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

Bad news from the Gulf

Several outbreaks of ciguatera fish poisoning have been confirmed in consumers who ate fish harvested in the northern Gulf of Mexico according to the Food and Drug Administration. Fish that pose the largest risk to consumers include grouper, snapper, amberjack, and barracuda. These species feed on smaller fish that eat toxic marine algae. The larger the predator, the higher the concentration of the toxin. Continue reading

Good news for the Gulf

There’s something about the Gulf Coast on the Florida panhandle that feels like home to me. Though there’s not much to see underwater, at least not compared to coral reef habitats, I can still snorkel there for hours. I generally only see mostly sand, water, blue crabs, and an occasional stingray or juvenile jack, but there’s something about snorkeling those waters that makes me (almost) as happy as I feel when scuba diving a teeming reef. I once snorkeled out to the sandbar, roughly 50 yards offshore, and encountered a turtle. That was darn near a religious experience for me. Continue reading