Animal Earth: New Photos Exploring the Diversity of the World’s Most Obscure Species

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Segmentation, a distinguishing feature of the annelids is clearly visible here. Photo by Alexander Semenov.

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Nudibranchs, together with a huge variety of other marine mollusks, are commonly known as sea slugs (Coryphella polaris). Photo by Alexander Semenov.

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Many tube-dwelling polychaetes have elaborate, colorful tentacles for filter feeding and gas exchange. The funnel-shaped structure (operculum) seals the tube when the animal retreats inside (unidentified serpulid). Photo by Alexander Semenov.

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The compound eyes of a cynipid wasp (unidentified species). Some insects have simple eyes in addition to compound eyes, three of which can be seen on the top of this wasp’s head. Photo by Tomas Rak.

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The spherical test and impressive spines of a sea urchin. Coelopleurus floridanus. The mobile spines offer protection from predators. Since this species lives in relatively deep water, the purpose of the bright pigments in the skin and underlying skeleton is unknown. Photo by Arthur Anker.

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A jellyfish (Bougainvillia superciliris) with a hitchhiking amphipod (Hyperia galba). Photo by Alexander Semenov.

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In the cnidarians, what looks like a single individual is often a colony of polyps with specialized functions. In this floating colony (Porpita sp.) there are polyps for providing buoyancy, feeding (tentacles), digestion and reproduction. Photo by Arthur Anker.

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The colors and patterns of the sea slugs warn predators of their toxicity. This nudibranch is Chromodoris annulata. Photo by Arthur Anker.

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A sea angel, Clione limacine. In this image the grasping tentacles and chitinous hooks are retracted. Photo by Alexander Semenov.

We’ve all grown up learning about familiar animals like fish, tigers, elephants and bears, but this new book from Ross Piper takes the opposite approach: exploring the diversity in size, shape and color of the world’s most obscure and rarely seen organisms. With photography from Alexander Semenov, Arthur Anker, and other animal specialists and researchers, the 320-page Animal Earth promises to open your eyes to a variety of truly bizarre species from deepest oceans and the most adverse climates. The book is set to be published mid-November from Thames & Hudson.

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