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Pteropod

Tiny, Delicate, Vulnerable

Drifting with currents, tiny swimming marine snails called pteropods ("wing-foot") are an important source of food for fish, whales, and other marine animals. Also called "sea butterflies," pteropods have shells of calcium carbonate, similar to those of garden snails, but thinner and more delicate. WHOI biologists Gareth Lawson and Amy Maas study these beautiful and important creatures to learn how vulnerable they are to ocean acidification. (Photo by Nancy Copley, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

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