From glowing tentacles to the ugliest fish in the world, here are 11 of the weirdest sea creatures ever!
- Leafy Sea Dragon
This May look like your average piece of seaweed but, believe it or not, it’s actually a leafy sea dragon! Found along the southern and western coast of Australia, the leafy sea dragon is a Member of the same family as the seahorse – the Syngnathidae family. Sea dragons are some of the most ornately camouflaged creatures on the planet. They Grow to around 20-24cm long and feed on plankton and small crustaceans. Moving through the water using their tiny fins, this sea dragon’s long, leafy extensions allow it to Hide from predators by blending in with seaweed! The leafy seadragon propels itself with a pectoral fin on the ridge of its neck and a dorsal fin on its back closer to the tail end. These small fins are almost completely transparent and difficult to see as they move back and forth slowly to move the creature awkwardly through the water. This tumbling and drifting gives it the illusion of floating seaweed. Like seahorses, Sea dragon males are responsible for childbearing. They are frequently taken by divers who want to keep them as pets and by the 1990s, the Australian government placed the species under protection. Popularly known as “leafies”, they are The marine emblem of the state of South Australia. They are currently listed as near threatened and are a huge focus for local marine conservation.
- Christmas Tree Worm
Christmas Tree Worms are Found on coral reefs in tropical waters around the world from the Caribbean to the Indo-Pacific. They get their name from the two spiral Plumes that look just like Christmas trees! These Christmas tree-like crowns are are made up of hair-like tentacles that grow from the worm’s central spine. These Crowns are used for feeding on microscopic plants and for respiration, allowing the worm to breathe. These cool critters come in different colors, including orange, yellow, blue and white! Though the plumes are visible, Most of these worms are anchored in their burrows that they bore into live calcareous coral. Christmas tree worms are very sensitive to disturbances and will rapidly Retract into their burrows at the slightest touch or passing shadow. They typically re-emerge a minute later, very slowly, to test the water before fully extending their plumes. Once they find a place they like, they don’t move much. They are only about 1.5 inches long (3.8cm) but because of their distinctive beauty, they are easily spotted.
Now here’s a Creature that might give you a fright! With its huge head and enormous mouth, these fearsome fish swim in the dark depths of the ocean. Ranging from just 20 cm to 1 m long (3.3 ft), There are more than 300 species of anglerfish, most of which are found in the Atlantic and Antarctic oceans. Generally dark gray to dark brown in color, they have Huge heads and enormous crescent-shaped mouths filled with sharp, translucent teeth. So what makes this creature super strange? Well, the female has her Own glowing light hanging above her mouth! This luminous flesh attracts unsuspecting prey close to the anglerfish’ sharp, see-through teeth for a quick and easy snack. Their mouths are so big and their bodies so pliable, they Can actually swallow prey up to twice their own size. The male, which is significantly smaller than the female, has no need for such an adaptation. Instead of continually seeking the vast abyss of the deep sea for a female, it has Evolved into a permanent parasitic mate. When a young, free-swimming male angler encounters a female, he latches onto her with his sharp teeth. Over time, The male physically fuses with the female, connecting to her skin and bloodstream. He loses his eyes and all his internal organs except the testes. To learn more, check out my video on creepy fish from the deep sea! A female usually carries about six or more males on her body. Talk about clingy!
Consider the fangtooth fish the Underwater equivalent of a supposedly menacing pitbull with a heart of gold. Despite its threatening appearance, the fangtooth is incredibly Benign because of its poor eyesight means that if the fangtooth wants to make like a predator and hunt, it quite literally Has to bump into its prey in order to find it. The fangtooth’s chompers certainly paint a different portrait, though. An orthodontist’s worst nightmare, the fangtooth has The largest teeth of any fish in the ocean relative to its actual size. Good luck catching a glimpse of the sharp-mouthed animal with your own eyes: the fangtooth Resides as far as 16,400 feet beneath the sea. For comparison’s sake, that’s about the length of 55 consecutive American football fields.
- Northern Stargazer
Ever seen a fish that looks like this before? Found mainly off the east coast of the United States, this creepy creature grows to around 50cm long. It has a blackish brown body with white spots on its head, and stripes on its tail. The wacky bit? The northern stargazer’s Eyes and nostrils are located on the top of its head, and, unlike most fish, its mouth faces upwards! This cunning critter buries itself in the sand, leaving its eyes poking out. And when an unlucky smaller fish swims by, it Rises up and swallows its meal in one big gulp. Aside from being hard to spot, the northern stargazer fish does have another method of defense. It Can use an electric stun to defend itself against larger predators. Those who wish to make the stargazer into their lunch might come upon a shocking surprise!
- Vampire Squid
Vampire squid is an apt name for a Creature that lurks in the lightless depths of the ocean. Comfortable at 10,000 feet (3,000 meters) below the surface, these diminutive cephalopods navigate the blackness with Eyes that are proportionately the largest of any animal on Earth. The species gets its name from its dark, webbed arms, which it can draw over itself like a cloak. The animal’s physiology has adapted to Enable it to live at the very low oxygen levels found within the oxygen minimum layers of these regions. At the upper levels of its range, there is some sunlight, and as a consequence it has Evolved the biggest eyes of any animal (in proportion to size) in order to capture as much light as it can. What is really fascinating about this animal are its defense mechanisms. In the dark seas that it lives in, it Releases bioluminescent ‘ink’ that dazzles and confuses other animals while it escapes. Normally, it can emit a bluish light which, seen from underneath, helps to camouflage; but when spotted, it Wraps itself with its black-coloured underside… and disappears.