lunes, 31 de agosto de 2015

The giant Lewis’ Moon Snail - Neverita lewisii (Syn. Euspira lewisii)

The giant Lewis’ Moon Snail - Neverita lewisii (Syn. Euspira lewisii)
Lewis’ Moon Snail, Neverita lewisii (Gastropoda - Naticidae), is a huge sea snail native to the Pacific Ocean coast of North America, from Canada to Baja California, Mexico). This is the largest of the moon snails, with shells up to 13 cm in diameter, however a fully expanded animal is several times larger than its shell. The snails plough forward with a foot just below the surface of the sand. When extended, the foot can measure over 30 cm in diameter.
Moon snails feed mostly on clams, mussels, or other mollusks. They are “boring predators”, meaning that they drill through the shell of their prey and ingest the tissue inside. In order to drill a prey item successfully, they must first detect and immobilize their prey, cover it in a mucus sheath and then transport it into the sediment to be drilled. Moon snails use a combination of an acidic enzyme and a “rasping tongue”, the radula, to penetrate their shelled prey. The radula, located at the end of the proboscis, scrapes the surface of the shell as the proboscis rotates 90 degrees, resulting in a fairly round and smooth borehole with an inner and outer edge. The accessory boring organ, located in the snail’s foot, secretes the acidic enzyme to soften the shell of the prey.

sábado, 29 de agosto de 2015

miércoles, 26 de agosto de 2015

Flower Mushroom Coral - Ricordea yuma

Flower Mushroom Coral - Ricordea yuma
Ricordea yuma (Corallimorpharia - Ricordeidae) is a species of soft coral belonging to a group commonly referred to as mushroom corals. These soft corals are very popular among aquarists due to their vibrant and varied color patterns. 
Ricordea yuma is found in the tropical Pacific. Like other Corallimopharians, this one has the ability to rapidly colonize available substrate.

domingo, 23 de agosto de 2015

Deep Sea Goosefish (Sladenia)

Deep Sea Goosefish (Sladenia) are anglerfish from the deep sea who lack the furious, devilish facial expressions of the classic deep sea anglerfish.
They sit their podgy bodies on the sea floor, resting on four, thick fins adapted for walking.
They have the classic lure for attracting prey but it isn’t luminescent.
I’m sure things change when dinner comes along, but when they’re just sitting there they look like the sweetest little deep sea puppies!
Images: NOAA

viernes, 21 de agosto de 2015

Light technologies mystery - with the thrilling conclusion!

Think you've solved the mystery of the professor's disappearance? Well, here's the conclusion, by popular vote!
Visit to learn about the fundamental science and engineering discoveries that make these tools and future technologies possible.

Here’s our story so far: An astronomer at a world-class observatory is last seen burning the midnight optics when he suddenly goes missing. A forensic duo equipped with the latest light-based technologies arrives on the scene to investigate. An infrared temperature sensor and room-mapping lasers provide clues, while evidence is bagged and tracked with barcodes. High-speed communication networks powered by fiber optics allow investigators to transmit their findings and obtain additional information as needed. Finally, a forensic holodeck puts it all together and reveals the fate of the professor…

jueves, 20 de agosto de 2015

Cook Inlet Beluga Whale.

NOAA Species Spotlight:  Cook Inlet Beluga Whale

Beluga whales squeal, squeak, and chirp, and it’s why sailors long ago called them “sea canaries.” This species is gregarious and small (up to 15 feet long). Of the five Alaskan stocks, the Cook Inlet beluga stock is the smallest and the most isolated from other belugas.

Cook Inlet belugas once were a valuable part of the regional Alaska Native subsistence diet, but the population has declined rapidly. This rapid decline was most likely due to unregulated subsistence harvest at a level that this small population could not sustain. The hunt has been suspended since 2005, but unfortunately the whale population has not recovered as expected.
NOAA Fisheries designated the Cook Inlet beluga whale population as depleted under the Marine Mammal Protection Act in 2000, and listed these belugas as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 2008. The rapid decline and dire status of the Cook Inlet beluga whale population makes it a priority for focusing efforts within NOAA Fisheries and with our partners to stabilize and prevent extinction of this iconic species...

miércoles, 19 de agosto de 2015

Year of Light: 3D laser map ‘illuminates’ earthquake faults

Geologists have an “illuminating” tool to study how earthquakes change the landscape–down to a few inches. And this laser-based technology is giving scientists insights into how earthquake faults behave.
In fact, a team of NSF-funded scientists from the United States, Mexico and China used the technology to obtain some of the most comprehensive before-and-after pictures of an earthquake zone, using data from the magnitude 7.2 event that struck near Mexicali, Mexico, in April 2010.
Working with the National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping (NCALM), the team flew over the area with LiDAR (light detection and ranging), which bounces a stream of laser pulses off the ground.
Image credit: Michael Oskin et al.,

lunes, 17 de agosto de 2015

Corrugated Liomera - Liomera rugata.

