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20,000 Species Under the Sea [Slide Show]

The Census of Marine Life's decadelong quest to take stock of sea life comes to a close with a slew of new species, population estimates and plenty of big unknowns
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ARTFUL ANEMONE

A tube-dwelling anemone might make for a pretty picture, but it is both a shy and a cruel animal. It can draw into its tube for protection or use its tentacles to sting anything that gets too close. These anemones live in both tropical and subtropical regions and make their homes in soft substrate, usually near a coast.....[ More ]

SAILING SEA CUCUMBERS

This bottom feeder does not depend entirely on the ocean floor to get around. Researchers explain that its vertical portion acts as a sail to catch the deep-sea currents. This specimen ( Psychropotes longicauda ) was observed some 5,000 meters below the surface in the Pacific Ocean.....[ More ]

SUSPECT SQUIDWORM

Upon first sight of this creature, researchers were not quite sure what it was. "When we first spotted it, people watching the video called out 'squid,' 'no, shrimp,' 'maybe a fish,' 'I think it's a worm,'" Lawrence Madin, a senior scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and chief scientist of the 2007 expedition, recalled in a report .....[ More ]

FESTOONED ANNELID

Elaborate annelids called Christmas tree worms ( Spirobranchus giganteus ) are a common sight for tropical divers and come in a variety of colors. But the worms' two Dr. Seussian spirals can spell death for their prey, which can become ensnared in the tiny tentacles.....[ More ]

ARCTIC JELLY

This jellyfish ( Crossota norvegica ) was found floating in the chilly depths in the Arctic Canadian Basin. Researchers captured it using a remotely operated vehicle (ROV).....[ More ]

SNAZZY SNAIL

This flamingo tongue snail ( Cyphoma gibbosum ) was observed sauntering along in the British West Indies near Grand Cayman. These flashy mollusks usually live on corals and sea fans.....[ More ]

OBVIOUS OCTOPUS

Researchers collected this octopus in their ARMS—Autonomous Reef Monitoring System, that is. It was hanging out just 10 to 12 meters below the surface near Lizard Island along the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, Australia.....[ More ]

WHALE-EATING WORM

Humble polychaete worms work with fellow annelids to digest decomposing whale carcasses . This worm ( Vigtorniella sp. ) was found around one such so-called whale fall 925 meters below the surface of Japan's Sagami Bay.....[ More ]

NEW SHRIMP

Scientists have found a new shrimp in the sea. This little specimen ( Hippolyte catagrapha ) was photographed off the coast of Cape Town. It is seen here crawling not on a plant but on a myzostomid, a parasitic marine worm, which was also a new species.....[ More ]

SEX-SWITCHING FISH

The massive, two-meter-long Napoleon wrasse ( Cheilinus undulatus ) is one of the biggest reef fish in the world. Some Napoleon wrasses—also known as humphead wrasses or Maori wrasses—have rare talents, such as being able to switch sex.....[ More ]

SUBTLE SEA DRAGON

Far from flotsam and jetsam, this fancy seahorse relative is camouflaged to look like the plants that it lives among. The leaf-like appendages on the leafy sea dragon ( Phycodurus eques ) mean that it is not terribly streamlined, but its slow going helps it pull off the illusion of being an uninteresting piece of seaweed.....[ More ]

GLOWING CEPHALOPOD

Bioluminescence is rare in the animal kingdom, known only in a few species of cephalopods. This glowing octopus ( Stauroteuthis syrtensis ) was seen in the Gulf of Maine about 800 meters below the surface during a 2004–2005 expedition.....[ More ]

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