From wooly crabs to blobs with eyes, scientists have found some fascinating, and in some cases horrifying, denizens in the deep ocean. Since you probably won’t see these species while snorkeling in Cancun, we thought we’d bring the freakish finds to you with an easy-to-click-through and mostly repulsive slideshow. Enjoy!
1. Angler Fish
Named for the appendage that extends from their head and acts as fake bait for prey, this freakish fish is a deep-sea carnivore with a mouth of razor-sharp teeth. Interestingly, only female anglers have a lure and hunt; the males have evolved into parasites that latch onto, and eventually physically fuse with, females, losing all organs but their testes in the process. Talk about having a guy “by the balls.” Moreover, the chicks usually have six or more guys by the balls at once. Sluts!
2. Giant Isopod
This carnivorous crustacean related to the tiny pill bugs in your yard are found in the cold, deep waters of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. While usually about a foot long, the isopod can grow to a horrifying 3.7 pounds and 30 inches. To help scavenge the ocean floor, the creature has two pairs of antenna, seven pairs of legs and four sets of jaws. Like pill bugs, giant isopods can roll themselves into a tight ball with armor-plated shells when threatened.
Found in the deep seas off the coast of Australia, the Blobfish is as lethargic as it looks and sounds. While this aquatic being may look like something out of a horror film, there’s no need to be scared because it’s essentially a floating gelatinous mass with very little muscle. The comatose creature doesn’t even bother to swim; it simply swallows whatever drifts by its mouth, making it even more sloth-like than an actual sloth.
4. Leafy Sea Dragon
Like rednecks, leafy sea dragons take their camo very seriously. Decked out with ethereal, leaf-shaped appendages, these elaborate animals blend in with the seaweed and kelp formations in which they reside. Tiny fins that propel the animal are imperceptible, giving the illusion that the creature is just some alga floating by. While they live in the waters off Australia, their impressive camouflage makes them harder to spot than a little person at a club filled with NBA players.
This deep-sea saltwater fish with long, needle-like teeth and a hinged lower jaw is one of the fiercest predators in the aquatic world, eating animals several times its own size. After drawing prey near with a light-producing organ, viperfish swim full speed at their target and impale the poor sucker on their massive vampire fangs. Pretty badass for a fish that on average is only about a foot long. See, size doesn’t matter… when you have big ass teeth. Just ask Robert Pattinson.
6. Vampire Squid
These deep-sea cephalopods earned their moniker thanks to their dark body, cloak-like webbing and eerie red eyes. While their scientific name translates to “vampire squid from hell,” this funny-looking fella is actually pretty harmless. The only cephalopod that’s not a hunter, the squid instead deploys super long filaments that catch marine waste enveloped in wads of delicious mucous. The filaments are then reclaimed between the arms of the animal and the “food” is cleaned off.
First noticed just five years ago in The Philippines, the heads of these annelid worms appear to be covered in tentacles … like a squid. While only four inches long, the creatures boast eight long arms used for breathing, two loosely coiled limbs for feeding and six pairs of feathery sensory organs. To top the flashy look off, squidworms sport iridescent “paddles” along the length of their body to get from place to place.
8. Pink See-Through Fantasia
While this bizarre, translucent animal may look like a jellyfish, it’s actually a sea cucumber. Found about a mile and a half deep in the Celebes Sea in the western Pacific, pink see-through fantasias have webbed swimming structures that allow them to swim more than 3,000 feet up from the seafloor to find food, escape predators and avoid looking at a gross blobfish.
9. Yeti Crab
A shaggy crab found 5,000 feet deep near Easter Island, this bizarre crustacean is likely blind and may eat bacteria “farmed” in its furry claws. When scientists discovered this hairy species they thought it bizarre enough to warrant creating an entirely new genus (Kiwa) and family (Kiwidae)—both named for the Polynesian goddess of shellfish. Despite its appearance, the Yeti Crab should not be used as a mop. Thanks to this product, however, your baby can be used as a mop.
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10. Long-nosed Chimaera
These creepy cartilaginous fish are found around 7,000 feet below sea level, where they’ve adapted to life without any light. Their formidable schnozes are covered in sensory nerve endings that help them find and catch smaller fish for food. Long-nosed Chimaera can grow to five feet in length and possess a poisonous dorsal fin with enough venom to kill a human. Luckily, there aren’t many people hanging out in their aphotic hood.