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

Read more

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

Read more

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

Read more

In The Galapagos, Penguin Gender Can Be Told by Beak Size

IN CASE YOU EVER WANT TO ASK A PENGUIN FOR A DATE, researchers studying Galapagos penguins have found an easy way to tell males from females: Penguin gender can be judged by the fact that males have bigger beaks than females. I’m not sure what practical use this information has for most of us but it’s important for scientists doing field research on the little guys. And, it gives me a chance to post one

Read more

Trending: Cuttlefish, Deep Sea Fish & Exploding Fish

“INCONSPICUOUS BATTLEGROUND”   bioGraphic.com   An area off South Australia may seem like a mundane stretch of coastline but beneath the waters a spectacular event takes place each year – normally solitary giant Australian cuttlefish (Sepia apama) gather to compete for mates. The event is spectacular and so is the photography by Justin Gilligan (the image above is by a different photographer). “THIS IS THE SOUND A DOLPHIN MIGHT HEAR IF IT’S ABOUT TO BECOME DINNER”    News

Read more

Baleen Whales Are Just the Size they Ought to Be

 IN THE HUNTER/GATHERER EQUATION, FILTER-FEEDING BALEEN WHALES came down on the gathering side millions of years ago.  Gathering – in baleens’ case taking the form of filtering shrimp-like krill and other crustaceans, small fishes and phytoplankton out of the ocean waters with great baleen plates in place of teeth – has made them much more efficient feeders than their toothed cousins. A study by researchers at Stanford University suggests that the largest whales grew to

Read more

The Penguin Selfie: Better Than Yours

WHAT’S MORE ADORABLE THAN PHOTOS OF TWO EMPEROR PENGUINS? A “selfie” video taken by the penguins themselves. Admittedly, I’m hardly the first to take it up – posted March 7th, it’s been featured on television news and print media around the world and the 38-second video has had more than 400,000 views – but, really, it’s irresistible. JUST HAPPENED TO BE TURNED ON  Basically, two curious emperor penguins – the noble species featured in the 2005

Read more

Sea Snakes: Pacific 70, Atlantic 0

WHILE THERE ARE NEARLY 70 SPECIES OF SEA SNAKES in the Pacific and Indian Ocean basins, there are exactly none in the Caribbean and tropical Atlantic. Even though sea snakes almost certainly could prosper in the warm Caribbean tropics, their absence is a factor of timing, geography and ocean currents. “WHY ARE THERE NO SEA SNAKES IN THE ATLANTIC?  That was the question explored in an article in the journal Bioscience. Also, the article’s title. Unfortunately,

Read more

Marine Iguanas – Unique to the Galapagos

  FAMOUS AS THE ONLY 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. There are also three species of non-swimming land iguanas in the Galapagos. All the iguanas in the Galapagos are believed to have descended from a common ancestor that made its way to the islands from South America on rafts of vegetation, with A. cristatus splitting off some

Read more

For Galapagos’ Boobies, Love is Blue

ONE OF THE JOYS OF THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS are the blue-footed boobies. Not only are they goofy waddlers on land but they do a funny, slow-motion courtship dance. And they let you get right up in their beaks, so to speak. ACES IN THE AIR In the air and sea, they’re something else – daredevil flying machines that dive like kamikazes seeking a fishy smorgasbourd. HINT: THE BLUE COMES FROM THEIR DIET New York Times’

Read more