It’s International Polar Bear Day! It’s a day created to bring awareness to polar bear conservation, and to simply take a moment to recognize the overall awesomeness that is the polar bear. Polar bears have many extraordinary physical abilities and are stunningly beautiful, so having an entire day of every year dedicated to them is a no-brainer.
We humans have developed a few token signs of affection when it comes to love and finding that special person: buy some chocolates, wine and dine by candlelight, and romantic strolls by the beach. We probably think we know best when it comes to showing love, but there are a few creatures in our the oceans that might prove us wrong, and maybe even give us a few pointers. Meet a few ocean animals that are masters of the art of affection.
We’re sure you’re already familiar with the polar bear: a perennial favorite of zoo-goers, Coke commercials, and a poster-child for climate change. But we think these big white bears deserve a second look.
Fantastic coloring and undeniable charm makes the Atlantic puffin one of the most popular and recognizable seabird species—but there’s a lot more to these sturdy birds than you’d first expect.
The brightly-colored clownfish needs no introduction—the reef fish is one of the most recognizable fish in the world. But aside from being the star of Disney’s “Finding Nemo,” the clownfish has some impressive adaptations and a strange life history.
There are actually 30 species in the clownfish family, but two are the orange-striped fish everyone knows from the big screen. The orange clownfish (Amphiprion percula) and the ocellaris clownfish, or false clownfish, (Amphiprion ocellaris) look nearly identical, but they’re actually two different species. If you get close enough, you can tell them apart by counting the number of dorsal spines on their backs—the orange clownfish has 10 and the ocellaris clownfish has 11.
There’s no doubt that harp seal pups are perilously cute. But did you know that once they grow up, these seals migrate thousands of miles each year?
Named after the dark, harp-shaped patterns on the backs of adult seals, harp seals are widespread in the chilly waters of the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans. They spend their summers far north, and then migrate south each winter to breed on the pack ice.
Chances are you’ve seen an emperor penguin before—at least in photographs or while watching the movie Happy Feet. But did you know that these charismatic birds are one of the hardiest species on the planet?
Forget the brown and gray stingrays that you’re used to—the blue-spotted ribbontail ray (Taeniura lymma) puts their drab coloring to shame with its olive skin and large, neon-blue spots. Also known as the blue-spotted fantail ray, these vibrantly-colored creatures are found on coral reefs throughout the Indian and western Pacific oceans.
For today’s Creature Feature, we’d like to introduce you to a new species of humpback dolphin—so new, in fact, that it doesn’t even have a name!
Humpback dolphins are a family of dolphins with a distinctive hump beneath their dorsal fins, similar to the humpbacked whale. Growing to about eight feet in length, they range in color from dark gray to white to light pink.
When it comes to sea creatures with superhero powers, the common octopus (Octopus vulgaris) might take the cake: with jaw-dropping camouflage abilities, ink, and incomparable intelligence, the octopus is every marine biologist’s dream (and every prey species’ nightmare).