creature feature

Creature Feature: A New Species of Humpback Dolphin

Posted Fri, Nov 8, 2013 by Justine Hausheer to cool marine creatures, creature feature, dolphin

(Photo: Blue Dolphin Marine Tours)

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.


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Creature Feature: The (Most Uncommon) Common Octopus

Posted Fri, Oct 25, 2013 by Justine Sullivan to creature feature, octopus

Photo: © OCEANA Carlos Minguell

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).


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Creature Feature: Enter the (Leafy Sea)Dragon

Posted Fri, Oct 11, 2013 by Justine Sullivan to creature feature, leafy sea dragon, leafy seadragon

Leafy and lovely: Meet the leafy seadragon   l   Photo: ©Ta-graphy

If you asked the artist Salvador Dali to dream up an ocean creature, he might have designed something very much like the leafy seadragon, one of the ocean’s most uniquely beautiful creatures. Covered in gossamer ruffled appendages, the characteristic tassels and frills that adorn the leafy seadragon’s head and body serve as spectacular camouflage, baffling both predators and prey, and make the seadragon all but invisible among seaweeds and kelp beds. 


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Creature Feature: Reef Lizardfish

Posted Fri, Oct 4, 2013 by Justine Hausheer to cool ocean animals, coral reef, creature feature, fish

This good-looking creature is a reef lizardfish. (Photo: Colby Bidwell) 

You won’t find land-dwelling lizards scampering about coral reefs, but you might do a double-take when you see the reef lizardfish. Also known as variegated lizardfish, these strange reef-dwellers look surprisingly like lizards. They’re found in coral reefs throughout Indonesia and along the coast of India and northern Australia.


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A Blue Whale’s Life Story Revealed Through Ear Wax

Posted Fri, Sep 27, 2013 by Justine Hausheer to blue whale, cool marine creatures, creature feature, science, whales

Blue whales are probably the largest animal that has ever lived. (Photo: NOAA Photo Library) 

Instead of our weekly Creature Feature, we’d like share an awesome new finding about one well-known ocean creature, the blue whale. Scientists discovered that earwax can reveal amazingly details about the life of whales, according to a study published last week in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


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Creature Feature: Magnificent Frigatebird

Posted Fri, Sep 20, 2013 by Justine Hausheer to birds, cool marine creatures, creature feature, seabirds

Yes, that’s a bird, and yes, it’s supposed to look like that. (Photo: Mark Vance)

Magnificent frigatebirds aren’t the beauty queens of the bird world, but they do get points for bold style. These seabirds have a seven foot wingspan and an inflatable, bright-red throat sac under their bills that they used in elaborate courtship displays. Only the males have these sacs—female frigatebirds have a non-inflatable white neck, making them the only seabird species where the males and females look very different.


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Creature Feature: Loggerhead Sea Turtle

Posted Fri, Sep 13, 2013 by Justine Hausheer to cool marine creatures, creature feature, loggerhead, loggerhead sea turtle, marine creatures

A loggerhead sea turtle. (Photo: Wendell Reed)

If you're a fan of sea turtles, you might have heard about the mighty loggerhead sea turtle. Growing 2 to 3 feet long and weighing in at a massive 165–350 pounds, loggerheads are heavier than many people. These reptiles are actually the second-largest marine turtle (only the leatherback is larger.) Named for their hefty heads, loggerheads are found in tropical and temperate waters around the world.


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Creature Feature: Lionfish

Posted Thu, Sep 5, 2013 by Justine Hausheer to atlantic, cool marine creatures, creature feature, invasive species, lionfish

Up close and personal with a lionfish

Up close and personal with a lionfish. (Photo: Kjeld Friis)

It’s venomous, voracious, and taking over reefs across the western Atlantic.

This strange-looking predator is a lionfish, a.k.a. Pterois volitans. Native to Indo-Pacific reefs, lionfish are anything but subtle. The large, striped spines protruding from their bodies are their main defense, filled with neurotoxic venom to deter predators. While the venom isn’t deadly to humans, running afoul of a lionfish isn’t fun—side effects include excruciating pain, headaches, difficulty breathing, and vomiting. Lesson learned: don’t mess with a lionfish. 


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Creature Feature: Meet the Fangtooth!

Posted Tue, Aug 20, 2013 by Justine Sullivan to creature feature, deep sea, fangtooth, fish

Fangtastic: Meet the incredible fangtooth l Photo: Citron

Like something out of your nightmares, the fangtooth (Anoplogaster cornuta, Anoplogaster brachycera) lurks in the darkest depths of the ocean. Wielding huge, saberlike teeth, the fangtooth has the largest teeth in the ocean relative to body size. The phrase “relative to body size” is important to remember here, however: the larger of the two species of fangtooth reaches a maximum length of just 6 inches, rendering these tiny balls of ferociousness harmless to humans.


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