An albino sea turtle hatchling.
The Amazing Jellies
Jellyfish or jellies are the major non-polyp form of individuals of the phylum Cnidaria. They are free-swimming marine animals consisting of a gelatinous umbrella-shaped bell and trailing tentacles. Most jellies are bioluminescent (self-producing light), resembling colorful, floating lamps. Jellyfish have roamed the seas for 500 to 700 million years, making them the oldest multi-organ animal on the planet.
Award Winning Undersea Images
These amazing undersea images are just some of the winners of the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science 2013 underwater photography contest. Animals featured: a harbor seal, blue-ringed octopus, goliath grouper, a pod of dolphins and a male banded jawfish with his clutch of eggs.
Black Sand Beach
The black sand in Punalu’u Black Sand Beach on the Big Island of Hawaii is made of basalt and created by lava flowing into the ocean which explodes as it reaches the ocean and cools. Located on the southeastern Kau coast, Punalu’ is one of the most famous black sand beaches in Hawaii. The beach is also a turtle refuge and sanctuary for the endangered Green and Hawksbill turtles. Punalu’u means fresh water as the beach has underground fresh water flowing into the bay. The ancient tribes that lived here utilized the underground streams for survival in this mostly arid and dry region of the island.
Strange and Beautiful Sea Life
- Royal Starfish – This beautifully colored sea star is a carnivore and feeds on molluscs, which it catches with its arms and then takes to the mouth. The prey is then trapped by the long, moving prickles around the mouth cavity. Unlike other starfish, it swallows food whole.
- Flamingo Tongue Snail – When alive, this sea snail appears bright orange-yellow in color with black markings. However, these colors are not in the shell, but are on the live mantle tissue which covers the shell. This species used to be common, but has become less so due to over-collecting by snorkelers and scuba divers who incorrectly think they are gathering colorful shells.
- Peacock Mantis Shrimp – They appear in a large variety of bright neon colors. Sometimes referred to as “thumb splitters”, mantis shrimp sport powerful claws that they use to attack and kill prey. Although it happens rarely, larger species are capable of breaking through aquarium glass with a single strike from their claw.
The Rare Gemstone Ammolite
This dazzling iridescent fossil of an 80 million year old ammonite measuring two feet in diameter was discovered near Alberta, Canada and is a particularly rare example of an ancient sea creature that went extinct at the same time as most dinosaurs. The spectacular coloration is the result of millions of years of high temperatures and pressures acting on the animal’s shell to create a gemstone known as ammolite.