Scientists Share Terrifying Pictures Of 16,000 ft Deep Sea Creatures. We Wish They Hadn’t
There are places on the moon that we’ve explored more than we have our own planet. These places are mostly in the deepest and darkest parts of our ocean. Well recently, an international team of scientists went on the world’s first survey to explore marine biodiversity off the coast of Australia.
They explored the ‘abyssal’ zone, which sounds very much like abysmal…and some of the things they found there truly are. This zone, at depths of between 13,000 to 20,000 ft is in perpetual darkness. The temperature is only about 2-3 degrees and food is very limited.
“The abyss is the largest and deepest habitat on the planet, covering half the world’s oceans and one-third of Australia’s territory, but it remains the most unexplored environment on Earth,” said Museums Victoria senior curator Tim O’Hara on the voyage’s departure.
Some of the creatures they found there are truly terrifying! Take a look at some of them…
You’ll be thankful of being safe on dry land.
1. Red Spiny Crab
This cute little thing sports a lovely armour of spikes that protect it from the dangers of the deep.
These aren’t actually true crabs, whatever a ‘true’ crab is…it is related more to the hermit crab.
They look like the crab equivalent of a conker in its shell.[adunit mobile=”RTK_dVa8″]
2. Peanut Worm
Can you guess why this little fella is called the peanut worm? It’s because it tastes like a peanut.
Not really…it’s because they can contract their long head into its body and look like a peanut.
They can reproduce both sexually and asexually, which means they don’t need another nut to do so.
3. Glass Sponge
The deep is home to many a strange creature.
Say hello to the Glass Sponge. It has a skeleton made of a lattice of silica filaments, some of which can be up to a metre long.
They feed by sifting bacteria and other single-celled organisms from the water through their delicate glass housing.[adunit mobile=”RTK_dVa8″]
This is a coffinfish.
With blue eyes and red feet, it belongs to the anglerfish group.
This little fella is potentially a new species.
We think he looks kind of cute, despite his morbid name.
5. Cookiecutter Shark
This look absolutely nasty doesn’t it! It’s a bioluminescent shark with neatly arranged, serrated teeth. It inhabits what is called the “twilight zone: in depths of up to 1,000 metres.[adunit mobile=”RTK_dVa8”]
It preys on big fishes, whales, dolphins and the occasional unfortunate swimmer, latching onto them before gouging out cookie-sized chunks of flesh.
Sounds lovely.[adunit mobile=”RTK_wCZW”]
6. Lizard Fish
You’ll be thankful to know that this creature is few and far between to maximise scarce resources.
It is the dominant predator of the depths, living about 1,000 to 2,500 metres underwater.
I never have any plans to go that far under water.
I don’t think I’m in any hurry to do so.[adunit mobile=”RTK_dVa8″]
7. Blob Fish
This blob fish was collected from a depth of 2.5 kilometres off New South Wales! That’s incredibly deep!
It has soft and water flesh and is an ambush predator that lies very still on the bottom, waiting for prey to pass by.
8. The ‘Faceless’ Fish
The fish has no eyes.
It was found four kilometres below the surface and was first collected in the northern Coral Sea more than 140 years ago during the voyage of HMS Challenger.
It has been rediscovered in Australia after more than a century. Impressive right?
Is that the Eye of Sauron? It sure looks like it. Well no, this is the coral organism called Corallimorph, which sounds like some sort of Pokemon.
They belong to the same group as anemones, jelly fish, hard corals and other tentacled creatures.
Don’t be expecting to destroy it with a ring though.
10. Brittle Star
The brittle star can be found right across the globe from Siberia in the north to Antarctica in the south, yet we know almost nothing about them.[adunit mobile=”RTK_z9hm”]
They look a little bit of a jazzed up star-fish, with longe arms.
Don’t expect to see one of them washed up on the beach soon though.
I’m sure we’ll know more about them soon enough! We’re not sure that we want to though.
11. Dumbo Octopus
This is a little bit more fun than the other terrifying creatures! This is the Dumbo octopus, and it flaps their ear like fins just like Dumbo and his ears.[adunit mobile=”RTK_dVa8″]
It doesn’t quite look as cute as Dumbo!
12. Zombie Worm
Even the name is terrifying! This is the aptly named ‘Zombie Worm’ (whose actual name is the Osedax.)
They are commonly found in the decaying remains of whales on the ocean floor, burying into their bones to reach the sustenance within (ew ew ew.)
They have no functioning mouth, gut or anus, but they have bacteria that digest the remains for them.
13. Sucking Sea Spiders
These crazy creatures or not actually spiders, but they’re one of the oldest arthropods to grace planet Earth.
They are essentially a tube within a tube.
Many of them have legs that glow in the dark.
14. Herd of Sea Pigs
Sometimes pigs can be cute. These ones…we’re not so sure about! They are found in the Freycinet Marine Reserve off of Tasmania.[adunit mobile=”RTK_dVa8″]
They are essentially the ocean’s vacuum cleaners, using their tube feet to move across the mud and hoover up micro-organisms. Ew.
