Today's Catch

Dec 21, 2012
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Ever heard of a cookie-cutter shark ( Isistius brasiliensis )? They look like your average shark —sort of menacing and streamlined—but their name comes from how they feed. They eat smaller animals (like squid) whole, but also take large, round cookie-cutter shaped bites out of larger animals, such as tuna, whales, dolphins, and seals (which you can see in this picture of an elephant seal). They...Read more
Dec 20, 2012
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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 by the worm to breathe and to catch meals of plankton floating by. See more holiday-themed animals !Read more
Dec 19, 2012
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No two snowflakes are alike. Every snowflake is beautiful in its own way. But this one’s pretty creepy. The snowflake moray eel ( Echidna nebulosa ) has white, black and yellow splotches all over its body, which come together to look like snowflake designs. Moray eels eat their prey in a unique way – with two jaws. The second set of jaws is in their throat, which shoots up and grabs the prey from...Read more
Dec 18, 2012
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This newly-discovered carnivorous sponge ( Chondrocladia lyra ) was found using robotic submersibles operated by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute 10,000 feet below the surface in dark waters. It traps small crustacean prey with barbed hooks found along its branch-like limbs. Once it has caught something, the sponge covers it with a thin membrane and the digestion process begins.Read more
Dec 17, 2012
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The jingle shell ( Anomia simplex ) is a common bivalve found on the Atlantic coast of North America, amongst the more commonly known clams and oysters. As with oysters, the lower shell is glued to a hard surface. Even after the mollusk is dead, the shell keeps its beautiful and shiny exterior. The thin, translucent shells are often used in jewelry, and when strung together can sound like bells,...Read more
Dec 11, 2012
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Glen Tepke/Marine Photobank

A tufted puffin ( Fratercula cirrhata ) in flight against a gray sky in Alaska’s Pribilof Islands (USA). Puffins are charismatic seabirds that delight wildlife enthusiasts and draw tourists to the islands where they nest. Read more about these remarkable birds at the Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center .Read more
Nov 21, 2012
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S. Brooke OIMB

New, white growth emerges from a living deep-sea coral sample that was stained pink, enabling ocean scientists to measure its coral growth rate. Find out more about how ocean scientists study deep-sea corals in our Deep-sea Corals article.Read more
Nov 20, 2012
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E. Widder, ORCA, www.teamorca.org

This lanternfish ( Diaphus sp .), found in the Red Sea, has light-producing photophores along its ventral surface (belly), and a nasal light organ that acts like a headlight. Hear scientists tell stories about encountering bioluminescent marine animals in the deep sea .Read more
Nov 19, 2012
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Nico Smit

Isopods (small, shrimp-like animals) like this one ( Gnathia aureusmaculosa ) are the mosquitoes of the sea, sucking the blood of fish while they sleep. Find out more in " No Fouling Around " from the Citizens of the Sea blog series.Read more
Nov 16, 2012
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©1999 MBARI

The dumbo octopus ( Grimpoteuthis ) is a deep sea animal that lives on the ocean floor at extreme depths of 9,800 to 13,000 feet. They are small animals, around 8 inches tall, and have a pair of fins located on their mantle—their namesake—and webbing between their arms. Grimpoteuthis swim often hover just above the seafloor looking for snails, worms, and other food. Watch rare (and beautiful)...Read more

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