
Credit:

James Watt, USFWS Pacific

Check out the eyes on these Hawaiian squirrelfish ( Sargocentron xantherythrum )! Because squirrelfish are almost entirely nocturnal, they need big eyes to absorb as much moonlight and starlight as they can in the dark. During the day, they hide out in the nooks and crannies of tropical coral reefs. To defend its small hiding place, the squirrelfish grunts by grinding its teeth and stretching the...Read more
Apr 9, 2013
Credit:

Rob Peatling, Flickr

Instead of females, male seahorses carry the developing seahorse embryos in a kangaroo-like pouch. During mating season, the female deposits her eggs into the pouch, and the male fertilizes them. After about two weeks of development, out pop the seahorse fry, ready to swim off and explore the ocean world. Here is a very pregnant short-snouted seahorse ( Hippocampus breviceps ) in Australia. Read...Read more
Apr 8, 2013
Credit:

Mauritius100, Flickr

When most people think of catfish, they think of a freshwater fish. But the striped eel catfish ( Plotosus lineatus ) is found in marine systems including coral reefs, estuaries, tide pools and other coastal areas of the Indo-Western Pacific. The juveniles of the fish school in groups of up to 100, while the adults tend to stick to themselves or in smaller groups. Watch out for their spines: they...Read more
Apr 5, 2013
Credit:

Kenneth Kopp

This nudibranch, or shell-less marine snail, is making a comeback to a location it hasn't been to in years along the California coast. First discovered off the coast of Southern California in 1902, Felimare californiensis was thought to be extinct in the region since 1984 due to pollution. But the nudibranch with its blue and gold color scheme has been spotted off the Southern California coast...Read more
Apr 4, 2013
Credit:

Ari Friedlaender

Humpback whales ( Megaptera novaengliae ) can be found in Antarctic waters during the spring and summer in the Southern hemisphere, where they gorge on their main food source: tiny krill. How do they locate the small prey and maneuver their large bodies to eat? Scientists are looking at those questions and using different types of tags to learn more.Read more
Apr 3, 2013
Credit:

John Sylvester/Nature's Best Photography

Harp seals are protected in the United States by the Marine Mammal Protection Act . Although they are not considered endangered, as sea ice melting earlier and earlier each year, available harp seal breeding grounds are being lost in the North Atlantic and Arctic. “Every March, up to 200,000 harp seal pups are born on sea ice in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. In 2011, storms and lack of ice-cover due...Read more

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