Label: Marine Life

October 2, 2012

Tourists come from all over to visit Japan’s Toyama Bay between March and June, when millions of breeding firefly squid come to Toyama Bay to drop their eggs. The firefly squid is bioluminescent (buy-oh-loom-ih-NESS-cent), which means that is has special organs in its body that can produce light. Each of the squid’s tentacle has a light-producing organ called a photophore (FO-to-for). The squids flash these lights to attract small fish, on which the squid can then feed. The firefly squid can also light up its whole body to attract a mate.

I would love to see this, wouldn’t you?




Posted by: Seymour Simon

(4) Comments  •   Labels: Animals, Oceans, Cool Photo, Marine Life   •  Permalink (link to this article)

September 27, 2012



I was walking on the beach this weekend and came across a lot of very big, brown shells. I used a SeeMore Explorers Observation Log to describe what I saw:




























I actually knew what the animal was, but I wanted my readers to see how it is possible to figure out what you are seeing in nature.

I have always been fascinated by horseshoe crabs. Did you know that they are one of oldest living creatures? They have been around for 450 million years, which means they were here on Earth 200 million years before the dinosaurs!

The reason the shell I picked up was so light was because the crab was not in there any longer. Horseshoe crabs molt as they grow - that means that they shed their hard shells when they grow out of them. They walk out of the hard shell, and their inner shell, which they already have, begins to harden, becoming their new outer shell. Horseshoe crabs molt many times - 16 times for males, 17 times for females - before they are fully grown. If the shell had been heavy, then it would have been a dead animal.

One other interesting thing about horseshoe crabs is that they are not actually in the crustacean (crab and other shellfish) family. They are more closely related to arachnids (spiders) than they are to shellfish.

What a fascinating animal. Now can you see why I’ve always been interested in these prehistoric animals called horseshoe crabs?

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: SeeMore Explorers, Oceans, Seymour Photographs, Marine Life   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 24, 2012


Scientists studying Orcas in the seas off eastern Russia have spotted an all-white killer whale, and have named him "Iceberg." 

Baby white orcas have been spotted in the past, including in Iceberg’s pod, but no one has ever seen one that grew to adulthood. Iceberg was photographed while he was swimming with 12 members of his pod off Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula.

"In many ways, Iceberg is a symbol of all that is pure, wild and extraordinarily exciting about what is out there in the ocean waiting to be discovered," said Erich Hoyt, co-director of the Far East Russia Orca Project. "The challenge is to keep the ocean healthy so that such surprises are always possible."


Photo: E. Lazareva/FEROP via AFP 


Posted by: Seymour Simon

(13) Comments  •   Labels: Animals, Oceans, Cool Photo, Conservation, Exploration, Marine Life, whales   •  Permalink (link to this article)

January 31, 2012

Have you ever seen a living creature that looks like this? This animal, captured and studied by scientists on an oceanlab in the Mid Atlantic Ocean, is a member of a recently discovered family of acorn worms (Torquaratoridae). 

Deep Sea Acorn Worms are delicate animals that have no eyes and no tail. They crawl along the ocean floor, leaving a spiral-shaped trail behind, burrowing into the sediment to find food that has fallen from the surface. Creatures like these used to be thought of as evolutionary "leftovers," because they failed to evolve and develop tails and become competent swimmers, like fish. It turns out, though, that they have evolved in just the right way to live in the distant depths of the ocean. We are discovering that acorn worms are some of the most common animals that live in the deep sea, alongside sea cucumbers, sea stars, shellfish and other fish. They have even been seen making a kind of swimming movement, lifting themselves off the ocean floor so that they can drift into areas where food is more plentiful.


Photo: David Shale

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(5) Comments  •   Labels: Oceans, Cool Photo, Marine Life   •  Permalink (link to this article)

December 14, 2011

A New Zealand woman arrived home yesterday and found an unexpected visitor - a baby seal, asleep on the sofa!

The fur seal pup was nicknamed "Lucky" because he managed to cross a busy road, push into the house through a cat door, and climb up some stairs to get to the couch in the living room. What a clever little pup! 

The woman called animal control. Wildlife experts came and woke Lucky up from his nap and released him back into the sea. 

I once discovered baby flying squirrels living in my attic, but I’ve never experienced anything as interesting as a seal on the sofa. Wouldn’t that be exciting?! 


Photo: Christopher Clark/Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai


Posted by: Seymour Simon

(7) Comments  •   Labels: science news, Animals, Marine Life   •  Permalink (link to this article)

December 8, 2011



Forty-nine penguins rescued from an oil spill off New Zealand have been nursed back to health and were released back into the ocean on Tuesday by wildlife rescuers and local schoolchildren.



Don’t you love this photograph of Little Blue Penguins running back into the ocean? 

