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National Museum of Natural History Species of the Day Collection

Last updated over 3 years ago

This Collection contains a complete archive of all creatures featured on the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History's "Species of the Day" feature on its home page ( since 20 April 2010. The sort field contains the month and day of the last time a creature was shown. Those shown more than a year ago have '999' in the sort field.

To nominate a species, please leave us a comment in the Newsfeed with your suggestion, including why you think it would make a great Species of the Day! If you can paste a link to the species you are interested in, that would also be helpful.

  • 42465_88_88

    Eunice aphroditois

    Bobbit Worm

    Eunice aphroditois (colloquially known as the Bobbit worm), is an aquatic predatory polychaete worm dwelling at the ocean floor. This organism buries its long body into an ocean bed composed of gravel, mud, or corals, where it waits patiently for a stimulus to one of its five antennae, attacking when it senses prey.

    Sort value: 07.01

  • 89239_88_88

    Nepenthes attenboroughii A.S.Rob., S.McPherson & V.B.Heinrich

    Giant Pitcher Plant

    The Giant Pitcher Plant is one of the largest carnivorous plants in the world.

    Sort value: 04.17

  • 90312_88_88 Eucarya Woese et al. 1990 > Tyrannosauridae Osborn 1906

    Tyrannosaurus rex

    Tyrant Lizard King

    We are celebrating the arrival this week of one of the most complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeletons ever recovered, which will be exhibited in the new NMNH dinosaur hall scheduled to open in 2019.

    Sort value: 999

  • 12510_88_88

    Leptinotarsa decemlineata

    Colorado Potato Beetle

    The Colorado Potato Beetle is an important pest of potatoes.

    Sort value: 05.27

  • 66783_88_88

    Serilophus lunatus

    Silver-breasted Broadbill

    The Silver-breasted Broadbill was formerly very common over most of its range in Southeast Asia, but is now only locally common.

    Sort value: 05.25

  • 76394_88_88

    Anisakis simplex

    Herring Worm

    Adult stages of the nematode roundworm known as the Herring Worm reside in the stomachs of marine mammals, with different larval stages occurring in crutsaceans and in fishes or cephalopods; infection with this nematode is the most common helminth ("worm") infection in humans resulting from the consumption of raw or undercooked fish.

    Sort value: 999

  • 76591_88_88

    Toxocara canis

    Dog Roundworm

    Infection with larvae of the nematode (roundworm) Toxocara canis, which occurs worldwide, is the most common cause of toxocariasis in humans.

    Sort value: 999

  • 86293_88_88

    Trypanosoma cruzi

    This protozoan parasite, which is transmitted to humans by blood-sucking triatomine assassin bugs (Reduviidae: Triatominae), causes Chagas disease in humans.

    Sort value: 999

  • 38199_88_88

    Necator americanus

    This is one of the two main hookworms parasitizing humans.

    Sort value: 999

  • 41205_88_88

    Lophelia pertusa

    North Atlantic Cold-water Coral

    This coral, which lacks the photosynthetic algae associated with most familiar corals, lives in deep, cold waters throughout most of the world's oceans.

    Sort value: 05.23

  • 13953_88_88


    Periodical Cicadas

    17 year cicadas are due to make an appearance in parts of the eastern United States this year. Periodical cicadas live only in eastern North America. Of the seven species, three of them have a life cycle of 17 years, the other four have 13 year life cycles. They spend most of this cycle living as nymphs (larvae) underground, where they feed on juices from plant roots. In the spring of their final year, they tunnel to the surface and emerge synchronously and molt into their adult form, mate (which involves loud, species-specific choruses by the males to attract females), and lay eggs. Their emergence is thought to be triggered by soil temperature.

    Sort value: 999

  • 96329_88_88

    Taenia solium

    Pork Tapeworm

    Humans become infected with Pork Tapeworms and develop intestinal taeniasis by ingesting raw or undercooked infected pork.

    Sort value: 999

  • 74955_88_88

    Diphyllobothrium latum

    Fish Tapeworm

    The Broad Fish Tapeworm is the largest human tapeworm, sometimes exceeding 10 m in length; in the human intestine, it may live for over two decades.

    Sort value: 999

  • 74804_88_88



    Thelazia is a genus of parasitic nematodes known as "eyeworms", a reference to their primary habitat in their definitive host (i.e., the host in which they reproduce): the host's orbital (eye) cavities and associated tissues.

    Sort value: 999

  • 52812_88_88 Biota > Ascaridinae (Baird, 1853)

    Ascaris lumbricoides

    Giant Roundworm

    This is the largest nematode (roundworm) parasitizing the human intestine (adult females are 20 to 35 cm and adult males 15 to 30 cm in length).

