Squid Camouflage – an Awesome Video

SQUID CAMOUFLAGE WOULD APPEAR TO BE A TOUGH CHALLENGE. Squids’ cephalopod cousins, like bottom-dwelling octopuses and cuttlefishes, can disappear by blending in with the nearest coral. As free swimmers, squids have to find a way to hide out in the midst of open water. So the question is, how do squids manage their colors to disappear in plain sight?  IT’S ALL IN THE IRIDOPHORES As it turns out, as explained by the folks behind PBS’ terrific

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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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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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Flying Scallops – An Awesome Video!

UNLIKE OTHER MEMBERS OF THE BIVALVE FAMILY, SCALLOPS CAN FLY. And flying scallops make for an amazing sight! Well, actually scallops swim, by jetting along underwater, as shown in this awesome video from East Coast Divers, my old dive shop in Brookline, Mass. NEITHER A BURROWER NOR AN ATTACHER BE Like other bivalves – clams, oysters and mussels – scallops share the basic anatomical structures of other members of Phylum Mollusca. As members of Family

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how cuttlefish hunt

How Cuttlefish Hunt – an Awesome Video

THE FIRST REASON FOR WATCHING THIS VIDEO OF A FLAMBOYANT CUTTLEFISH stalking a shrimp is that it’s a fascinating view of how cuttlefish hunt and capture their prey. The second  is that it’s a flamboyant cuttlefish – that’s its street name – an astoundingly dramatic, colorful creature described as the “flamenco dancer of the cuttlefish world” by the Monterrey Bay Aquarium (MBA), which produced the video. A FRONT-PAGE FEATURE SIDEBAR I get into the characteristics and

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To Define Plankton, Think: “Ocean Food Bank”

THE PLANKTON IS ONE OF THE KEYSTONES OF THE OCEAN FOOD CHAIN. In fact, it’s one of the most important elements of life in the sea. And, yet, every time I mention the word, seek to talk about plankton, discuss plankton, define plankton, I can hear eyes roll all across Planet Earth. True, plankton doesn’t have the same excitement attached to it as, say, a celebrity punching a shark on You-Know-What Week. On the other hand,

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Seahorses Are Super-Predators – An Awesome Video

IT MAY BE EXCITING TO FIND SEAHORSES ON DIVES – but watching them is like watching grass grow. They’re inept swimmers, so they rarely swim unless they have to.  But it turns out that seahorses are super-predators, more than 90 percent effective at bagging their prey – mostly tiny shrimp and copepods. WHY SEAHORSES ARE SUPER-PREDATORS – ANATOMY & SPEED One study using high-speed video to record seahorses’ movements found that the seahorse’s curved-body architecture

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A Great Fish Backscratch, Caught in an Awesome Video

SOMETIMES THERE’S NOTHING BETTER THAN A GOOD BACKSCRATCH. Clearly, the same is true for fish. I referenced this video at the end of an earlier post on fish “flashing,” a fishy habit of rubbing fish their bodies on the seafloor, possibly to scrape off parasites, or possibly in search of a good fish backscratch. A FISH BACKSCRATCH WORTH REPOSTING This video is so delightful I decided to post it in its own right. It’s a

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“The Fastest Punch in the World”

MANTIS SHRIMPS ARE PARTICULARLY AGGRESSIVE CRUSTACEANS with exceptional traits. One is their ability to smash hardshelled prey with lightning strokes. As this awesome Smithsonian Channel video shows, the mantis shrimp punch is perhaps the strongest, fastest left hook in the ocean. The mantis headlines earlier this year focused on their complex eyes and exceptional vision (seethe Poseidon’s Web post How Mantis Shrimps See – With Polarity). Even more impressive – and worrisome to fishermen who may accidentally

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Pearlfish and their Sea Cucumber B&B

A POST HERE SEVERAL MONTHS AGO closed with the “Really Odd Fact” that blenny-like pearlfish (Periclimenes imperator) have a habit of taking up residence in the … well…rear ends of sea cucumbers. The overall post, “Sea Cucumbers – Superheroes of the Sea,” was about the fact that sea cucumbers, often ignored as inert, unimportant creatures, actually had a lot to recommend them.  THE PEARLFISH/CUCUMBER EQUATION The pearlfish/cuke interaction is generally described as commensal relationship, but that term implies a

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