15. Pancake Urchin
It may look flat, and be called the ‘pancake urchin’ but they are not actually flat in their natural habitat.
Their scientific name is called Phormosoma placenta and is seldom found at depths less than 500m.
They can be found on either side of the Atlantic ocean.[adunit mobile=”RTK_dVa8″]
16. Flesh-eating Crustaceans
Tiny crustaceans such as this amphipod are deep-sea scavengers. They will eat almost anything nutritious that they come across…[adunit mobile=”RTK_wCZW”]
This includes the decaying remains of a dead whale that has drifted down from the world above.
17. The Tripod Fish
These fish are often called spiderfishes. They prop high off the sea floor on their stlit-like fins. They have very reduced eyes.
To feed, they face into the current, extend their elongated pectoral fins forward and ‘feel’ their pray when they drift by.
So they were the new species of fish that scientists found. What about the old ones. Here are more of the most terrifying sea creatures every found…
18. The Sarcastic Fringehead
This fish both has an amazing name and just looks amazing too.[adunit mobile=”RTK_dVa8″]
They appear relatively harmless, but when provoked, they will open their massive mouth in an attempt to fend off predators.
The defence is both surprising and fascinating.
19. Northern Stargazer
These are found in the easter United States. This fish burrows itself into the sand to camouflage itself. When prey comes along, the fish will electrically shock it into submission.
They’re not only painful to look at, but also panful to encounter.
20. The Black Dragon Fish
It is only the female species of this fish that has the terrifying appearance of an alien-monster with razor-sharp teeth.
It loves deep under the ocean and can produces its own light, making it impossible not to notice.
21. Gulper Eel
As their name would suggest, the Gulper Eel have massive mouths. The legendary deep sea creature can swallow pray whole for that reason.[adunit mobile=”RTK_dVa8″]
It is so adept at eating large objects that both its mouth and stomach can expand to accommodate the food.
We wish ours could.
22. Fangtooth Fish
This is another deep sea dweller with a name to match its looks.
Its teeth are massively disproportionately large compared to its frame, making a perfect prison for prey after being sucked into its mouth.
Nope, nope and more nope.
24. Frilled Shark
Everything about this think looks absolutely terrifying, but perhaps the most terrifying thing is its massive rows and rows of teeth, spanning a total of 300 individual teeth across 25 rows.[adunit mobile=”RTK_dVa8″]
The sharks can grow up to six feet in lengths and constrict their prey like snakes.[adunit mobile=”RTK_wCZW”]
Just like the Black Dragonfish, it is only the female species of Anglerfish that are the scariest. More scarier is their mating ritual.
The male Anglerfish fuse to the female fish, dies and then dissolves until there is nothing left but the gonads for the female fish to impregnate herself with.
Be thankful you’re not a male Anglerfish.
26. The Black Swallower
Along with the Gulper Eel, the Black Swallower perhaps ties for the title of most gluttonous fish.[adunit mobile=”RTK_dVa8″]
Black Swallowers can gorge themselves on animals so large, that they fish takes its time decomposing inside the stomach of the fish.
Sorry to put you off your lunch.
This fish has the ability to see all. It is transparent and has the ability to move its eyes all the way around to view what’s happening behind it.
Another thing that a Barreleye has in common with other deep sea fish is that it simply swallows its prey whole.
28. Giant Grenadier Fish
These fish are quite common and live all across the ocean. They not only look terrible, but they smell awful too.[adunit mobile=”RTK_dVa8″]
They emit a strong odour due to the high levels of Trimethylamine oxide.
This is the substance that typically gives fish their pungent smell.
These have been described by Business Insider as a “creepy looking fish,” and we have to agree with them.
Its teeth are slightly hooked, helping to catch prey.
They can grow up to two feet long, though there are a wide variety of species that don’t grow as large.
They can stay that size, we don’t want them any bigger.
30. Vampire Squid
Even its name suggests that this squid is one scary animal. In fact, they’re pretty docile.
The scariest part of the animal besides its name it its appearance and umbrella-like tentacles.
31. Big Red Jellyfish
This huge jellyfish can grow to be over 1 meter in length. From its name, you may have deduced that its red.[adunit mobile=”RTK_dVa8″]
Rather than tentacles, this jellyfish uses a series of fleshy ‘feeding arms’ to capture its prey.
We’re thankful to be on land.
32. Giant Squid
33. Giant Isopod
Unlike others on this list, giant isopods are permanently constrained to roaming the ocean floor.
This is primarily the cold, dark waters of the North Atlantic and the Arctic circle.
It can stay there.
These are not to be confused with the Chimera of Greek mythology.
This fish is also known as the ghost shark.
They used to live all across the world, but today they are confined to the deep waters.
Although usually these tiny crustaceans are no longer than an inch in length, down below the waves at 6km deep they can grow up to 1 foot in length.
From the picture above, we wouldn’t like to encounter one of these that are a foot long.
So there you have it folks! We hope you’ve enjoyed having a look at these terrifying creatures, safe on land where they can’t hurt you.
We won’t be paddling in the sea anytime soon.[adunit mobile=”RTK_z9hm”]