The Oceans’ Oddest Creatures and Why They Matter

Jawfish Photo: The male jawfish is incubating eggs in its mouth. Steven Kovacs

Marine creatures are among the strangest, most beautiful and least known animals on Earth. Their intriguing mating strategies, defensive weapons, shape-shifting and camouflage abilities make for great stories and amazing photographs.

Some of the best of those tales and images appear in the new book Sex, Drugs and Sea Slime, by marine biologist Ellen Prager.

"I’ve always been intrigued by these wonderful stories about marine life that most people never get to hear, You know they’re the stories that over beers your colleagues tell you," Prager said. "But it’s not the stuff that typically gets out to the public."

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Read more from Ellen Prager about the intriguing animals of the oceans in an exclusive excerpt from the new book Sex Drugs and Sea Slime.

Blanket Octopus Photo: Blanket Octopus. Steve Hamedl

Octopus Sex Photo: Octopus Sex. © Steven Kovacs/

Nudibranch Sex Photo: Mating pair of clown nudibranchs. (© Diane Armstrong/

Fried Egg Nudibranch Photo: Fried-egg nudibranch lays an egg mass a la slime. (© Mark Strickland/

Conch Sex Photo: Conch sex and the male’s lengthy verge revealed. (Jerry Corsaut)

Parrotfish Photo: Parrotfish slumbers in a cocoon of protective slime at night in the Celebes Sea, Malaysia. (© Doug Perrine/

Squid Sex Photo: Squid sex and eggs off California. (© Mark Conlin/

Pygmy Seahorse Photo: Pygmy seahorse in camouflage on a sea fan, Borneo, Malaysia. (Vickie Coker)

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