Friday, April 30, 2010
Found in tropical and subtropical waters of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans, marine hatchetfishes range in size from Polyipnus danae at 2.8 cm (1.1 in) to the c.12 cm (4.7 in)-long Giant Hatchetfish (Argyropelecus gigas). They are small deep-sea fishes which have evolved a peculiar body shape and like their relatives have bioluminescent photophores. The latter allow them to use counterillumination to escape predators that lurk in the depths: by matching the light intensity with the light penetrating the water from above, the fish does not appear darker if seen from below. They typically occur at a few hundred meters below the surface, but their entire depth range spans from 50 to 1,500 meters deep.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
The Sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) is a parasitic lamprey (a kind of jawless fish) found on the Atlantic coasts of Europe and North America, in the western Mediterranean Sea, and in the Great Lakes. It is brown or gray on its back and white or gray on the underside and can grow to be up to 90 cm (35.5 in) long. Sea lampreys prey on a wide variety of fish. The lamprey uses its suction-cup like mouth to attach itself to the skin of a fish and rasps away tissue with its sharp probing tongue and teeth. Secretions in the lamprey's mouth prevent the victim's blood from clotting. Victims typically die from excessive blood loss or infection.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
These fish can withstand temperatures that would turn most fish to ice. Their ability to live in the cold – and oxygen-rich – extremes is so extraordinary that they make up more than 90 percent of the fish biomass of the Southern Ocean.
University of Illinois animal biology professor Arthur DeVries discovered in the late 1960s that some notothenioids manufacture their own "antifreeze proteins." These proteins bind to ice crystals in the blood to prevent the fish from freezing.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
While understandably named for their disproportionately large, fang-like teeth and unapproachable visage, fangtooths are actually quite small and harmless to humans: the larger of the two species, the common fangtooth, reaches a maximum length of just 16 centimetres (6 inches); the shortthorn fangtooth is about half this size.
The head is large with a huge jaw and appears haggard, riddled with mucus cavities delineated by serrated edges and covered by a thin skin.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
"In nearly 500 million years of vertebrate evolution, and many thousands of vertebrate species living and dead, this is the only one known to have solved the fundamental optical problem faced by all eyes - how to make an image - using a mirror," said Professor Julian Partridge, of Bristol University, who conducted the tests.
Spookfish is a name often given to Barreleyes - a group of small, odd-looking deep-sea fish species, found in tropical-to-temperate waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
A "ribbon, or bootlace worm" (Nemertea) lies coiled up on the ocean floor. These organisms are voracious predators and feed with a tubular proboscis which shoots out to impale or capture prey. They are most common as tiny "strings" living between sand grains, but they can also grow to large sizes and even live in the water column. There are about 1000 known species of Nemertes, but scientists believe that there at least twice this number yet to be discovered.
Friday, April 23, 2010
Monkfish (or Headfish) is the English name of a number of types of fish in the northwest Atlantic, most notably the species of the anglerfish genus Lophius and the angelshark genus Squatina. The term is also occasionally used for a European sea monster more often called a sea monk.
Monkfish has three long filaments sprouting from the middle of the head; these are the detached and modified three first spines of the anterior dorsal fin. As in most anglerfish species, the longest filament is the first (illicium), which terminates in an irregular growth of flesh, the esca. This modified fin ray is movable in all directions. This esca is used as a lure to attract other fishes, which monkfish then typically swallow whole. Experiments have shown, however, that whether the prey has been attracted to the lure or not is not strictly relevant, as the action of the jaws is an automatic reflex triggered by contact with the esca.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
The Lizardfishes (or typical lizardfishes to distinguish them from the Bathysauridae and Pseudotrichonotidae) are a family, the Synodontidae, of aulopiform fish. They are found in tropical and subtropical marine waters throughout the world.
Lizardfishes are generally small fish, although the largest species are about 60 centimetres (24 in) long. They have slender, somewhat cylindrical bodies, and heads that resemble those of lizards. The dorsal fin is located in the middle of the back, and accompanied by a small adipose fin placed closer to the tail. They have mouths full of sharp teeth, even on the tongue.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Oarfish is presumably in reference to either their highly compressed and elongated bodies, or to the former (but now discredited) belief that the fish "row" themselves through the water with their pelvic fins. The family name Regalecidae is derived from the Latin regalis, meaning "royal." The occasional beachings of oarfish after storms, and their habit of lingering at the surface when sick or dying, make oarfish a probable source of many sea serpent tales.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Bioluminescent Deep-Sea Siphonophore
An eerily fantastic creature that appears to be a single, large organism, but which is actually a colony of numerous individual jellyfish-like animals that behave and function together as a single entity. The individual units, called zooids, all share the same genetic material and each perform a specialized role within the colony.
Monday, April 19, 2010
In 2007, a fisherman near Tokyo, Japan, told Awashiwa Marine Park officials that he’d just seen a very unusual eel-like creature with needle-sharp teeth. Staff at the park followed the fisherman, who directed them to the 5-foot-long oddity. They caught the creature, which was later identified as a frilled shark.
The frilled shark has been called everything from a “sea serpent” to a real-life “Loch Ness Monster” over the years in places where it lives, such as southeast Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, West Africa, Chile and the Caribbean. A more accurate nickname is “the living fossil,” since this shark belongs to a primitive species that has changed very little over millions of years.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
The pictures reveal Bathynomus giganteus to be a giant isopod, a large crustacean that dwells in deep Atlantic and Pacific waters. This particular creature is a deep-sea scavenger that feeds on dead whales, fish and squid.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Scotoplanes is a genus of deep-sea holothurian (Class Holothuroidea in the phylum Echinodermata-popularly known as sea cucumbers) in the family Elpidiidae (order Elasiopoda)... Scotoplanes live on deep ocean bottoms, specifically on the abyssal plain in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Ocean, typically at depths of over 1000 meters. Some related species can be found in the Antarctic.
Friday, April 16, 2010
The Atlantic torpedo or dark electric ray (Torpedo nobiliana) is a species of electric ray in the family Torpedinidae. It is found in the Atlantic Ocean, from Nova Scotia to Brazil in the west and from Scotland to West Africa and off southern Africa in the east, occurring at depths of up to 800 m (2,600 ft). Younger individuals generally inhabit shallower, sandy or muddy habitats, whereas adults are more pelagic in nature and frequent open water. Up to 1.8 m (6 ft) long and weighing 90 kg (200 lb), the Atlantic torpedo is the largest known electric ray.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Pacific Barreleye Fish
The fish, discovered alive in the deep water off California's central coast by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), is the first specimen of its kind to be found with its soft transparent dome intact.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
In 2005 Japanese waters were inundated with swarms of Nomura's jellyfish--like the pair seen above cruising off the coast of Fukui Prefecture in November 2007. The giants clogged fishing nets and poisoned potential catches with their toxic stings, costing coastal fishers billions of yen.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
A scene from Planet Earth on the deep areas of the world's oceans, and some of the creatures we have discovered there.
I would never want to run into something like this, and it's probably for the best that it lives in the abyss.