DISCOVERIES

Join some of our planet’s most promising scientists and explorers as they discover new species, reveal new relationships, and inform new conservation priorities.

From the beautiful to the bizarre, this photographic showcase of life on Earth shines a light on some of our planet's most amazing species and places.

photo gallery | 04.30.19

The Big Picture 2019

photo gallery | 32.30.19

The Big Picture 2019

This picturesque battle between a blue dragon sea slug and a Portuguese man o’ war is a matter of life or death—for both parties.

spotlight | 04.18.19

Deathly Beautiful

spotlight | 30.18.19

Deathly Beautiful

The more scientists learn about this strange, elusive species, the more concerned they become about its future. But these new insights may ultimately help to save it.

photo essay | 04.18.19

Plight of the Platypus

photo essay | 29.18.19

Plight of the Platypus

One of the most attentive of all insect parents, this tiny treehopper fiercely defends her offspring until they're fully grown, using her thorn-shaped headdress as both shield and intimidation tool.

spotlight | 03.17.19

Mighty Mom

spotlight | 24.17.19

Mighty Mom

What looks like a flamboyant fashion accessory is actually this jelly's brilliant evolutionary strategy for attracting prey.

spotlight | 02.27.19

Allure of the Flower Hat

spotlight | 23.27.19

Allure of the Flower Hat

This caterpillar combines next-level camouflage and shelter-building to disappear into one of the most vibrant and biodiverse ecosystems on the planet.

spotlight | 12.18.18

Mobile Home

spotlight | 58.18.18

Mobile Home

For these hunters, no right-sized target is off-limits—regardless of whether or not it has a backbone.

spotlight | 11.06.18

Spider House Rules

spotlight | 25.06.18

Spider House Rules

Climate change may have forced these Galápagos sea lions to turn to a new food source. Since they can't outswim their prey, they use wits and teamwork instead.

photo essay | 11.06.18

The Tuna Herders

photo essay | 24.06.18

The Tuna Herders

Finding—and defending—prime fruit-picking perches is no easy task in the rainforest, but toucans have a few tricks up their beaks.

spotlight | 10.23.18

The Better to Bite You With

spotlight | 19.23.18

The Better to Bite You With

A quest to record a quiet frog’s call may mean the difference between its survival and its extinction.

video | 10.09.18

Sounds of Survival

video | 36.09.18

Sounds of Survival

Shockingly, being eaten alive by dozens of hungry wasp larvae may have its advantages.

spotlight | 09.11.18

It’s a Wasp-Eat-Caterpillar World

spotlight | 07.11.18

It’s a Wasp-Eat-Caterpillar World

A tiny copper cannonball is no match for this hawkmoth's hovering prowess.

video | 08.28.18

Lens of Time: The Art of Staying Stable

video | 01.28.18

Lens of Time: The Art of Staying Stable

In a display that rivals even the most dazzling of firework shows, millions of squid gather off the coast of Japan each spring to perform a sparkling spawning ritual.

photo essay | 07.03.18

Flashes of Brilliance

photo essay | 10.03.18

Flashes of Brilliance

As reefs endure another onslaught, scientists are taking a closer look at how corals live and grow—and what may enable them to persist in a changing world.

video | 06.12.18

Lens of Time: Growing Against the Odds

video | 20.12.18

Lens of Time: Growing Against the Odds

Despite myriad threats, some coral reefs are thriving, or rebounding, suggesting it may be far too early to write the obituary for these critical ecosystems.

article | 05.23.18

Picture of Health

article | 29.23.18

Picture of Health

From the beautiful to the bizarre, this photographic showcase of life on Earth shines a light on some of our planet's most amazing species and places.

photo gallery | 05.01.18

The Big Picture 2018

photo gallery | 23.01.18

The Big Picture 2018

Emperor penguins just may be the best huddlers on Earth—and scientists are finally revealing the secrets to their success.

video | 04.24.18

Lens of Time: Huddle Masters

video | 55.24.18

Lens of Time: Huddle Masters

In California’s Mono Lake—whose alkaline waters are deadly to most insects—these diving flies don’t just survive; they thrive.

