Today's Catch

Apr 14, 2014
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The Wales Inupiaq Sea Ice Dictionary, courtesy of Igor Krupnik (NMNH)

To people living in warm climates, all ice looks the same. But if you live day-in and day-out on sea ice, like the Inupiaq people of Alaska, you would find that there are many kinds of ice, all distinct. In fact, the Inupiaq have more than 100 names for different kinds of sea ice, illustrated here. A female walrus and her calf ( isavgalik ) rest on ice ( nunavait ) in the midst of scattered pack...Read more
Apr 11, 2014
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Marco Faasse, World Register of Marine Species

This ctenophore (a stingless jellyfish-like animal) is native to the east coast of North and South America. In 1982, it was discovered in the Black Sea, where it was transported by ballast water . It subsequently spread to the Caspian Sea. In both places it multiplied and formed immense populations. The sea walnuts contributed to the collapse of local fisheries because they feed on zooplankton...Read more
Apr 10, 2014
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Justin Hofman/Nature's Best Photography

The largest of all seal species, the southern elephant seal ( Mirounga leonina ) is found in chilly Antarctic and Subantarctic waters. The male seals dive as deep as 1,430 meters (over 4,600 feet) and stay at depth for up to two hours. “The southern elephant seal is a truly restrained behemoth. Males can grow to be five times larger than females, up to 5,000 pounds. This elephant seal may look...Read more
Apr 9, 2014
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Jessica Goodheart

This nudibranch has a few tricks up its sleeve: it steals jellyfish tentacles to use as weapons again its own enemies. How does it do this? Many fleshy, tentacle-like growths, called cerata (singular: ceras), project off its back. After the nudibranch eats the tentacles of a jellyfish, anemone, coral, or other stinging animal, the stolen stinging cells pass through the digestive gland, which is...Read more
Apr 8, 2014
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NOAA/OAR/National Undersea Research Program (NURP)

A beroid ctenophore lunges toward prey with its mouth wide open. Beroid comb jellies don't have tentacles to catch prey: instead, they can open their mouths and snap them shut tight to trap prey inside. And one of their main prey items is other jellies—one species ( Beroe cucumis ) feeds exclusively on them !Read more
Apr 7, 2014
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Jérôme Petit, Moorea Biocode Project

Cooks Bay in Moorea is one of the places that researchers are scouring in their quest to collect one of every life form big enough to pick up with tweezers. In the background is Mt. Rotui—the Tahitian word for octopus. More about the Island of Moorea can be found in our Scientists catalog life on the Island of Moorea featured story .Read more
Apr 4, 2014
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Jiro Sakaue

The Palauan primitive cave eel ( Protanguilla palau ) has an evolutionary history that dates back some 200 million years . Because of this and the fact that it has retained some primitive features, scientists are recognizing it as a 'living fossil.' A Japanese research diver, Jiro Sakaue, found the first specimen in February 2009, in a cave of a reef near the Republic of Palau. After extensive...Read more
Apr 3, 2014
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Flickr User Critidoc

This bait ball shows how small fish can react when larger predators are near by gathering tightly together in a ball-like formation that exposes the least number of fish. Fish species found in the open ocean are especially in need of some protection, as they don't have the cracks and crevices that fish in coastal or coral reef habitats have to hide away. Instead, they hide behind one another to...Read more
Apr 2, 2014
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Pamela Hallock/University of South Florida

In this photo of a shallow coral reef in the Pacific there are three species of forams . On the left, Peneroplis planatus . In the center, Amphistegina lessonii . And on the right, Laevipeneroplis sp. Their colors come from the symbiotic algae that live inside the foram shells. Just like corals, these forams are subject to bleaching when ocean temperatures get high enough to kill off the colorful...Read more
Apr 1, 2014
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Tsunemi Kubodera of the National Museum of Nature and Science of Japan/AP

In 2006, this female giant squid attacked bait suspended beneath a Japanese research vessel off the coast of Japan in the Ogasawara Islands . This screenshot resulted when the research team pulled the 7-meter (24-foot) squid to the surface and videotaped her . It was the first time a giant squid was filmed alive. In 2012, researchers were able to capture video of a living giant squid in its...Read more

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