Corrugated Liomera - Liomera rugata
This ultra-pinkish crab (actually magenta) is scientifically named Liomera rugata (Decapoda - Xanthidae), a species which inhabits in coral reefs of the Red Sea, Tahiti, Hawaii, Philippines, China Sea, Japan, India and French Polynesia. It is also commonly known as Corrugated Crab due to the visible granules that cover the surface of carapace.

domingo, 16 de agosto de 2015

The Chemistry of Summer’s Pretty Insect.

As fireflies are delighting children across the country with their nighttime displays, scientists are closing in on a better understanding of how the insects produce their enchanting glow. They report in the Journal of the American Chemical Society new evidence of how the beetles’ chemistry works. Read more about this exciting discovery at:

martes, 11 de agosto de 2015

Humpback Batfish - Platax batavianus.

Humpback Batfish - Platax batavianus
Platax batavianus (Perciformes - Ephippidae) is a species of batfish which inhabits continental reefs from Madagascar to Indonesia and Australia. Juveniles of this species, like this one in the photo, are black with vertical white lines on body and fins; this zebra-pattern serves well as camouflage when sheltering with crinoids.
Adults are quite different, silvery, with only a dark bar through eye and another (faint) bar just behind head.

sábado, 8 de agosto de 2015

Manatees from the Gulf of Mexico

 Manatees from the Gulf of Mexico seek shelter in the springs to be able to keep their core temperature. When the water gets colder than 21 degrees celsius, they can get cold stress: their digestive system blocks and their life is in danger.

Pacific Spiny Lumpsucker - Eumicrotremus orbis.

Pacific Spiny Lumpsucker - Eumicrotremus orbis
Some people describe the Pacific Spiny Lumpsucker, Eumicrotremus orbis (Scorpaeniformes - Cyclopteridae), as a ping-pong ball with fins, and yes it seems to be that. 
Usually located in eel grass beds at night, these comical fish have a modified pelvic fin that works as a suction disk. This disk is used to attach the fish to rocks, shells and blades of eel grass. When disturbed, the fish hovers about, changing directions aimlessly like a tiny helicopter (they are very inefficient swimmers).
They are quite common, ranging from the waters off the Washington coast, up around the arc of the Aleutian Islands, to the Asian mainland and the northern islands of Japan, and in the Bering Sea. 
The largest recorded Lumpsucker was five inches in length, but the most of the lumpies that divers see are about the size of a quarter.

miércoles, 5 de agosto de 2015

Milionia basalis pyrozona

Milionia basalis pyrozona
Milionia basalis (Geometridae) is a species of butterfly found in Japan, N.E. Himalaya, Burma and Sundaland, which occurs in a number of distinct races. The brilliant coloredM. basalis pyrozona has been recorded in Peninsular Malaysia and Burma.

martes, 4 de agosto de 2015

Kyonemichthys rumengani

Kyonemichthys rumengani • A New Genus and Miniature New Species of Pipehorse (Syngnathidae) from Lembeh Straits, Sulawesi, Indonesia  [2007]

A new genus and species of the gasterosteiform family Syngnathidae, Kyonemichthys rumengani, is described from a single 26.8 mm TL adult female collected in Lembeh Straits, Sulawesi, Indonesia. 
It is one of the smallest members of the family relative to body mass, and resembles the pipehorse genera Acentronura, Amphelikturus and Idiotropiscis in having a short head and snout angled slightly to the axis of the body, dermal appendages and flexible tail lacking a caudal fin. 
It differs from the three most notably in having fewer trunk rings (9, versus 11-15), more tail rings (51, versus 37-46), a posteriorly positioned dorsal fin originating on the eighth tail ring (versus usually originating on the trunk, but not posteriorly farther than the second tail ring) and a uniquely swollen trunk with a medial constriction.
Source: Martin F. Gomon. 2007. aqua, International Journal of Ichthyology. 13; 25-30. (
photograph by W. Tan

domingo, 2 de agosto de 2015

How to grow a bone - Nina Tandon

Can you grow a human bone outside the human body? The answer may soon be yes. Nina Tandon explores the possibility by examining how bones naturally grow inside the body, and illuminating how scientists are hoping to replicate that process in a lab.

Lesson by Nina Tandon, animation by Giant Animation Studios.