They were fitted with microchips, so that researchers can track the progress of their recovery.

The birds released Tuesday are among 343 little blue penguins that have been cleaned of oil since a cargo ship ran aground on a reef off the coast of New Zealand on Oct. 5 and spilled some 400 tons of fuel oil. More than 2,000 sea birds died in the spill. Fortunately, marine life experts from New Zealand, Australia and the United States worked together to save the animals who returned happily to the sea this week.

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: science news, Penguins, Oil Spills, Marine Life   •  Permalink (link to this article)

October 26, 2011

Did you ever go to the beach and buy a plastic beach shovel for digging in the sand? A 6-year-old British girl named Emily Baldry took her beach shovel on an archeological trip with her family, and used it to dig up a 160-million year old fossil!

The 130-pound fossil that Emily found is called an ammonite. These now-extinct animals were soft-bodied invertebrates (animals without backbones) that lived inside a circular shell. They had long tentacles, well-developed eyes, and a sharp beaklike jaw. 

Ammonites lived during the periods of Earth history known as the Jurassic and Cretaceous, and disappeared at about the same time as the dinosaurs. Their closest modern relatives are the octopus and the squid.

The curled shell, which looks something like the horns of a ram, inspired the ammonite’s name. When these fossils were first discovered, in ancient times, they were named after the Egyptian god Ammon (or Amun), who was usually drawn with rams’ horns on his head.


Photo: SWNS

Graphic: MMVII NGHT, Inc.

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(6) Comments  •   Labels: science news, Animals, Marine Life, Fossils   •  Permalink (link to this article)

December 18, 2010


This tiny marine snail has a unique way of protecting itself. When it feels threatened, it lights up its plain, yellowish shell and emits a bright, neon green light. It probably makes it appear larger than it is to potential predators. In a laboratory experiment, scientists found that the snail lit up when confronted by crabs and swimming shrimp.

The snail, Hinea brasiliana, is a type of clusterwink snail that is typically found bunched up in groups along rocky shorelines. The green glow results from a phenomenon known as bioluminescence - or light made by living animals (pronounced "bio-loom-i-NESS-ens"). The most familiar example of bioluminescence is the firefly, which is actually a beetle. Fireflies use the flickering patterns of light to attract mates.

 Photo: Dimitri Deheyn / SIO / UCSD 

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: science news, Animals, Oceans, Cool Photo, Marine Life   •  Permalink (link to this article)

August 12, 2010

Our friends David Kleeman and Leslie Hornig recently took a trip to the Galapagos Islands, known for their vast number of wildlife species. Charles Darwin traveled to the Galapagos on the H.M.S. Beagle in 1831, and his field work during that five-year long journey led to his breakthrough thinking on the Theory of Evolution. In fact, it is such a unique place that in 1978 the Galapagos were declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, which called the 19 islands and the surrounding marine reserve a unique ‘living museum and showcase of evolution.’

David and Leslie decided to explore this unparalleled marine reserve while they were there, and Leslie shot this delightful underwater video. She titled it: "When Sea Lions Play Tag, the Star Fish is Always ‘It’"

Click here to view and enjoy!



Posted by: Liz Nealon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Video, Marine Life   •  Permalink (link to this article)

June 16, 2010


No, it’s not the purple monster from the deep. Or maybe it is. The purple or ochre sea star is common on rock shores and rocks on beaches along the west coast including the Malibu, California coast where I took this photo earlier this morning. This purple sea star (pisaster ochraceus) is on a rock covered by mussels, which is a kind of unfortunate thing for the mussels. The purple sea star is a major predator of California coastal waters, eating all kinds of mussels, barnacles, limpets and snails. 

A sea star opens a mussel by latching on to the mussel’s shell with hundreds of tiny tube feet and then simply tugging with steady pressure until the mussel shell opens. Then the star extrudes its stomach into the opened shell and digests the mussel. A mature sea star will release dozens of millions of eggs when it spawns. The eggs turn into tiny larvae which became part of the sea plankton population as they grow into mature sea stars. Even though most of the larvae are eaten before they grow into mature stars, that still leaves a LOT of purple stars to feed on mussels.

Purple Sea stars are attractive animals (at least I think so), but they are a major pest to mussel and clam gatherers. I remember a story that I heard when I was a kid about how difficult it is to get rid of sea stars. The story goes that clam gatherers were collecting sea stars from the clam beds and trying to kill the stars by cutting them up into two or three pieces and then just throwing the pieces back into the ocean waters. The problem was that sea stars are able to regenerate a lost leg or two. So each piece of sea star thrown back into the waters regenerated into another whole sea star!



Posted by: Seymour Simon

(2) Comments  •   Labels: Oceans, Seymour Photographs, Marine Life   •  Permalink (link to this article)