Fun Facts for Kids
Did You Know?
The long-finned squid has a rocket-shaped body that glides gracefully through the water. It moves backwards by squirting water through a funnel below a beak-shaped mouth. The long-finned squid has a pair of tentacles, used to grab prey. The prey is then held by four pairs of much shorter arms. Squid’s eyes are always open because they have no eyelids. Squid can change colors when threatened, turning from a milky color to red, and squirting a thick cloud of pitch-black ink. The ink stops predators from watching their escape.
The long-finned squid has the largest giant axons (nerve fibers connecting nerve cells, like telephone wires) in all the animal kingdom. Most of our knowledge about how axons send messages throughout the body has come from studying the squid. Giant axons also provided the first clues on how nerves repair themselves after injury.
Did You Know?
Sea urchins are often called pincushions of the sea because of their hard globe-shaped bodies, armed with bristle-like spines that look like toothpicks. They live in shallow waters and carry small rocks, pieces of shells, kelp, and anemones on their back for shade and camouflage. Tubes with suction cups move within the spines, like dancing feet. The suctioned tube feet are used for moving about, trapping food, and protection. They use their small pinchers for defense and for clutching food. Sea urchins are intimidating grazers, gobbling up whole kelp beds in their paths.
Could sea urchins have discovered the fountain of youth? They are among the longest living animals on earth. They can live and reproduce for two hundred years or more.
Did You Know?
Jellyfish are among the most beautiful, mysterious, and captivating creatures of the ocean. They pulse and throb in seas all over the world. Their rhythm is somewhat like your heart-beating pulse. They are fragile and translucent (frosty see-through) or transparent (clear see-through). Most jellys are umbrella or bell shaped, with long string-like tentacles that hang from their bells. Each tentacle has thousands of microscopic stinging devices, arranged in exciting patterns to attract prey.
When diving down deep into pitch-black waters, a marine biologist senses an amazing world of lights. The lights spark and glow like fairy-dust sprinkled throughout the deep water. This light is called bioluminescence. It is made by sea creatures to lure prey, keep predators away, and attract mates. Most jellyfish are able to produce such a light. But the light doesn’t twinkle, flash, or glow in the dark continuously. Bioluminescence is one of the great mysteries of the sea.
Websites with more information:
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution http://www.whoi.edu
Scripps Institution of Oceanography http://www.sio.ucsd.edu
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration http://www.noaa.gov