photo essay | 03.27.18

Scuba Flies

photo essay | 50.27.18

Scuba Flies

The smallest chameleons on Earth perform one of the most explosive movements in the animal kingdom.

video | 01.17.18

Lens of Time: A Record-Breaking Tongue Lashing

video | 45.17.18

Lens of Time: A Record-Breaking Tongue Lashing

A simple lifeform, prevalent in freshwater pools the world over, could reveal the secret to ever-lasting life.

spotlight | 01.09.18

The Pond of Youth

spotlight | 31.09.18

The Pond of Youth

It’s a new year, which means these otherworldly caterpillars will soon be inching their way through forests and brightening backyards across the eastern U.S.

video | 01.02.18

Caterpillar Cameos

video | 17.02.18

Caterpillar Cameos

Something strange is happening off the northern coast of Norway—transforming natural enemies into unlikely partners.

spotlight | 12.19.17

Unexpected Dinner Guests

spotlight | 36.19.17

Unexpected Dinner Guests

Just minutes from a major metropolis, Malaysia’s Penang Hill rainforest boasts some of the richest backyard biodiversity on the planet.

photo gallery | 12.05.17

The Rainforest Next Door

photo gallery | 30.05.17

The Rainforest Next Door

To learn how life on Earth first began—and how it might evolve elsewhere in the Universe—scientists are probing rocks deep beneath the ocean's surface.

immersive | 11.21.17

Life on the Rocks

immersive | 59.21.17

Life on the Rocks

Under cover of subtlety and slow-motion, plants not only perceive the organisms around them, in some cases, they also prepare for battle.

video | 11.07.17

Lens of Time: When Plants Fight Back

video | 38.07.17

Lens of Time: When Plants Fight Back

The secret to this squid’s disguise lies in its relationship with a smaller, brighter species.

spotlight | 10.24.17

Hide and Glow Seek

spotlight | 12.24.17

Hide and Glow Seek

These social birds defy the two-parent family structure, proving that cooperation can make evolutionary sense.

video | 10.10.17

The Anomalies: The Acorn Woodpecker

video | 41.10.17

The Anomalies: The Acorn Woodpecker

Normally invisible to humans, fluorescent light shows like the one this fireworm puts on are helping medical researchers fight disease.

spotlight | 10.10.17

Fire on the Reef

spotlight | 40.10.17

Fire on the Reef

On a quest to find a missing primate, a team of scientists discovers that sometimes maps tell only the smallest part of the story.

article | 09.06.17

In Search of the Lost

article | 54.06.17

In Search of the Lost

Shimmering schools of fish have dazzled scientists for centuries with their synchronized maneuvers. Now, high-speed video is revealing how they do it.

video | 08.08.17

Lens of Time: Secrets of Schooling

video | 42.08.17

Lens of Time: Secrets of Schooling

A mysterious worm lizard squirms its way out of the Baja sand and straight into our hearts.

video | 07.26.17

Bipes Aren’t Coming for You

video | 32.26.17

Bipes Aren’t Coming for You

This rufous-eyed brook frog has a sparkle in its eye, thanks to a third eyelid strewn with flecks of gold.

spotlight | 07.18.17

Golden Eye

spotlight | 58.18.17

Golden Eye

A common frog species takes an unusual approach to winter—one that would kill most other vertebrates.

video | 06.27.17

Invisible Nature: Return of the Wood Frog

video | 50.27.17

Invisible Nature: Return of the Wood Frog

A showcase of amazing creatures and gorgeous environments—some threatened, some thriving—from around the globe

photo gallery | 06.20.17

The Big Picture

photo gallery | 16.20.17

The Big Picture

When El Niño hits the Galápagos Islands, marine iguanas struggle to find enough food—then they undergo a remarkable transformation.

spotlight | 06.13.17

Survival of the Smallest

spotlight | 12.13.17

Survival of the Smallest

An intrepid photographer climbs high into the rainforest canopy to capture one of the world's most dazzling courtship rituals.

