Some of the creepiest but fascinating deep-sea creatures can be found up to 1500 meters below the ocean’s surface. The bottom of the ocean is completely devoid of light. With very low oxygen and high pressure, no human beings could survive such depths. Somehow these organisms have adapted well despite the harsh environment.
Here are 7 of the most bizarre deep-sea creatures documented by scientists:
1. Frilled Shark
Because of its eel-like appearance, the frilled shark was dubbed as ‘sea serpent’ when it was first discovered. If that’s not enough to terrify you, imagine 25 rows of 300 three-pronged teeth inside its mouth. They feed on octopus, squid, cuttlefish and other sharks. This rare deep-sea animal can be found almost anywhere in the world but they are spottily distributed, thus the chance of rubbing shoulders with these creatures is little to none. A specimen was caught in Japan in 2007, but the female shark died hours after being caught.
2. Goblin Shark
This creature is what nightmares are made of. Frilled sharks pale in comparison to this monstrosity. Scientifically known as Mitsukurina owstoni, goblin shark is a bottom-dwelling creature with soft, flabby, bubblegum pink-colored body. A goblin shark attacking its prey is a scene straight out of a horror movie. It can project its jaw forward at a lightning speed to pull preys into its mouth. Because they are rarely seen, the total number of species is unknown.
Don’t be fooled by its size; measuring only about 15 cm in length, Grammatostomias flagellibarba is a ferocious and treacherous predator. It lures prey by flashing lights in dark waters. It has a long protrusion attached to its chin where the light-producing organ (photophore) is located. Photopores also lined the sides of its body, probably to distract or disorient preys.
4. Angler Fish
Following the dragonfish’s strategy, female anglerfish also lures its prey through a protrusion above its mouth – resembling that of a fishing pole. They have big mouths that can swallow prey twice its size. Male species, however, doesn’t need such adaptation. Young male anglerfish latches onto a female and fuses with her body overtime – losing his eyes and internal organs with the exception of the testes. A good enough plot for a science fiction movie.
5. Gulper Eel
One of the most unusual creatures of the deep sea, Gulper eels or Eurypharynx pelecanoides thrive between 500 to 6000 feet below the surface. It was also nicknamed Pelican gulper and umbrella mouth gulper because of its huge mouth. Like fishing nets, it can scoop up a large group of shrimps and other crustaceans as it goes. Just like most deep-sea creatures, it can produce light through bioluminescence and gives off a pink or red glow to attract prey. Adult gulper eel can grow up to 2.5 feet in length.
6. Vampire Squid
Neither a vampire nor a squid, Vampyroteuthis infernalis is a cephalopod that was first thought of as an octopus. It is the only remaining species in the order Vampiromorphyda. It is widely regarded as a living fossil because its appearance remained unchanged for more than 3 million years. Vampire squids have large eyes compared to its body; the largest among entire animal kingdom relative to its size. Fortunately, vampire squids are not a threat to humans.
7. Giant Japanese Spider Crab
While a crab is quite a delicacy, what would you get if you cross a spider and a crab? A Lovecraftian monster perhaps? If a giant spider crab doesn’t scare you, then nothing else will. Macrocheira kaempferi is the largest crab in the world, with legs that can grow up to 10 feet long. Let that information sink in.
There are over 10 million species of organisms that live in the deep sea. The majority of these animals are still unknown. There are more horrific and interesting creatures to discover at the bottom of the sea; not a very comforting thought.