Iguanas in the Galapagos: Here Come the Marines

FAMOUS AS LIZARDS THAT SWIM IN THE OCEANS, marine iguanas (Amblyrhynchus cristatus) are found in only one place: the Galapagos Archipelago in the eastern Pacific off Ecuador. Galapagos iguanas also include three species of non-swimming land iguanas. Some land iguanas found in the West Indies – like green iguanas (Iguana iguana) and rock iguanas (nine species in the genus Cyclura) – are also known to swim when called for, but not with the marine lifestyle of A.

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When Killer Whales Show Up, Great Whites Run Away

A NEW STUDY HAS FOUND THAT WHEN KILLER WHALES ARRIVE IN A FEEDING GROUND, GREAT WHITES SHARKS CLEAR OUT. In a study of great white sharks and killer whales, It turns out that great whites, renowned as the oceans’ apex predators, have apex predators of their own in orcas, or killer whales. Researchers at Monterrey Bay Aquarium and several partner organizations looked at patterns in the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary off San Francisco, a

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Snakes on the Reef! They Won’t Bother You. Probably.

IF THE IDEA OF MEETING UP WITH SEA SNAKES ON A DIVE UNSETTLES YOU, here are two important facts about sea snakes and sea kraits: 1) They’re armed with highly deadly venom, and 2) They’re remarkably unaggressive. That being said, here’s another important thing about these two groups of sea snakes: Don’t mess with them. All sea snakes are venomous snake-like reptiles, but in anatomy and lifestyle, there are two different kinds. So, what’s the

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Australian Sea Snakes Really Go Down Under

AS OCEAN-DWELLING, AIR-BREATHING REPTILES, SEA SNAKES NEED TO RETURN TO THE SURFACE periodically to take in air, a factor that makes them largely shallow-water animals common to reefs and river estuaries in the Indo-Pacific basin. So it was a reptilian phenomenon when two sea snakes were spotted at depths of some 800 feet/240 meters off the coast of northern Australia, as reported recently in the journal Austral Ecology. That places them in the mesopelagic zone,

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Right Whale Calves, Deep-Diving Beaked Whales, Migrating by Memory

LINKS TO INTERESTING STUFF ON THE WEB – CETACEAN EDITION “Seven North Atlantic Right Whale Calves Spotted So Far This Year,” The Scientist    The number is still too low to be sustainable, but last year it was zero, so it’s promising. “Beaked Whales Are the Deepest Divers,” New York Times   Not that much is known about them, but they dive deeper and can stay longer than any other marine mammal.  “Migrating blue whales rely on

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These Humpbacks Let Seabirds Bring the Prey

OFF THE COAST OF CANADA’S VANCOUVER ISLAND, HUMPBACK WHALES have developed a new, low-energy approach to collecting their daily 2,500 kg of delectable edibles like herring. Kicking back and remaining stationary, these humpbacks let seabirds bring the prey to them. The scientists who have documented the new behavior have termed it “trap-feeding,” after the plant world’s Venus fly traps. CONVENTIONAL FEEDING TECHNIQUES Humpbacks (Megaptera novaeangliae) are baleen whales – that is, they earn their livings by

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Eels in Seals’ Noses: No One Knows Why

ONE EEL UP A SEAL’S NOSE IS AN EVENT. FOUR EELS IN SEALS’ NOSES IS A FAD. Like teenagers swallowing detergent pods, Hawaiian monk seals seem to be chasing a trend – stuffing eels inside in their nostrils. At least, that appearance baffles staff at the Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program, an NOAA agency based in Honolulu. Unknown until recently, the researchers have encountered the eels in seal’s noses phenomenon several times in the past

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Haunting Video of a Stray Narwhal Adopted by Belugas

YOUNG WHALES ARE SOMETIMES KNOWN TO WANDER, but a lone, stray narwhal has apparently wandered into a pod of young beluga whales – and stayed. And  been accepted as one of the boys. The narwhal – identified by his iconic long tusk and gray-spotted body – has apparently been swimming with the white-bodies belugas in the St. Lawrence River for the past three years. The setting is far south of narwhals’ usual habitat in the

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Whale Shark Size And Age: Long Live Whale Sharks!

APPARENTLY IT TAKES TIME TO GROW TO BE THE WORLD’S BIGGEST FISH. A new study of whale shark size and age has indicated that gargantuan fishes can live to the ripe old age of 130 years. Marine biologists at the U.K.-based Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme and Florida’s Nova Southeastern University analyzed a decade’s worth of repetitive, non-invasive underwater measurements of whale sharks in the Maldives to understand whale shark age and growth details. Previous

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Rats and Reefs: What Happens On Land Doesn’t Stay On Land

A NEWLY PUBLISHED STUDY ON THE LINK BETWEEN RATS AND REEFS has found a substantial link to the health of the coral reefs in the waters around the islands.  The reason: Seabird poop on land is good for a broad range of reef denizens underwater. And the rats kill off seabirds, whose guano provides nutrients that enhance the reef’s health. An international team of scientists studied the ecosystems of rat-infested and rat-free islands in the Chagos

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