spotlight | 05.09.17

Dawn Display

spotlight | 02.09.17

Dawn Display

Off the coast of South Australia, an unremarkable setting conceals one of the ocean’s most spectacular events—a mating spree for the world’s largest cuttlefish.

photo essay | 05.02.17

Inconspicuous Battleground

photo essay | 03.02.17

Inconspicuous Battleground

A fateful crossing of the Congo River by ancestral apes led to the rise of the modern bonobo.

spotlight | 04.25.17

The Great Divide

spotlight | 15.25.17

The Great Divide

Coastal dunes set the stage for a surprisingly valuable partnership between a fungus and a tree.

video | 04.04.17

Invisible Nature: Star of the Dunes

video | 56.04.17

Invisible Nature: Star of the Dunes

Nature’s arsenal contains thousands of venomous creatures and a diverse array of armaments that are as brilliant, varied, and surprising as the creatures that wield them.

photo essay | 03.21.17

Venomous Weaponry

photo essay | 10.21.17

Venomous Weaponry

The Amazon rainforest faces myriad threats. But this iconic ecosystem—one of Earth’s most important natural resources—may be more resilient than scientists ever expected.

immersive | 02.28.17

The Lungs of the Planet

immersive | 11.28.17

The Lungs of the Planet

A tropical rainforest’s ability to take a deep breath depends in large part on a somewhat surprising factor—the age of its leaves.

infographic | 02.28.17

From Leaf to Landscape

infographic | 09.28.17

From Leaf to Landscape

Armed with a suite of high-tech tools, scientists are measuring the flow of gases into and out of the Amazon rainforest.

video | 02.28.17

Catching the Rainforest's Breath

video | 08.28.17

Catching the Rainforest's Breath

Instead of hiding in the dark, the Hawaiian bobtail squid cruises through moonlit waters—and hides its own shadow.

video | 02.21.17

Invisible Nature: The Glowing Squid

video | 01.21.17

Invisible Nature: The Glowing Squid

Scientists open a window—literally—into a process that normally remains hidden deep inside a butterfly’s chrysalis.

video | 02.15.17

Lens of Time: Building a Butterfly Wing

video | 01.15.17

Lens of Time: Building a Butterfly Wing

His finches may be more famous, but this small fox also helped Darwin develop his revolutionary theory of evolution.

spotlight | 02.07.17

Darwin's Fox

spotlight | 29.07.17

Darwin's Fox

In spotted hyena society, it's not the strength of the bite, but a strong network of allies that matters most.

spotlight | 01.31.17

Savanna Socialites

spotlight | 00.31.17

Savanna Socialites

An endangered fish makes a comeback in the Grand Canyon’s depths—but will the razorback sucker stick around?

article | 01.03.17

In Search of Suckers

article | 30.03.17

In Search of Suckers

An apparent inconsistency leads scientists to a new discovery about the role the environment plays in animal communication.

video | 01.03.17

The Anomalies: The Dewlap

video | 29.03.17

The Anomalies: The Dewlap

Physics and biology meet to create one of the world's strangest weapons: the slime cannon.

video | 12.13.16

Lens of Time: Velvet Worms—Secret of the Slime

video | 51.13.16

Lens of Time: Velvet Worms—Secret of the Slime

Wintertime in a remote Montana forest heralds the arrival of mating season for the flying squirrel—and one of nature's most spectacular air shows.

photo essay | 12.13.16

Moonlight Gliders

photo essay | 50.13.16

Moonlight Gliders

What we don't know may be just as important to setting effective conservation priorities as what we've already discovered.

opinion | 11.29.16

The Species We Have Yet to Meet

opinion | 03.29.16

The Species We Have Yet to Meet

Armed with the latest technology, scientists are beginning to unlock the secrets of one of nature’s most acrobatic flyers.

video | 10.18.16

Lens of Time: How Hummingbirds Hover

video | 02.18.16

Lens of Time: How Hummingbirds Hover

As they follow—and mentally map—flowering agaves from Arizona to Mexico, lesser long-nosed bats pollinate the plants that bring the world tequila.

