Tag: marine life

Shrimp Couples Use Sponges as Gingerbread Houses

By Joseph Castro | August 1, 2011 6:03 pm

spacing is importantUp-close views of Typton carneus‘s shear-like tools.

In Hansel and Gretel, two ravenous children stumble upon a house made entirely of sugary goodness, and begin to chow down with abandon. But the kids’ journey quickly turns sour, as the owner of the house, a wicked witch, tries to cook them for dinner.

While the story seems to be a cautionary tale, it turns out that finding and living in an edible house can actually be pretty sweet—at least in the animal kingdom. Researchers in Prague have now learned that some tiny shrimp in the Belize Barrier Reef dine on fire sponges, their homes, by first tearing off pieces of tissue with claws not unlike those of Edward Scissorhands.

Read More

Ex-Chicago Bull Buys (Via eBay) Rights to Name a Shrimp Species

By Brett Israel | December 7, 2009 12:11 pm

Lebbeus-clarehanna-webWhen Anna McCallum discovered a new shrimp species near Australia, instead of naming it after herself, like most selfish scientists, she put the naming rights on eBay to raise money for marine conservation.

McCallum, now a PhD student at the University of Melbourne, was shocked at the winning bidder’s identity—one of Michael Jordan’s lesser-known teammates, according to The Scientist:

The winner of the eBay auction, with a bid of AU $3,600 (US $2,900), was Luc Longley, a former NBA basketball player who won three straight championships with the dynastic Chicago Bulls team of the late 1990s. “It was a total surprise that a basketballer would be interested in this little deep-sea shrimp,” McCallum recalls.

Read More

MORE ABOUT: ebay, marine life

Weird Science Roundup: Killer Kelp, Science Movies, and the World's Fastest Everything

By Allison Bond | July 17, 2009 10:36 am

Yee-haw! It’s the blog roundup.• The kelp best known as an ingredient in miso soup has invaded the San Francisco Bay, worrying environmentalists because of the risk it could pose to the area’s delicate ecosystem. Just when you thought it was safe to go in the water…

• One small step for man, one giant leap for Twitterkind! Nature News is twittering the Apollo 11 mission in real-time as it happened 40 years ago.

• If you’ve ever yearned for the chance to re-make Star Wars: New Hope, here’s your chance: The Web site Star Wars: Uncut is crowd-sourcing the movie, offering 472 15-second clips of the film to re-make.

The Toronto International Film Festival will commence with a documentary of Charles Darwin, brought to you by movie stars and real-life couple Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly, who star as Darwin and his wife, respectively.

• And finally, check out this video of, well, the world’s fastest everything…clapper, cup stacker, sprinter. We got tired just watching it.


Pollution, Beware: It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's Robot Fish!

By Rachel Cernansky | March 19, 2009 12:22 pm

It looks like a carp, swims like a carp, and may even smell like a carp. But a fish being released into the waters of northern Spain is really a pollution-detecting robot.

Scientists in the U.K. have developed a robotic fish with tiny chemical sensors that detect potentially hazardous pollutants in the water. Researchers plan to release the fish into the water by the end of next year, and if the first batch of five is successful, they hope to use the fish to detect pollution—both on the surface as well as dissolved—in water systems around the world.

At 1.5 meters in length, the fish will be about the size of a seal, and will swim and wriggle just like real fish, at a maximum speed of about one meter per second. Unlike other robotic fish that are operated by remote control, the robot fish will be able to navigate autonomously, swimming through port areas and transmitting information via Wi-Fi to a control center. It will even know when it has to go back and recharge, so it won’t be left stranded by a dead battery.

Read More

Move Over, Cow Burps! Snail Belches Found to Produce Greenhouse Gas

By Rachel Cernansky | March 3, 2009 2:10 pm

worm.jpgAs if cow burps weren’t enough to worry about as the earth’s atmosphere heats up, scientists have now discovered that aquatic animal belches might be another source of greenhouse gas emissions.

When nitrate is present in water, worms, mussels, freshwater snails and other underwater creatures emit nitrous oxide as a by-product of digestion. The animals obtain their food from soil, which contains bacteria that survive “surprisingly well” in the gut and are thought to convert nitrate in the water into nitrous oxide gas.

While nitrous oxide is known for its use as dentists’ laughing gas, it’s also 310 times more effective at trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. Earthworms also emit the gas because of soil rich in both nitrogen and the microbes that convert it, but the new study illustrates that marine mammals may be pumping it out as well.

Read More

Believe It When You See It: Fish With a See-Through Head

By Rachel Cernansky | February 24, 2009 1:59 pm

crazy-barrel-eye.jpgSeemingly straight out of a science-fiction movie, a fish with tubular eyes and a see-through head discovered off the coast of California.

Researchers in Monterey Bay have released pictures of the first Macropinna microstoma to be found with its “soft transparent dome” intact. The six-inch “barreleye” fish lives more than 2,000 feet below sea level and spends most of its time motionless, but has eyes that can rotate within its head, allowing it to see whatever is directly above it.

Read More

MORE ABOUT: fish, marine life, Ocean

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Squid Sex

By Melissa Lafsky | February 17, 2009 7:15 pm

Squid SexThe details of animal mating can be ruthless, calculated, and remarkably graphic. But it’s a process that must be done for every creature, including the market squid, or Loligo opalescens, which lives—and breeds—along the Pacific coast. Over at Slate, oceanographer Miriam Goldstein has a list of techniques necessary for the foot-long invertebrate to mate successfully—which also means successful eating for the sharks, dolphins, sea lions, and scores of other aquatic creatures who make them a regular lunch. As with just about all marine life, the squid are currently being fished to the brink, making it all the more necessary that their short period of amorousness, which begins this month, comes to fruition.

So just how does a squid have sex, anyway? According to Goldstein:

During mating, the male’s sperm-delivery tentacle grabs a package of sperm, called a spermatophore, from under his mantle, the hatlike covering over the pointed end of the squid. He slips his tentacle under the female’s mantle and deposits the spermatophore next to her oviduct. When she lays the eggs, they brush by the spermatophore and are fertilized.

The steps that males can take to up their reproductive chances range from positioning themselves at the bottom of the sea/orgy to turning their tentacles bright red to intimidate other suitors to “spooning,” or sticking close to a fertilized female to make sure another male doesn’t swoop in at the last minute.

Disco: In Competitive Sex, Male Butterflies Employ “Dipstick Method”
Disco: Internet Dating a New Option for Zoo Animals
Disco: Bizarro Animal Sex Story of the Day

Image: Flickr / ourmanwhere

MORE ABOUT: animal sex, marine life

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!


Quirky, funny, and surprising science news from the edge of the known universe.

See More

Collapse bottom bar