Opportunistic mimicry by a jawfish of a mimic octopus

This remarkable behavior was discovered just a few months ago; a black-marble jawfish (Stalix cf. histrio) following and mimicking a mimic octopus in one of my all-time favorite places at the center of marine biodiversity: the Lembeh Strait, Indonesia.

An outstanding find which shows just how much marine life has yet to teach us….

Here’s the journal article: http://www.springerlink.com/content/p74l7mn21441538t/ and the MSNBC news article: Tiny fish mimics octopus that mimics fish

Tool cool for school


This story proves how we’ve only scratched the surface of what we know about the ocean and marine life.

Some animals are classified as “intelligent” if they use tools right? What about fish? It is known that some fish use tools to crush the shells of their prey but it is not well documented in photos. Recently a diver on the Great Barrier Reef managed to photograph a tuskfish using a rock as an anvil to smash a clam shell open.

Tool use in the tuskfish Choerodon schoenleinii?

Fig. 1 a–f: Series of six photographs of a black spot tuskfish, Choerodon schoenleinii using a rock as an anvil to open a cockle shell. The photographs span 75 s and were taken while on a dive in the Keppel Islands region of the southern Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, Australia. Broken shells are seen lying on the sand near the rock.

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Seven new fish species

Starksia blenniesScienceDaily (Feb. 5, 2011) – Things are not always what they seem when it comes to fish — something scientists at the Smithsonian Institution and the Ocean Science Foundation are finding out. Using modern genetic analysis, combined with traditional examination of morphology, the scientists discovered that what were once thought to be three species of blenny in the genus Starksia are actually 10 distinct species. Continue reading

10 year study reveals new marine species!


» View a slideshow at the Washington Post site of wonderful photos of marine life, including some bizarre new species involved in the COML Project.

» Find out more about The Census of Marine Life (don’t miss their image and video galleries) | Download the “First Census of Marine Life 2010: Highlights of a Decade of Discovery 64-page report that describes some of the scientific highlights of ten years of exploration, research and analysis undertaken by Census of Marine Life scientists.”

Well done! Here’s to another 10 years, so much to do, so little time!

Newly discovered deep sea lobster

Discovered by an international trio of scientists, the lobster, Dinochelus ausubeli, lives in the deep ocean water  near the Phillipines.

The new lobster has movable, well-developed eyestalks and an inverted T-plate in front of its mouth.

But its most striking feature is a mighty claw with a short, bulbous palm and extremely long, spiny fingers for capturing prey.

Dinochelus is derived from the Greek words dino, meaning terrible and fearful, and chelus, meaning claw.

All told, the Census of Marine Life sponsored 540 expeditions over 10 years, carried out by 2,700 researchers from more than 80 countries. It was, Ausubel says, the biggest project in the history of marine biology.

via Newly discovered deep sea lobster.

Two-spot Octopus Hunting at Night

The Aquarium of the Pacific’s Director of Education and our Director of Cephalopods, Dr. James Wood, found two amazingly cooperative two-spot octopuses (Octopus bimaculoides) while looking in tidepools at night on Catalina Island off of Southern California. This video shows the octopuses hunting, cleaning, squeezing through a crevice, and more. See Dr. Wood’s site “The Cephalopod Page” for more information about this amazing group of marine animals. We also recommend checking out the Octopus bimaculoides (Bimac/Californian Two-spot Octopus) Care Sheet at Tonmo.com.

Killer schmiller – whales need love too!

MarineBio Director of Marine Mammals discovers that killer whales create and visit social clubs just like people do

Story from BBC:

Up to 100 fish-eating killer whales come together in the Avacha Gulf, off the coast of Russia. But no-one knew why the whales form these huge superpods, when they normally live in smaller groups.

Now scientists report in the Journal of Ethology that these groups act as clubs in which the killer whales form and maintain social ties. Continue reading

US Government subsidized fishing nets?

The United States Agency for International Development is jeopardizing the future of development for east Africa by distributing destructive fishing nets to African fishermen:

Kenya Wildlife Perishes in Nets Bought with US Aid
By Katharine Houreld

DIANI, Kenya (AP) – Plastic fishing nets — some bought for poor fishermen with American aid money — are tangling up whales and turtles off one of Africa’s most popular beaches.

One recent victim was a huge dappled whaleshark that bled to death after its tail was cut off by fishermen unwilling to slash their nets to save it. In another case, divers risked their lives to free a pregnant, thrashing humpback whale entangled in a net last summer. Continue reading