The southern sand octopus (Octopus kaurna) whips up some seafloor "quicksand" lined with mucus and burrows into it to rest during the daytime. From New Scientist:
(University of Melbourne researcher Jasper) Montana and his team first caught the octopus in the act of burrowing in 2008 when they were scuba diving at night in Port Philip Bay, south of Melbourne, Australia. When they shone a light on the octopus, the startled animal spread out its arms and repeatedly injected high-powered jets of water into the sediment using its funnel. This caused grains of sand to be temporarily suspended in water, making it like sandy water.
“The sediment became fluid like quicksand,” Montana says. The octopus put its arms into the sand while still pumping out water and eventually dived down into the sediment. The liquefied sand is likely to reduce drag and so allow the animal to burrow more quickly, using less energy, Montana’s team speculates....
They (later) found that the animal used its arms and mantle to push the sand away and form a burrow. It also extended two arms to the surface to create a narrow chimney to breathe through. Finally, it secured the walls of its new home with a layer of mucus that kept the grains of sand together so the entire thing maintained its shape.
"Zoologger: Octopus makes own quicksand to build burrow on seabed" (New Scientist via Laughing Squid)
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Robyn Malcolm captured this wonderful photo of a fur seal surfing on a humpback whale off Eden, Australia.
"We'd seen some amazing whales coming out of the water, everything was happening so quickly," Malcolm told the Sydney Morning Herald. "And it was when I went back through the photos that I realised I had actually captured the seal on top of the whale."
Geoff Ross, a whale expert at New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service said the only other time he'd heard of this happening is when a seal was attempting to escape an orca. Read the rest
Infestations of crown-of-thorns sea stars destroy coral reefs, so researchers at Queensland University of Technology developed an autonomous robot sub that recognizes starfish and then kills them with a poison injection. Read the rest
Dorina Rosin, a "spiritual healer," plans to give birth in the sea with the aid of dolphins. Among other benefits, Rosin and partner Maika Suneagle believe that their baby will speak dolphin. Read the rest
Researchers calculate that as many as 9 out of 10 seabirds have plastic garbage in their intestines. So sad. Read the rest
On Saturday, Elinor Dempsey, 54, was surfing Morro Strand State Beach near San Luis Obispo, California when she noticed a great white shark approaching her. Read the rest
Warning: Not recommended. If you see stranded marine life, call your local fish and wildlife authority, or ask a marine biologist. Read the rest
This fantastic video from the World Wildlife Fund in Australia is a turtle’s eye view of the The Great Barrier Reef. The sensitive ecological zone is home to almost 6,000 species.
To find out more about the level of pollution affecting turtles within the Great Barrier Reef, WWF is working on innovative project in Queensland with the support of our partners Banrock Station Wines Environmental Trust, James Cook University, The University of Queensland, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, State and Commonwealth government agencies, Indigenous rangers and local community groups.
As part of that project, the opportunity arose to very carefully fit a small GoPro camera to a turtle, to better understand the post-release behaviour of tagged green turtles. The result is this amazing video.
This week, the World Heritage Committee will vote whether to keep a strong watch over Australia until the health of the Great Barrier Reef. The decision is critical to the future protection of the Reef.
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"Born Like Stars" (2011) by Brent Hoff. Read the rest
Dude. When there's a shark hanging out, humans like you are supposed to go inside, not on top of, the cage.
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About two thousand feet (598 meters) below the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana, remotely operated vehicle Hercules encountered a magnificent sperm whale. Read the rest
KQED takes a Deep Look at pygmy seahorses, recently bred in captivity for the first time thanks to biologists at the California Academy of Sciences. Read the rest
Researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and independent shipwreck divers exploring the Golden Gate strait discovered two sunken ships from 1863 and 1910, with several hundreds more "forgotten ghost ships" likely still undiscovered in the area. Read the rest
The National Museum of Natural History's Sandra Raredon maintains the "fish library," a job that includes X-raying the specimens like this two-headed smooth-hound shark. Below, a small tooth sawfish and Atlantic angel shark.
"A Two-Headed Shark and Other X-Rayed Beauties at the Smithsonian"
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