Posts Tagged 'infographic'

New Infographic: Whale You Be Our Valentine?

In celebration of Valentine’s Day, our newest infographic is all about love in the aquatic world!

Did you know? A courtship dance between mated seahorses can last more than 7 hours! While mating, some seahorses change color and twirl around with their tails linked!

Male humpback whales breach and do acrobatic stunts in the hopes that their moves will “woo” their chosen females!

Check out our infographic for even more animal love facts:

national aquarium love infographic

Want to share our infographic with your animal-loving friends? Click here to “spread the love” via Facebook!

Happy Valentine’s Day! 

Thoughtful Thursday: New Biofluorescent Species Discovered!

The American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) announced today that a team of researchers and scientists has identified close to 200 species of biofluorescent fish!

**All images via American Museum of Natural History/National Geographic. 

Biofluorescence refers to an organism’s process of absorbing light, transforming it and ejecting it as a different color. This process is different from bioluminescence, which is the conversion of chemical energy into light. (Check out our infographic to learn all about bioluminescence!)

These 180 species of biofluorescent fish glow in a wide range of colors and patterns. The science community is still hypothesizing over the exact purpose of the light, potential uses include everything from communication to mating.

Did you know? Although it covers more than 70 percent of our planet’s surface, over 90 percent of the ocean remains unexplored. In that uncharted world, experts believe that up to two-thirds of the ocean’s plant and animal species still await our discovery!

To get more information on AMNH’s research on biofluorescence, click here.

A Blue View: Inside Bioluminescence

A Blue View is a weekly perspective on the life aquatic, hosted by National Aquarium CEO John Racanelli.

From the smallest plants and animals invisible to the human eye to entire ecosystems, every living thing depends on and is intricately linked by water.

Tune in to 88.1 WYPR every Tuesday at 5:45 p.m. as John brings to the surface important issues and fascinating discoveries making waves in the world today.

January 2, 2014: Inside Bioluminescence

A Blue View podcastClick here to listen to John discuss the amazing
phenomenon that is bioluminescence! 

In the ocean’s deepest reaches, sunlight cannot penetrate, and yet, there is light. From softly glowing to dazzlingly brilliant, it is not the light of humans and their machines. It is called bioluminescence—literally, “living light”—and it provides a bewildering variety of species the means to seek prey and elude predators in a world as alien to us as space.

Check out our infographic on this fascinating phenomenon: 

national aquarium bioluminescence infographic

Bioluminescence occurs when living creatures convert chemical energy to light energy, resulting in the production and emission of light. Here in the mid-Atlantic, we experience bioluminescence in our own backyards on many a summer evening. Fireflies are among the few terrestrial species that glow, joined by certain species of bacteria, insects, and fungi. Beyond these, there are few other bioluminescent animals found on land.

Under the sea, however, it is a remarkably different story. An estimated 90 percent of deep-sea marine creatures are able to produce bioluminescence in some way. Most emit blue or green hued light, though some creatures employ a red-light strategy—taking advantage of the fact that red is the first color in the spectrum to be refracted.

In the deep, where food is scarce and conditions unforgiving, bioluminescence is critical to the survival of countless aquatic species.
For those defending themselves against predators, bioluminescence can be used to distract or even divert attention. Bomber worms actually eject glowing green masses that redirect a predator’s attention!

Other marine animals use the light as a lure to find food. Consider the anglerfish, which has a light rod protruding from its head. This light coaxes prey to come closer, at which point the anglerfish snaps its impressive jaws around its meal. Certain squids flash light to stun their prey.

In one of the most fascinating uses of bioluminescence, counter-illumination, the light pattern on the bottom of a fish replicates the appearance of faint sunlight from above, so the fish is invisible to predators looking for food from below.

For all we’ve learned, we still known very little about how these mysterious creatures use their bioluminescent capabilities, and access to these incredible animals is a challenge for researchers. The very qualities that make them so fascinating also make them almost impossible to study.

Scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other organizations are researching this deep frontier in an effort to better understand the 90 percent of the ocean yet unexplored.

Blog-Header-JohnRacanelli

New Infographic! Our Humble Ode to the Mantis Shrimp

If you’ve been a follower of ours for a while now, you probably know that we have a peacock mantis shrimp, and that they’re pretty awesome creatures!

national aquarium peacock mantis shrimp

From their lethal, club-like appendages to their eyes (widely-considered to be the most complex of any living creature), peacock mantis shrimp have captivated scientists and online audiences alike, the latter is largely due to this comic created by The Oatmeal.

Did you know? Peacock mantis shrimp have 16 color receptive rods in their eyes (humans get by with only 3!). These rods allow them to detect 100,000 colors and many wavelengths of light, including ultraviolet!

national aquarium peacock mantis shrimp

Want to learn more about these awesome creatures? Check out our mantis shrimp infographic: 

national aquarium mantis shrimp infographic

Happy World Octopus Day!

Did you know? Today is (the 10th annual) World Octopus Day!

Octopuses (yes, THAT is the correct plural of octopus) are cephalopods – a class name derived from the Greek word cephalopoda, meaning “head-feet.” These incredibly unique animals are characterized by their bilateral symmetry, a body shape that primarily includes a large head and set of arms or tentacles.

Out of the 800 identified living species of cephalopods, 300 of those species are octopuses! Here at the Aquarium, we have a giant Pacific octopus on exhibit. We spoke to Aquarist Katie Webster about what it’s like to care for it:

Octopuses are among the most intelligent species in the animal kingdom. In total, an octopus has 500 million neurons, located in both its brain and throughout its arms. In addition to grabbing onto prey and climbing rocky underwater structures, an octopus uses its suckers to taste and sense.

Check out this awesome infographic to learn even more about these incredible animals: 

national aquarium octopus infographic


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