The Sea’s Strangest Square Mile
Lightning-quick eels! Coral-colored, pregnant frogfish stuffing their bellies with wriggling prey! Baby cuttlefish!! BABY CUTTLEFISH!!!
Posts tagged animals.
Noctilucas scintillans- a bioluminescent dinoflagellate also called the sea sparkle.
Because they spend so much time in remote waters, and don’t survive in captivity, great white sharks are deeply mysterious creatures. But over the last ten years, biologists have been able to track them using electronic tags which record their position and depth, and the ocean temperature.
On the face of it, that information can’t tell you what the sharks are actually doing. But Salvador Jorgensen of the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, California, and colleagues have developed a new statistical analysis that picks out patterns of behaviour from the tagging data.
It seems to confirm earlier suggestions that the sharks have a breeding ground in the east Pacific. What’s more, it suggests that the males go there to show off side-by-side in front of the choosy females – cattle-market style.
Watch helplessly as this mussel is slowly & inexorably consumed by a sea star. Oh yeah, you’re watching from inside the shell.
This is so cool! You might not know this about sea stars, but certain species have the ability to invert a portion of their stomach and digest their prey from outside their body. If you’re an invertebrate, you can’t exactly crack open a shell the way a bird can.
This sea star pulls open the mussel shell slightly, inserts its stomach and releases a flood of digestive enzymes that dissolve its prey from the inside. You can watch that happen, sped up in the video above.
No word on whether the sea star also releases a white wine/butter sauce.
(via Deep Sea News)
Photograph by Alessandro Kaitner (via Australian Sea Lion Picture — Animal Wallpaper — National Geographic Photo of the Day)
Ancient Pygmy Pipehorse Species Found
by Helen Scales
Fossils of a new species of pygmy pipehorse—a relative of the seahorse—have been discovered in Slovenia. Scientists discovered the 1-in-long (2.5-cm-long) species—dubbed Hippotropiscis frenki—in a fossil-rich region called the Tunjice Hills, where the team also found the oldest known seahorse fossils in 2009.
Pygmy pipehorses are thought to be an evolutionary link between seahorses and their close relatives, including pipefish and seadragons. The animals share so many features that at first study leader Jure Žalohar and colleagues thought the newfound fossils belonged to another type of ancient seahorse. Modern pygmy pipehorses also look and behave a lot like seahorses—pygmy pipehorse males, for instance, care for their fertilized eggs in a special pouch.
“The only major difference is that [pygmy pipehorses] do not swim upright,” Žalohar, a geologist at the University of Ljubljana, said by email…
(read more: National Geo) (images: Jure Žalohar)
Starfish eating fish.
I’d like to take a moment to appreciate the awesomeness of the creature known as Pycnopodia helianthoides aka the sunflower sea star. This sea ‘star’ grows anywhere from 16 to 24 appendages, hardly star-like. Feeding on members of its own phylum (sea urchins), and family (other sea stars), it ejects its stomach from itself, engulfing its prey and liquefying it, leaving nothing but their skeletons.
They can be found all along the Pacific coast from southern California to Alaska; the largest inhabit the waters of the Puget Sound, British Colombia, and Alaska.
new favorite animal.
A translucent body disguises a larval flounder to keep it safe from predators. It will lose this defense mechanism later in life. Flounder undergo several striking physical transformations during their lifetimes. Very young flounder swim upright and have an eye on each side of their face. As they age the fish begin to swim on their sides and one eye slowly migrates until both are on the body’s “top side.”
Photograph by David Liittschwager, National Geographic
Helostoma temminckii aka kissing fish
Fish Out of Water: Five Ocean Species We’re Eating to Death
The prickly little sea urchin isn’t the only one in danger—consumers have taken a serious jab at oceanic ecosystems with their collective knives, forks, spoons, and chopsticks. Thanks to human appetites, for some species of ocean dwellers, there just aren’t that many fish in the sea.