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Dead men's fingers, Kattegat Denmark. © OCEANA / Carlos Minguell

If you still dont know how to dress up for this weekend's Halloween-party, how about this soft coral. Dead men’s fingers  (Alcyonium digitaturn) may have scared at least a diver or two. The conspicuous name reveals that the animal looks a bit like the swollen hand of a dead person. Dead men’s fingers is a soft coral  found in  coastal areas in the northern Atlantic, and  is common in most areas of the Baltic Sea.  The picture is from Kattegat, and was taken during Oceana’s expedition in the Baltic Sea in the spring 2011.

Red coral (Corallium rubrum). Medas Islands, Gerona, Spain. Catamaran Oceana Ranger Mediterranean Expedition. July 2006. © OCEANA / Juan Cuetos

Red coral (sometimes called precious coral) is widely used throughout the world for jewelry, and in beauty products.  The human “appetite” for this stunning coral, which dates as far back as ancient Greece and Egypt, when red coral was considered to have sacred properties, has unfortunately led to the destruction of many red coral colonies, and there are concerns about the sustainability of coral harvesting.

Eelpout (Zoarces Viviparus) is one of the most common species in the Baltic Sea. It is also found in the coastal areas of North East Atlantic. Not much of looker, few people are aware how interesting a fish the eelpout actually is. Danish research has brought forward the extraordinary fact, that the eelpout suckle its offspring just like mammals. The eelpout belong to those around 750 fish species that give birth instead of laying eggs.