This creature looks like a pillbug/rolypoly, right?
It’s actually a deep sea isopod (Bathynomus giganteus), but that guess isn’t too far off - the two animals are in the same order of crustaceans, the Isopoda. Land isopods, or roly polies, don’t grow to the same size as this deep ocean dwelling species, which can be about a foot long.
Bathypterois is a genus deep sea fish known as the tripod fish. As their name suggests, the fish stands on the sea floor using three fins as support. In some species, these fins can be up to 1m long.
The fish perch on the substrate with their heads facing the current. The fins allow for their heads to be at the right level to catch drifting crustaceans and small fish.
Due to the complete darkness of the deep sea, the fish does not rely on eyesight to catch prey. Instead, it faces its pectoral fins forward and uses tactile and mechanosensory cues to identify food. Once they feel prey and realise it is edible, the fins sweep the food into the fish’s mouth.
Symbiosis is the interaction between two different organisms living in close association.
Symbiotic relationships are an important component of life in the ocean. In such relationships, plants or animals of different species may be dependent on one another for survival. They may share habitats or lifestyles or interact in a specific way to benefit from the presence of another organism.
When two organisms are in a symbiotic relationship, sometimes both organisms benefit (mutualism) and other times one organism may benefit while another is unaffected (commensalism). If one of the organisms is completely dependent on the other, it is called an obligate relationship; if the relationship is preferred, but not dependent, it is a facultative relationship. And, not all symbioses are positive for both organisms: in a parasitic relationship, one member benefits while the “host” is harmed…
image: Hermit crabs are often found inhabiting shells decorated with anemones or other sessile animals, which offer added protection and camouflage. Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, 2013 Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition.
Velodona togata is the only species in the genus Velodona; the genus and species names come from the large membranes that connect its arms. The species was first described by Carl Chun in his book Die Cephalopoden (from which this illustration is taken) in 1915. A second subspecies was described by Guy Coburn Robson in 1924.
…a species of flabby whalefish (Cetomimidae) that is occurs in the the depths of Pacific ocean, chiefly in the Coral Sea and the Gulf of California. However, it is also known from the Eastern Central Atlantic. Like other flabby whalefish R. savagei’s eyes are vestigial and instead of sight R. savagei uses its lateral line to sense changes in its surroundings.
A spectacular group of Venus’s Flower Basket Glass sponges (Euplectella aspergillum)with a squat lobster in the middle, photographed in the Gulf of Mexico, North.
Euplectella aspergillum is a sessile animal that protrudes from the rocky ocean bottoms. Its skeleton contains hexactine (six-rayed) siliceous spicules and in addition contains a latticework of fused siliceous spicules. This is where is gets the name “glass sponge” because quite literally it is made of glass, making it the most exquisite example of the class Hexactinellida, but also as precarious and as brittle as glass can be.
One very unique feature about the E. aspergillum is that very often you can find some abyssal shrimp within the cavity produced by the lattice structure that makes up the sponge. Sometimes young male and female shrimp enter this cavity while they are still larva and over time they begin to feed and grow. The small shrimp grow and become too large to leave the silicon cavity of the sponge. It is customary in Japanese culture to give this elegant glass sponge away as a wedding gift symbolizing the wedding vow, “Till death us do part”.
Animalia - Porifera - Hexactenellida - Lyssacinosidea - Euplectellidae - Euplectella - E. aspergillum
C. murrayi is virtually blind. The eye lacks a lens; the retina is reduced and continuous with a cornea. The eye is embedded within the gelatinous tissue of the head without connection to the surface. Nevertheless, the eye still functions as a simple photoreceptor that cannot form images. This species is worldwide in distribution and occupies great depths primarily between 1500 and 4500 m, although it has been captured at the surface in an ice hole in the Arctic Ocean…
This swarm of shrimp was seen while exploring the Von Damm hydrothermal field along the Mid-Cayman Rise. Scientists observed at least two species of shrimp at the vent site. One relies on chemosynthesis for food, and the other may be a predator…
… live in the deep sea and are rarely seen by humans. Recently, however, some Japanese fishermen accidentally captured a still living Giant Squid (it died soon after being brought to the surface). Although glimpsing a living Giant Squid is more cephalopod excitement than most of us can ever hope for, visitors to the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of Natural History can see two beautifully preserved and displayed specimens from Spain, a large female and a smaller male. How did they get here?
A one-ton, 26-foot squid can’t fit in your carry-on luggage. Listen to Encyclopedia of Life’s One Species at a Time podcast about how museum exhibit designers transported this enormous animal from Spain to Washington, D.C. in an effort dubbed “Operation Calamari”.
Siphonophores are colonial cnidarians, a group of animals that includes the corals, hydroids, and true jellyfish. This species, Apolemia rubriversa was described by Seibert et al. (2013) using specimens collected by MBARI’s ROV Doc Ricketts. Pictured is the nectosome, which contains the swimming bells.
You can learn more about siphonophores at http://www.siphonophores.org/ a page managed by Brown University professor Casey Dunn, collaborator of MBARI’s Steve Haddock.
Deep-sea hydrothermal vents exist in harsh conditions. They lie more than a mile and a half below the sea surface, in total darkness. Yet the searing hot vents support a thriving ecosystem that includes thousands of species of microbes and dozens of species of animals, from blind shrimp to giant tubeworms.
How can such a large variety of life exist in total darkness? The organisms that make up a vent ecosystem may seem strange and exotic, but the roles they play are very similar to the roles that other species play in ecosystems on land. Vent ecosystems also go through stages of development, or succession, like ecosystems on land.
An ecosystem starts with a handful of species colonizing, or settling down, in a barren environment. A hydrothermal vent ecosystem forms after a volcanic eruption at the seafloor. One area of hydrothermal vents, called “9 North” because it is located at 9°N on a mid-ocean ridge in the eastern Pacific Ocean, has undergone two periods of eruptions recently, one in 1992 and one in 2005-06. Scientists carefully observed what happened in the months and years after those eruptions. The following description is based mainly on those observations…
Climate News Network: Climate models suggest ‘staggering’ impact on deep sea marine life as world warms. The scientists predict that seafloor-dwelling organisms will decline by over five per cent globally and by 38% in the North Atlantic over the next century. This is because there will be a a reduction in their food source, the plants and animals living at the ocean surface which nourish deep-sea communities when they die and sink to the depths…
A rarely seen pink brittlestar on an octocoral (soft coral). Image captured by the Little Hercules remotely operated vehicle at 1,517 meters depth on a site referred to as ‘Baruna Jaya IV - Site 1’ on August 1, 2010, during the NOAA Okeanos Explorer Indonesia-USA Deep-Sea Exploration of the Sangihe Talaud Region.
This swimming elasipod sea cucumber (Paleopatides sp.) was photographed off the northern shore of Ta’u Island during the exploration of Vailulu’u, an underwater volcano that lies approximately 20 miles east of Ta’u Island in American Samoa. The volcano and its hydrothermal vents offered an exciting opportunity for scientists to explore the complex interface between the lithosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere.