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National Museum of Natural History Species of the Day Collection

Last updated over 1 year 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.

  • 85840_88_88


    These tiny organisms of uncertain affinity are often overlooked but may be very abundant and diverse in the deep sea.

    Sort value: 999

  • 16567_88_88

    Kobus leche


    Red Lechwes inhabit seasonal floodplains and shallow swamps adjacent to open water in southern Africa, moving efficiently through flooded terrain using a bounding gait in which all four feet touch the ground and leave the ground together; on hard ground, they are slow and clumsy.

    Sort value: 12.19

  • 51544_88_88

    Kiwa hirsuta

    Yeti Crab

    This recently discovered crab, from a deep sea hydrothermal vent site, is so unusual it has been placed in its own family, the Kiwaidae.

    Sort value: 999

  • 91201_88_88

    Jalmenus evagoras

    Pale Imperial Blue

    Imperial Blue Butterfly caterpillars produce sweet secretions that attract ants which then protect them from a variety of predators.

    Sort value: 999

  • 41584_88_88



    Sailfishes are among the fastest fish in the world.

    Sort value: 06.03

  • 63231_88_88

    Ipomoea batatas

    Sweet Potato

    The large, starchy, sweet-tasting, tuberous roots of the Sweet Potato are particularly important as a food crop in Southeast Asia, Oceania, and Latin America.

    Sort value: 999

  • 01380_88_88

    Impatiens pallida

    Pale Snapweed

    There are two species of jewelweed in eastern North America. Impatiens pallida is usually found in shadier sites than the more common I. capensis.

    Sort value: 999

  • 83363_88_88

    Ilex aquifolium

    Common Holly

    Boughs of holly have been traditional Christmas decorations for centuries.

    Sort value: 999

  • 33898_88_88

    Icteria virens

    Yellow-breasted Chat

    Although the Yellow-breasted Chat was long considered a super-sized and otherwise atypical member of the wood-warbler family (Parulidae), molecular genetic studies have indicated that this species does not actually fall within the core wood-warbler group.

    Sort value: 01.21

  • 57045_88_88

    Ictalurus punctatus

    Channel Catfish

    The Channel Catfish is native to eastern North America, but it has been widely introduced across North America and in numerous other countries around the world.

    Sort value: 999

  • 61018_88_88

    Hypsibius dujardini

    This tardigrade, or “water bear”, is being focused on by some researchers as a model for studying the evolution of developmental mechanisms.

    Sort value: 999

  • 59750_88_88

    Hyperolius sankuruensis

    Omaniundu Reed Frog

    This frog was found in 2010 for the first time since it was discovered in 1979.

    Sort value: 999

  • 32851_88_88

    Hymenaster pellucidus

    Hymenaster pellucidus is a deep-sea sea star typically found in the Northwest Atlantic and Arctic Oceans.

    Sort value: 999

  • 45028_88_88


    Tree Frog

    The treefrog genus Hyla includes around three dozen species, with representatives found from Canada to South America, as well as in Europe, Asia, and North Africa.

    Sort value: 02.14

  • 90049_88_88


    Water Mites

    The water mites include thousands of species of aquatic mites, often brightly colored, that typically feed on the haemolymph (“blood”) of insects with aquatic life stages; these mites may disperse great distances attached to winged adult insect hosts.

    Sort value: 999

  • 53575_88_88

    Histioteuthis bonnellii

    Jewel Squid

    As in other members of its family (Histioteuthidae), the left eye of this squid is much larger than the right eye and is semitubular rather than hemispherical.

    Sort value: 999

  • 27601_88_88

    Histiophryne psychedelica

    Psychedelic Frogfish

    The Psychedelic Frog Fish was deemed the “World's Weirdest Fish” by Time Magazine.

    Sort value: 999

  • 54763_88_88

    Herpetotheres cachinnans

    Laughing Falcon

    The Laughing Falcon is a raptor of the New World tropics that feeds mainly on snakes and lizards.

    Sort value: 04.06

  • 45366_88_88

    Helleborus foetidus

    Stinking Hellebore

    Bearsfoot (or Stinking Hellebore) is sometimes grown in gardens for its evergreen foliage and large numbers of green bell-shaped flowers in winter.

    Sort value: 999

  • 82130_88_88

    Hathrometra prolixa

    This Arctic relative of sea stars and sea urchins typically lives on soft mud or clay sea bottoms.

    Sort value: 999

  • 32410_88_88

    Haminoea japonica

    Japanese Bubble Snail

    Haminoea japonica are unusual in that they produce some offspring that are swimming, non-feeding veliger larvae and others that metamorphose into crawling juveniles prior to hatching.

    Sort value: 999

  • 48503_88_88

    Halyomorpha halys

    Stink Bug

    The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug is native to South Korea, Japan, and eastern China, but was collected in Pennsylvania (U.S.A.) in 1996 and has since spread rapidly and become extremely abundant throughout the mid-Atlantic states, with additional isolated populations reported from Mississippi, Ohio, Oregon, and California.

    Sort value: 999

  • 23656_88_88

    Haliotis sorenseni

    White Abalone

    In 2001, this species became the first marine invertebrate in United States waters to receive federal protection as an endangered species.

    Sort value: 999

  • 94486_88_88

    Halieutichthys aculeatus

    Pancake Batfish

    Research published in 2010 revealed that what had previously been treated as a single species, the Pancake Batfish, is actually a complex of several similar species.

    Sort value: 999

  • 25017_88_88



    The genus Gossypium includes includes species that originated in both the Old World and New World tropical and warm-temperate regions. This is a textile crop of ancient origin, which was domesticated independently in separate parts of the world.

    Sort value: 10.18

  • 33281_88_88


    True Gobies

    The Gobiidae is among the most species-rich fish families.

    Sort value: 06.20

  • 41160_88_88


    Jaw Worms

    Gnathostomulids are translucent microscopic, interstitial (i.e., living between sediment particles) marine worms, with a muscular pharynx armed with distinctive forceps-like jaws in nearly all species.

    Sort value: 08.27

  • 91896_88_88

    Glycyrrhiza glabra

    Common Liquorice

    Licorice is a legume native to southwestern Asia and the Mediterranean region and has been cultivated in Europe since at least the 16th century; Spain and Italy have long been major producers of Licorice.

    Sort value: 08.23

  • 86476_88_88

    Glycine max


    This legume was domesticated more than 3,000 years ago for its edible seeds and young pods and is now the world's most important legume crop, ranks sixth among all cultivated crops in terms of total harvest, and is the most widely produced oilseed.

    Sort value: 10.29

  • 11774_88_88

    Glaucomys volans

    Southern Flying Squirrel

    These largely nocturnal squirrels can leap off a tree and glide 50 meters to another tree at a rate of nearly two meters per second, scurrying to the other side of the trunk immediately upon landing.

    Sort value: 999

  • 43249_88_88

    Geothlypis trichas

    Common Yellowthroat

    The Common Yellowthroat is a common breeding bird across most of North America, from Canada south through Mexico, with a winter range extending from the southern United States to northern South America.

    Sort value: 01.22

  • 69131_88_88

    Oporornis formosus (A. Wilson, 1811)

    Kentucky Warbler

    The Kentucky Warbler is a common breeder in rich, moist woodlands across much of the eastern United States, where it spend much of its time in thickets foraging in the leaf litter; it winters from central Mexico south to northern South America.

    Sort value: 01.23

  • 97290_88_88


    Torrent Loaches

    Torrent Loaches are found exclusively on the island of Borneo; they are obligate bottom-dwellers and exhibit extreme morphological adaptations for life in torrential waters.

    Sort value: 999

  • 01777_88_88


    Laughing Thrushes

    The Laughing Thrushes, a diverse group of tropical Asian birds in the "Old World babblers" family, are now believed to include a range of species that are not actually closely related to one another, so further research is likely to result in the movement of many Garrulax species into other genera.

