Crazy Deep Sea Critters From Nautilus

National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Robert Ballard, Emerging Explorer Katy Croff Bell, and the rest of the crew and visitors aboard the ship of exploration Nautilus are once again patrolling the seas in search of whatever wonders the deep will reveal.

This summer they are in the Caribbean region, examining shipwrecks, investigating topographical anomalies and, to the delight of anyone with a soft spot for animals, observing some of the strangest, cutest, and most awe-inspiring creatures in the sea. You can watch the live feed from the ship and ROVs daily at Below, enjoy some of the best sights from the current expedition so far.

Animal Highlights Summer 2014

Still your beating hearts, you remnant “Twilight” fans. The vampire squid may lack sparkles on his chest, but man can he dance.


Or perhaps you go more for the so-cute-your-eyes-bleed kind of critters. If that’s the case, you’ll soon be thinking kittens look like Godzilla’s boorish cousins in contrast to the squishy little shy guy known as the bobtail squid (though he’s actually more closely related to cuttlefish).


The best thing about these sightings is that as cute as they are, they are also of real scientific interest. The large size, unusual movements, and other physical features made this dumbo octopus of particular interest to the biologists on board.


Finally, lest you think the deep sea is filled with nothing but adorable hipster t-shirt characters come to life, behold this bizarre siphonophone—a relative of the Portuguese man-of-war with mind-bending qualities of being both a single individual and a colony of many individual animals.


Keep up with all the latest discoveries from the crew at and follow the expedition on Facebook to receive real-time dive alerts.



Meet the Author
Andrew Howley is a longtime contributor to the National Geographic blog, with a particular focus on archaeology and paleoanthropology generally, and ancient rock art in particular. In 2018 he became Communications Director at Adventure Scientists, founded by Nat Geo Explorer Gregg Treinish. Over 11 years at the National Geographic Society, Andrew worked in various ways to share the stories of NG explorers and grantees online. He also produced the Home Page of for several years, and helped manage the Society's Facebook page during its breakout year of 2010. He studied Anthropology with a focus on Archaeology from the College of William & Mary in Virginia. He has covered expeditions with NG Explorers-in-Residence Mike Fay, Enric Sala, and Lee Berger. His personal interests include painting, running, and reading about history. You can follow him on Twitter @anderhowl and on Instagram @andrewjhowley.