    Sort value: 999

  • 90665_88_88

    Plasmodium falciparum

    Falciparum Malaria Parasite

    This organism is one of the two protozoan parasites responsible for most of the world's cases of human malaria.

    Sort value: 999

  • 10253_88_88

    Pediculus humanus

    Human Body Louse

    Human Head Lice (Pediculus humanus capitus) and Human Body Lice (Pediculus humanus corporis) are relatively recently diverged varieties of what is generally treated as a single species (the Pubic Louse is a distinct species).

    Sort value: 999

  • 36269_88_88

    Naegleria fowleri

    Brain-eating Amoeba

    This amoeba lives in warm freshwater habitats, such as hot springs, and can infect humans by entering through the nose; human infections are not very common, but they are typically fatal.

    Sort value: 999

  • 14386_88_88

    Loa loa

    Eye Worm

    Loa loa, one of the eight parasitic nematode (roundworm) species that account for most cases of filariasis in humans, afflicts around 20 million people in several countries in Central and West Africa; it is often known as the African Eye Worm because the adult worm can sometimes be seen moving through the sclera (white portion) of the eye, causing severe eye pain, inflammation, and sometimes blindness.

    Sort value: 999

  • 37496_88_88

    Enterobius vermicularis

    Human Pinworm

    The parasitic nematode worms known as human pinworms (Enterobius vermicularis, formerly known as Oxyuris vermicularis) infect humans worldwide, although pinworm infection (enterobiasis) seems to be more common in temperate than in tropical countries.

    Sort value: 999

  • 10453_88_88

    Cimex lectularius


    The male bedbug inseminates his mate by puncturing her body wall and injecting sperm into her abdomen, a phenomenon appropriately termed “traumatic insemination”.

    Sort value: 999

  • 90641_88_88

    Rhipicephalus sanguineus

    Brown Dog Tick

    This small, elongated, red-brown tick is unusual in that it can complete its entire life cycle indoors, facilitating its spread around the world.

    Sort value: 999

  • 85541_88_88


    Soft Ticks

    Unlike the ixodid (hard) ticks (Family Ixodidae), which stay attached to their hosts for up to several days while feeding, most argasid ticks (Family Argasidae) are adapted to feeding rapidly (for about an hour), then dropping off the host.

    Sort value: 999

  • 52664_88_88

    Ixodes scapularis

    Black-legged Tick

    The Black-legged Tick (often known as the "Deer Tick"), is best known as an important vector in the eastern United States of Lyme borreliosis (Lyme Disease), the most prevalent tick-transmitted infection not only in this region but, more generally, in temperate areas of Europe, North America, and Asia.

    Sort value: 999

  • 33274_88_88

    Ixodes ricinus

    Sheep Tick

    This Eurasian tick transmits numerous diseases to both humans and domestic animals; it is an important vector of human Lyme disease in Europe.

    Sort value: 999

  • 67334_88_88


    Unlike most other ixodid ticks, which wait on vegetation for a host to pass, adult Hyalomma actively run out from their resting sites when a host approaches.

    Sort value: 999

  • 15593_88_88

    Amblyomma maculatum

    Gulf Coast Tick

    Larvae and nymphs of the Gulf Coast Tick feed on small rodents and ground-dwelling birds; adults feed mainly on the ears of large mammals and are considered an economic pest of cattle.

    Sort value: 999

  • 30015_88_88

    Lobesia botrana

    European Vine Moth

    This widely introduced vineyard pest, which was first reported from Chile in 2008 and from the U.S. (Napa Valley, California) in 2009, is currently a source of great concern for the wine industry.

    Sort value: 05.22

  • 34635_88_88

    Coelopleurus exquisitus

    Exquisite Urchin

    eBay played an important role in the recent discovery of this beautiful sea urchin.

    Sort value: 05.21

  • 93626_88_88

    Riftia pachyptila

    Hydrothermal Vent Worm

    Riftia pachyptila is a large tube worm that lives on the ocean floor near hydrothermal vents on the East Pacific Rise, more than a mile under the sea.

    Sort value: 05.20

  • 82539_88_88

    Elysia chlorotica

    Eastern Emerald Elysia

    This sea slug eats algae and retains functional chloroplasts in tissue for days to months.

    Sort value: 05.17

  • 21640_88_88


    Sea Slugs

    Nudibranchs are mostly colorful, and the color denotes danger or crypsis. Although they evolved from shelled ancestors, they have completely lost all vestiges of a shell.

    Sort value: 05.13

  • 28494_88_88

    Thalassia testudinum Banks & Sol. ex K.D. Koenig

    Turtle Grass

    Turtle Grass can form very extensive beds in protected shallow waters that serve as both habitat and a food source for a tremendous diversity of organisms.

    Sort value: 05.10

  • 45995_88_88

    Lepomis gibbosus


    Ubiquitous throughout North America and beyond (native and widely introduced).

