Posts tagged mbari
Posts tagged mbari
Killer sponges thrive in the lightless depths of the deep sea. Scientists first discovered that some sponges are carnivorous about 20 years ago. Since then only seven carnivorous species have been found in all of the northeastern Pacific. A new paper authored by MBARI marine biologist Lonny Lundsten and two Canadian researchers describes four new species of carnivorous sponges living on the deep seafloor, from the Pacific Northwest to Baja California.
These animals look like bare twigs or small shrubs covered with tiny hairs. But the hairs consist of tightly packed bundles of microscopic hooks that trap small animals such as shrimp-like amphipods. Once an animal becomes trapped, it takes only a few hours for sponge cells to begin engulfing and digesting it. After several days, all that is left is an empty shell.
Caption: A large group of Asbestopluma monticola sponges grow on top of a dead sponge on Davidson Seamount, off the Central California coast. Credit: © 2006 MBARI
The vampire squid’s latin name, Vampyroteuthis infernalis, literally translates to “vampire squid from hell”. It is unclear why it has such a foreboding name. It is not the voracious predator that you might think. Recent research at MBARI revealed that unlike its relatives the octopuses and squids, which eat live prey, the vampire squid uses two thread-like filaments to capture bits of organic debris that sink down from the ocean surface into the deep sea.
Read more about the research and watch a video about it here.
More to Sea in Our Octopus Exhibit
The most famous residents of our giant Pacific octopus exhibit are, of course, the beautiful octopuses themselves. But did you know there are lots of other amazing animals sharing the display? These species came from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, our sister organization just up the road.
White or glass sea cucumber (Pannychia moseleyi): Lives at depths greater than 400 meters in the Monterey Bay Canyon. When disturbed, it bioluminesces with brilliant blue-green spirals to deter predators. (Dave Robel)
Deep sea sun star (Rathbunaster californicus): This animal has as many as 22 arms, which it can shed as a defense mechanism. Predators investigate the wriggling arm as they crawl to safety, then it regenerates the lost arm! This star scavenges dead animals such as fishes and whales. It also feeds on fishes, crustaceans, and molluscs. (Dave Wrobel)
Common feather star (Florometra serratissima): This star has feather-like pinnules that cover the arms and are used for feeding. Tiny tube feet secrete mucus that helps capture food particles such as marine snow and small zooplankton. (Craig Racicot)
Johnson’s sea cucumber (Parastichopus johnsoni ): Like many other deep-sea creatures, this animal is bright red, helping it hide in deep water, where red is invisible (appearing black). (Dave Wrobel)
Figure. Two photographs of the same Taonius borealis showing eye orientation. Left - Anterior view with laterally oriented eyes. Right - Anterior-oblique view with anteriorly oriented eyes. Photographs © 2011 MBARI.
This squid is Taonius borealis, a species of deep-sea glass squid whose arms are always tucked up in a fancy pompadour.
It can also see your pathetic, wretched soul
It can also see into forever.
This remarkable animal was discovered at a depth near 2,500 meters in Monterey Bay. It has been tentatively classified as a nudibranch but it is unlike any other member of that group ever described.
Thass right. It’s a deep-sea dwelling, pelagic nudibranch, which so far has been informally dubbed as ‘Mystery Mollusk’ by Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) crews circa 2002. There should be a scientific literature about this beauty by now, though I confess I haven’t got access to any. The hand-like appendage seems to be an oral hood like the one on genus Melibe in my opinion. I could be wrong