The beating heart of a two day-old zebrafish (or Danio rerio) at 20x magnification. This gif was made from a video by Michael Weber, which received an honorable mention in the 2012 Nikon Small World in Motion competition.

The beating heart of a two day-old zebrafish (or Danio rerio) at 20x magnification. This gif was made from a video by Michael Weber, which received an honorable mention in the 2012 Nikon Small World in Motion competition.

An image of radiolaria composed by stacking 160 focus points. (by Maximal2Personen)

An image of radiolaria composed by stacking 160 focus points. (by Maximal2Personen)

rhamphotheca:

A Ray of Light Thrown on 60 Year Mystery

The unexpected capture of a rare ray found only in a small region off South Australia could help marine scientists validate the existence of the elusive Magpie fiddler ray (Trygonorrhina melaleuca).

The species is listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)  as Endangered, but until now its very existence has rested on a single specimen found nearly 60 years ago off Kangaroo Island. That specimen is stored at the South Australian Museum and was used to describe the magpie fiddler ray species in 1954.

“This ray, caught by fisher John Marsh from the Adelaide Game Fishing’ Club, is pretty much considered the ‘Holy Grail’ specimen,” says Paul Rogers, a researcher with SARDI Aquatic Sciences Threatened, Endangered and Protected Species program. “This is because the species has been described based on one specimen only and up until now, scientists have not been able to study another specimen of the magpie fiddler ray.”…

(read more: Sardi)

(photos: Brett Williamson, ABC Adelaide; Brad Smith)

Some big fans of seafood may have experienced the bizarre phenomena that takes place when soy sauce is poured on a freshly killed octopus. If the animal is dead, then why do its tentacles writhe about? Discovery’s youtube channel tackles the science behind one of the latest viral videos.

In a new study, zebrafish display signs of fear upon smelling sugar which are identical to their reactions to the pheromones released by other injured fish. Now scientists are speculating that this study could not only hint at the chemical composition of these pheromones, but also the origin of fear in fish and humans.

Atlanta peronii (gastropod mollusk), at 170x magnification, by Peter Parks of Witney, Oxon, United Kingdom. This image won an honorable mention in the 2007 Nikon Small World Competition.

Atlanta peronii (gastropod mollusk), at 170x magnification, by Peter Parks of Witney, Oxon, United Kingdom. This image won an honorable mention in the 2007 Nikon Small World Competition.

A scorpionfish (Rhinopias eschmeyeri) in Bali, Indonesia, by Rockford Draper of University of Texas at Dallas.

A scorpionfish (Rhinopias eschmeyeri) in Bali, Indonesia, by Rockford Draper of University of Texas at Dallas.

A 5-day old zebrafish head at 20x magnification, by Hideo Otsuna, of University of Utah. This image won 2nd place in the 2010 Nikon Small World Competition.

A 5-day old zebrafish head at 20x magnification, by Hideo Otsuna, of University of Utah. This image won 2nd place in the 2010 Nikon Small World Competition.

The Buddy System: Two Fish Swimming Side-by-Side by Birgitt Boschitsch ‘13, Peter Dewey (GS), Alexander Smits (fac) of the Dept. of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University. (As seen in Princeton’s Art of Science 2010 Gallery.)

In developing next-generation autonomous underwater vehicles we look for inspiration from the intelligent designs observed in nature.
For this image, two artificial fish fins are placed side-by-side and flapped in-phase with each another as water flows past the fins (flow direction is up). Small hydrogen bubbles (the white part of the image) allow for the wake of the fins to be visualized. The interaction of the fins creates two repeating patterns of swirling vortices known as vortex streets.

The Buddy System: Two Fish Swimming Side-by-Side by Birgitt Boschitsch ‘13, Peter Dewey (GS), Alexander Smits (fac) of the Dept. of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University. (As seen in Princeton’s Art of Science 2010 Gallery.)

In developing next-generation autonomous underwater vehicles we look for inspiration from the intelligent designs observed in nature.

For this image, two artificial fish fins are placed side-by-side and flapped in-phase with each another as water flows past the fins (flow direction is up). Small hydrogen bubbles (the white part of the image) allow for the wake of the fins to be visualized. The interaction of the fins creates two repeating patterns of swirling vortices known as vortex streets.

According to the Center for Disease Control:

This digitally-colorized scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of an untreated water specimen extracted from a wild stream mainly used to control flooding during inclement weather, revealed the presence of unidentified organisms, which included bacteria, protozoa, and algae. In this particular view, a microorganism is featured, the exterior of which is covered by numerous projections imparting an appearance of a sea urchin. This microscopic “pin cushion” was tethered to its surroundings by a biofilm within which many bacteria, and amoeboid protozoa could be seen enmeshed as well. 