    Sort value: 05.08

  • 80977_88_88

    Oreaster reticulatus

    Red Cushion Sea Star

    The large Cushion Sea Star is widely distributed on both sides of the Atlantic, from North Carolina (USA) to as far south as Brazil and the Cape Verde Islands in West Africa.

    Sort value: 05.07

  • 93639_88_88


    Bee Orchids

    Members of this mainly European genus are referred to as the "Bee orchids" due to the flowers of some species resemblance to the furry bodies of bees and other insects. These plants are remarkable in that they successfully reproduce through pseudocopulation, that is, their flowers mimic female insects to such a degree that amorous males are fooled into mating with the flowers, thereby pollinating them.

    Sort value: 05.05

  • 07320_88_88

    Phidippus regius Koch C.L., 1846

    Regal Jumping Spider

    This is the largest jumping spider in eastern North America. The Regal jumping spider is most commonly found in relatively open areas, such as fields and light woodland, with adults usually preferring trees or the walls of buildings as hunting grounds.

    Sort value: 05.04

  • 79055_88_88


    Snow Scorpionflies

    Boreids, the various species of which are found at relatively high elevations or latitudes, are among the small proportion of insects that may be encountered in the snow.

    Sort value: 999

  • 98892_88_88

    Bassaricyon neblina


    The Olinguito, which was recognized as a new species by NMNH mammalogist Kristofer Helgen and colleagues and was formally described in August of 2013, is the first species of New World carnivore to be described in 35 years; it lives, together with many other distinctive and little known species, in the threatened humid cloud forests of the northern Andes.

    Sort value: 08.16

  • 98592_88_88


    Sharksuckers Or Remoras

    Remoras lack a swim bladder and do not swim on their own for long distances, instead using a dorsal fin that is modified into a flat sucking disk to attach themselves to larger fish and other marine animals.

    Sort value: 08.12

  • 09973_88_88

    Squalus acanthias

    Spiny Dogfish

    Although the Spiny Dogfish was historically very abundant across a very broad geographic range, many populations have declined precipitously, mainly due to overexploitation by fisheries, both those that target this species and those that take large numbers as bycatch.

    Sort value: 08.13

  • 40276_88_88


    Sharks, Skates and Rays

    The elasmobranchs are a diverse group of fishes that includes the sharks, skates, and rays (the elasmobranchs and a group of fishes known as chimaeras together comprise the "cartilaginous fishes"; a far greater number of species are in the group known as the "bony fishes").

    Sort value: 08.04

  • 79737_88_88

    Eusphyra blochii

    Winghead Shark

    This species is one of eight or nine species of hammerhead sharks (family Sphyrnidae); the hammerheads, which are easily recognized as a group by the mallet-shaped lateral expansions of the head, are closely related to the requiem sharks (family Carcharhinidae).

    Sort value: 08.14

  • 95420_88_88

    Carcharhinus longimanus

    Oceanic Whitetip Shark

    Although these sharks are very dangerous for humans, encounters with humans are rare since Oceanic White-tips normally remain far offshore.

    Sort value: 08.10

  • 18616_88_88

    Carcharhinus leucas

    Bull Shark

    Bull Sharks are among the most dangerous sharks (from a human perspective) and are well known for their ability to tolerate freshwater, allowing them to enter river systems and even lakes with connections to the sea.

    Sort value: 08.09

  • 52909_88_88

    Etmopterus perryi

    Dwarf Lantern Shark

    Dwarf Lantern Sharks may be the smallest sharks, with the largest known individual barely exceeding 20 cm (around eight inches) in length.

    Sort value: 08.08

  • 99111_88_88

    Megachasma pelagios

    Megamouth Shark

    One of just a handful of sharks that commonly exceed four meters in length (individuals of most shark species are less than 2 meters at maturity), the Megamouth Shark was not discovered until 1976 and remains very poorly known.

    Sort value: 08.07

  • 73937_88_88

    Cyttopsis rosea

    Rosy Dory

    This small (to 15 cm) marine fish is found in the western Atlantic (from the southeastern United States and northern Gulf of Mexico to the western Caribbean), eastern Atlantic (from northwestern Spain to Morocco and south to southern Africa), and Indo-west Pacific (from India to Japan); they are abundant between 330 and 690 m depth.

    Sort value: 999

  • 37717_88_88


    Gastric-brooding Frogs

    The two remarkable species of frogs in the genus Rheobatrachus, which incubated early offspring stages in the mother's stomach, sadly disappeared not many years after they were discovered.

    Sort value: 999

  • 94998_88_88

    Hirudo medicinalis

    Medicinal Leech

    Medicinal leeches, long associated with quackery, have found a place in modern medicine in recent years.

    Sort value: 999