RARE: The deep ocean is utterly alien to most of us. That’s what makes these images of this bizarre and graceful fish (filmed by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute) so amazing. Sometimes, when you see rare footage, it’s grainy or blurry, though you can appreciate it for the content. In contrast, these clips of the pointy-nosed blue chimaera are so clear, it’s as if you’re in the water with the ghost shark, as this animal is also known. As you watch the pale form float by, you can see how it got that name.
EXCLUSIVE: What can survive in a cave devoid of sunlight and full of gases so toxic that a person who enters would pass out after just a few breaths? Blood-red worms, of course! These worms, discovered in Sulfur Cave in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, may exist nowhere else on Earth.
RARE: For the first time ever, we see what giant leopard seals in the wild are up to underwater—and it’s pretty rough. National Geographic Grantee and biologist Douglas Krause teamed up with National Geographic’s Crittercam team to put cameras on these apex predators to learn more about their ecosystem.
The footage revealed never-before-filmed behavior. Watch them go head-to-head in epic food fights and steal prey (read: fur seal babies) from each other. The footage promises to help scientists determine how they can better protect leopard seals and their habitat.
RARE: It isn’t every day you see two of the world’s deadliest snakes locked in combat. Luckily, this encounter between two black mambas vying for dominance during mating season was caught on camera last year in South Africa.
It’s fairly rare to observe this mesmerizing behavior, called plaiting combat, in the wild. We contacted a collection manager in the Florida Museum of Natural History’s herpetology divison to learn more—read his reaction to the video here.
EXCLUSIVE: I’ve edited videos about dead body farms, mating echidnas (truly weird), and the terrible effects the ivory trade has on elephant populations. This video may have been the hardest to edit. Seeing the mother polar bear shift gears from fleeing (0:25), then turning to protect her cub (0:58) to eventually giving up and running away (01:30) after the cub is killed by the much larger and stronger male is heartbreaking. And this behavior may be increasing due to melting sea ice caused by climate change.