According to the Center for Disease Control:

This digitally-colorized scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of an untreated water specimen extracted from a wild stream mainly used to control flooding during inclement weather, revealed the presence of unidentified organisms, which included bacteria, protozoa, and algae. In this particular view, a microorganism is featured, the exterior of which is covered by numerous projections imparting an appearance of a sea urchin. This microscopic “pin cushion” was tethered to its surroundings by a biofilm within which many bacteria, and amoeboid protozoa could be seen enmeshed as well. 

npr:

Rare Sighting Of Dashing, Two-Legged Hairy Sprinting Crab?

In latin it’s called Thaumoctopus mimicus, but I’d call it The Master. It’s Meryl Streep in octopus form. There are ocean animals that can change shape, imitate plants, rocks, flora, and I’ve blogged about some of them. But this octopus is special. It seems to study other creatures and then imitate them, copying their moves and their bodies. It can do sea snakes, lionfish, flatfish, giant crabs, sea shells, stingrays, jellyfish and weird beings that have no name, and maybe no earthly existence. Is it imagining? I don’t know, but no scientist has ever seen a shaggy sprinting bi-pedal crab — until our octopus decided to be one. -

Deep-sea submarines may seem impenetrable, but in 1967, a peculiar incident enlightened scientists to just how unusual things can get while below the surface.

This particular submersible was the US Navy’s Alvin. Built in 1965, by its retirement, it had survived expeditions to the Titanic, searching for sunken hydrogen bombs, and exploring hydrothermal vents for the first time, but it received a nastly blow along the way from an unlikely predator. According to Gizmodo:

It was after the overhaul, in 1967, when Alvin got attacked by a swordfish at a depth of around 2,000 feet, during dive number 202—somewhere around the Blake Plateau and Cape Charles, in the Bahamas. The pilots heard a big metallic noise, the whole submarine shook, and something penetrated the hull. 
It was a dangerous situation, so the crew decided to get quickly back to the surface. When its mothership—105-foot catamaran Lulu—lifted Alvin off the surface, they discovered this huge swordfish stuck in the hull.

While this may seem nearly impossible, its necessary to factor in that these species of fish are so extremely aggressive that they will attack just about everything, even including sharks multiple time their size. This one just managed to both pick out a submarine and pierce it at just the right angle. Bravo!  What rewards did it get for its valiant efforts? Well, it was reportedly cooked and eaten by the crew of its intended prey.

We can only hope James Cameron avoids any encounters like these today!

The lenses from the eyes of a colossal squid (Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni). The colossal squid is the largest known invertebrate, which their eyes being appropriately large at up to 27 centimeters across. As the largest eyes in the animal kingdom, their purpose is most likely aid in spotting sperm whales, which pose as their only predators. According to Dan-Eric Nilsson of Lund University in Sweden, the size of the squids pupil could indicate that the squid can detect approaching whales from over 120 meters away, thus giving it plenty of time to take evasive action. (via)

The lenses from the eyes of a colossal squid (Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni). The colossal squid is the largest known invertebrate, which their eyes being appropriately large at up to 27 centimeters across. As the largest eyes in the animal kingdom, their purpose is most likely aid in spotting sperm whales, which pose as their only predators. According to Dan-Eric Nilsson of Lund University in Sweden, the size of the squids pupil could indicate that the squid can detect approaching whales from over 120 meters away, thus giving it plenty of time to take evasive action. (via)

These are Atlantic wolffish, residing off of rocky coasts in depths up to 1,600 feet below the ocean’s surface. They can reach up to five feet long, with crooked teeth highly suited for crushing their prey of mollusks, shellfish, and sea urchins. It’s a face only a mother could love.

(via)

These are Atlantic wolffish, residing off of rocky coasts in depths up to 1,600 feet below the ocean’s surface. They can reach up to five feet long, with crooked teeth highly suited for crushing their prey of mollusks, shellfish, and sea urchins. It’s a face only a mother could love.

(via)

This pram bug, an inch-long, translucent Phronima crustacean, may look cute, but it certainly packs a vicious punch. Upon catching their usual prey of a small marine animals called salps, females feast by utilizing their mouths and claws to devour the salp’s insides and then hollowing out the corpse. To add insult to injury, the female then proceeds to lay her eggs inside the victim’s body cavity to create a mobile, gelatinous nest for her young. (via)

This pram bug, an inch-long, translucent Phronima crustacean, may look cute, but it certainly packs a vicious punch. Upon catching their usual prey of a small marine animals called salps, females feast by utilizing their mouths and claws to devour the salp’s insides and then hollowing out the corpse. To add insult to injury, the female then proceeds to lay her eggs inside the victim’s body cavity to create a mobile, gelatinous nest for her young. (via)