photos by solvin zanki of a nascent loggerhead sea turtle on turkey’s iztuzu beach taking its first steps en route to its new home in the sea. most eggs hatch in late september after five months of incubation, a period when this nesting site cum tourist beach is subject to restrictions.
sea turtles are one of the planet’s oldest species, roaming the oceans for around one hundred million years. but the twenty first century has seen their numbers decline by up to seven percent a year, largely as a result of commercial fishing nets which ensnare the turtles as bycatch.
but loggerheads, already an endangered species, face an ongoing threat to their coveted nesting sites to beach developers looking to draw in tourists. conservations have fought for decades to keep iztuzu beach free from development, though the licence to run it has recently been sold to property developers who threaten to change that.
Meet the deep sea-dwelling tripod fish. It spends most of its time in this stance, slightly elevated off the ocean floor where the presence of floating prey is greater. Being almost completely blind in its dark habitat, this fish uses modified fins that act as antennae to alert it of prey passing by.
Image credit: NOAA Okeanos Explorer
What’s the selective advantage of having enormous, fluid-filled sacs under your eyes? None, really. Bubble eyes are a variety of goldfish whose mutation was selected for by breeders for enjoyment in an aquarium setting. These fish wouldn’t make it very long in the wild.
Image credit: Anake Seenadee
A small opening in the central disk of a brittle star serves both as mouth and anus. Brittle stars are primarily scavengers, and they use their long, flexible arms to bring food towards the orifice, alternately ingesting and egesting organic matter.
Image credit: NOAA Ocean Explorer
Peringuey’s desert adder is the sidewinder of western Africa. It uses this type of locomotion to move across slippery, sandy slopes. As an ambush hunter, it buries itself in the sand with only its face partially exposed, ready to lunge at anything that passes by.
A dog’s rhinarium, or wet nose, is essential for its excellent sense of smell. The moisture helps the dog determine which direction a scent is coming from. It also collects scent particles which are further processed in olfactory sense organs in the mouth when the dog licks its snout.
Image credit: Elke Vogelsang
Although strikingly cat-like in their appearance, fossa belong in the mongoose family. With a nose-to-tail length reaching up to 6 feet, they are the largest carnivore endemic to Madagascar. These stealthy creatures are excellent hunters, and one study showed lemurs constitute over 50% of fossa diet.
Image credit: zoofanatic