    Sort value: 04.07

  • 52112_88_88

    Garcinia mangostana


    The Mangosteen fruit has been described as the "prince of fruits", the most delicious of all tropical fruits.

    Sort value: 11.15

  • 98819_88_88

    Galeopterus variegatus


    Flying lemurs have the most extensive gliding membrane of any mammal, allowing them to glide over 100 meters with relatively little loss in elevation.

    Sort value: 999

  • 06479_88_88



    Many snowdrops flower in late winter or early spring and are celebrated as a sign of the arrival (or imminent arrival) of spring.

    Sort value: 04.20

  • 42876_88_88

    Funiculina quadrangularis

    Tall Sea Pen

    The Tall Seapen is found in often dense colonies on muddy sea bottoms.

    Sort value: 999

  • 06212_88_88


    Frankia bacteria fix nitrogen from the air, living in root nodules of hosts (from a range of plant families) with which they have evolved symbiotic relationships; they have not been studied as extensively as the nitrogen-fixing bacteria associated with many plants in the family Fabaceae (legumes).

    Sort value: 10.30

  • 53560_88_88



    The flying fishes are a family of around 5 dozen species that are widespread and abundant in the tropical and subtropical Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian oceans; they are well known for their enlarged pectoral fins ("wings") that allow them to make extraordinary gliding leaps out of the water.

    Sort value: 12.10

  • 69202_88_88

    Eurypharynx pelecanoides

    Umbrellamouth Gulper

    This is a species of deep-sea marine eel with an extraordinarily large expanding mouth, extremely long jaws containing numerous small teeth, a large distensible abdomen, and a long, tapering compressed tail.

    Sort value: 06.28

  • 66139_88_88

    Eurypegasus draconis

    Short Dragonfish

    A curious behavior seen in the Short Dragonfish or Common Seamouth is shedding its skin in one piece, probably every one to five days.

    Sort value: 999

  • 45735_88_88

    Eumecichthys fiski

    Unicorn Crestfish

    The common name of this rare but widespread deep-sea fish, Unicorn Crestfish, comes from the distinctive projecting supraoccipital, a bone on the dorsal (upper) side of the skull.

    Sort value: 07.22

  • 06638_88_88

    Eugerres plumieri

    Striped Mojarra

    Striped Mojarras are found from South Carolina (U.S.A.) and the entire Gulf of Mexico to Brazil, but are apparently absent from the Bahamas and some of the smaller islands of the West Indies; in many areas, the Striped Mojarra is of significant commercial and recreational value, although some populations have been declining due to overfishing.

    Sort value: 08.03

  • 98690_88_88

    Erigenia bulbosa

    Harbinger of Spring

    Harbinger-of-spring, a member of the carrot family, is among the first flowers to appear in spring in the mid-latitude United States.

    Sort value: 04.09

  • 00356_88_88

    Eragrostis tef


    The grain from this grass, a small-seeded millet, is used to make a variety of food products, including injera, the spongy fermented flatbread that serves as the staple food for most Ethiopians.

    Sort value: 12.17

  • 26650_88_88

    Epalzeorhynchos bicolor

    Red Tailed Shark

    The Redtail Sharkminnow is common in the aquarium trade, but critically endangered in the wild.

    Sort value: 07.14

  • 45240_88_88


    This deep-sea sea cucumber feeds on bottom sediment, but is able to swim up into the water column, hundreds of meters above the bottom, by undulating the cape-like fringe around the rear of the body.

    Sort value: 999

  • 92119_88_88

    Enchelynassa canina

    Viper Moray

    Moray eels are "sit-and-wait” predators and are often seen with just their head sticking out of a rock crevice, waiting for a fish to swim by; when the prey is close enough, the eel quickly attacks it, then retreats back into the rock or coral.

    Sort value: 999

  • 76112_88_88

    Elettaria cardamomum


    The cultivation of True (or Small) Cardamom as an understory crop using current growing practices radically changes the forest ecosystem in ways that persist for many years even after Cardamom cultivation is abandoned.

    Sort value: 08.31