spotlight | 09.27.16

Agave Whisperers

spotlight | 11.27.16

Agave Whisperers

For this marsupial mole, surfacing to snack on a centipede is a rare respite from tunneling through the dark, sandy underground.

spotlight | 09.20.16

Digging Down Under

spotlight | 33.20.16

Digging Down Under

For these jumping spiders, stayin' alive requires all the right dance moves—and the perfect soundtrack, too.

video | 09.13.16

Lens of Time: Spider Seduction

video | 15.13.16

Lens of Time: Spider Seduction

Solving an entomological mystery in the Canadian Rockies

article | 09.06.16

Bugs on Ice

article | 27.06.16

Bugs on Ice

We see so many troubling stories about the environment that the good news often comes as a surprise. But there’s more to be hopeful about than many people realize.

opinion | 08.30.16

No Lost Cause

opinion | 27.30.16

No Lost Cause

Perched atop the elegant back of a Spanish dancer nudibranch, this tiny shrimp enjoys one of the safest seats in the sea.

spotlight | 08.30.16

The Emperor's Throne

spotlight | 26.30.16

The Emperor's Throne

In one of the world’s harshest environments, and pressured by human encroachment, blending in is the snow leopard’s best option.

spotlight | 08.23.16

Hiding in Plain Sight

spotlight | 14.23.16

Hiding in Plain Sight

A mysterious disease afflicting California sea lions is helping scientists understand the causes of cancer in all animals—including humans.

article | 08.23.16

Cancer at Sea

article | 14.23.16

Cancer at Sea

Hundreds of thousands of bats emerge from a hole in the ground, and scientists with high-speed video cameras are there to make sense of the overwhelming spectacle.

video | 08.02.16

Lens of Time: Bat Ballet

video | 15.02.16

Lens of Time: Bat Ballet

A new and deadly fungus could wreak havoc on America’s salamanders if—or when—it arrives on U.S. shores.

article | 07.26.16

The Devourer

article | 34.26.16

The Devourer

Scientists are looking skyward to explore one of biology’s last frontiers, and discovering a rich diversity of microbial life high above our heads.

video | 07.05.16

Invisible Nature: Life in the Clouds

video | 41.05.16

Invisible Nature: Life in the Clouds

While shedding velvet is a common annual occurrence among bull moose, photographers aren't often on hand to document the graphic details.

spotlight | 06.28.16

Red Velvet

spotlight | 10.28.16

Red Velvet

Corals occupy their own time dimension, but if given enough time, they reveal a surprising array of behaviors that give them an edge deep below the ocean's surface.

video | 06.28.16

Lens of Time: Corals in Motion

video | 10.28.16

Lens of Time: Corals in Motion

What these single-celled, gelatinous blobs lack in brain power, they make up for with surprisingly complex decision-making.

video | 06.07.16

Lens of Time: Slime Lapse

video | 30.07.16

Lens of Time: Slime Lapse

Hiding in plain sight and deceptively still, treehoppers have evolved an ingenious way to communicate—and they're making a racket.

video | 05.31.16

Invisible Nature: Code of the Treehopper

video | 59.31.16

Invisible Nature: Code of the Treehopper

A rash of unusual seal deaths perplexes scientists along the North Atlantic, and challenges our desire to find tidy explanations in nature.

article | 05.24.16

Mystery of the Corkscrew Seals

article | 45.24.16

Mystery of the Corkscrew Seals

Enter the world of the lobster and witness the invisible signals that guide these creatures through life on the ocean floor.

video | 05.03.16

The Lobster and its Amazing Noses

video | 31.03.16

The Lobster and its Amazing Noses

A team of deep-reef explorers attempts to surface the unknown biodiversity of Vanuatu’s twilight zone.

immersive | 04.26.16

An Audacious Plan in the Twilight

immersive | 49.26.16

An Audacious Plan in the Twilight

See how scientists use high-speed videography to investigate—and learn from—the clumsy flight of the bumblebee.

video | 04.26.16

Lens of Time: Bumper Bees

video | 40.26.16

Lens of Time: Bumper Bees

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