You’ve seen my previous post about World’s Weirdest Creatures. Now what you’re going to see is the other surreal creatures that inhabit the oceanic depths, which we have only explored a tiny fraction.
Article is based on material from Chan Lee Peng, written by Avi Abrams.
Leafy Sea Dragon
Photo Jeffrey N. Jeffords
A Leafy Sea Dragon (phycodurus eques) has long leaf-like protrusions all over its body, serving as camouflage among different types of floating seaweeds of kelp beds. Neither prey nor predators recognize it as a fish.
It’s found along the coastline of Australia. A fully grown leafy sea dragon can reach about 45 cm (18 inch). During mating, the female deposits up to 250 bright pink eggs onto a special “brood patch” on the underside of the tail of the male where they are attached and fertilized.
Photo James D. Watt/J.H. Editorial via Feuillu
A most distinguished portrait, worthy to be framed :
Umbrella Mouth Gulper Eel
Photo Bruce Robison
The Umbrella Mouth Gulper Eel (Eurypharynx Pelecanoides) can open its “Umbrella Mouth” to Pelican-like proportion, accommodating prey much larger than its size.
Photo John Kealy
Plus it can stretch and expand its stomach. The Eel itself can be almost one meter in length, and if it starts expanding. This means it can swallow and devour something more than 1.5 meters long.
This squid sees the world in color. And it makes deep-blue pretty light itself.
Photo Phil Livelsberger
The Firefly Squid (Watasenia Scintillans), also called the Sparkling Enope Squid has special deep-blue light producing organs called photophores. By flashing the lights on and off, it can attract prey before trapping it with its tentacles. It’s also only cephalopod species which have color vision!
Photo Pink Tentacle
Each year off the coast of Toyama Bay, Japan, billions of these tiny squids will gather to spawn, creating a cool light show.
Photo David Forcucci
The Viperfish (Chauliodus Sloani) can grow to over half a meter in size, which is simply not a comforting thought. Again, it attracts its prey with luminescent spots running from throat to tail, and attracts curious humans, who can not refrain from sticking a finger in its jaws to see what happens.
Viperfish can go without food for days. Beware of the sharp fangs, even if it’s dead.
Photo Neil Creek
Here is Angler Fish, with its stomach in its mouth. Decompression caused the stomach to invert.
The male who is a lot smaller than the female bites into her and he actually becomes fused to the female for the rest of his life. In deep water environments, this allow them to have a higher success rate in breeding where finding a mate can be difficult.
Fangtooth or Ogre Fish
Winner of the Deep Abyss Beauty Contest last year.
A Fangtooth (Anoplogaster Cornuta) or Ogre Fish, dwells mostly in the waters off the coast of Australia. By the way, the waters off Australia seem to teem with all kinds of monsters. It may be ferocious-looking, but it’s actually quite small – a maximum length of 17 cm.
Photo Kim Jinsuk
Photo Norbert Wu
Its head contains several mucous cavities separated by serrated ridges. Its lower 94 mm teeth are engineered to neatly slide into mouth pockets, when the fish decides to close the gaping jaw.
Photo Mark McGrouther
It is one of the deepest living organisms found yet. It seems to enjoy water temperatures near freezing state.
A Hatchetfish has extremely thin body, resembling the blade of a hatchet, and tubular large eyes that are permanently fixed looking upwards. This helps them to search for food failling from above. It also gives them a psychotic look, with eyes rolled up and stuck there.
Photo NOAA Ocean Explorer
Light-producing photophores are used in a defensive behaviour called counter-lighting. Hatchetfish are abundant in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.
Christmas Tree Worm
Photo José Eduardo Silva
Photo Peter Forster
The Christmas Tree Worm (Spirobranchus Giganteus) is a small polychaete worm most often found in the Black Forest Reef and other reefs near Grand Turk. They hide in the tubes, stick out their heads, and when threatened, pull their heads back into the tube. The feather-like tentacles resembling twin “Christmas Trees” are called radioles. They filter the plankton for food, aid in respiration, and allow this worm to sing Christmas carols, very very softly.
The tube extends down across the surface of this Giant Star Coral. Each bump on the surface of the coral is one animal, called a polyp. Each Star Coral polyp was nearly 1/4 of an inch wide.
You can see the “antennae” on the top of this worm’s head. These two “antennae”, called Radioles, work like a net to catch tiny plankton that float by in the ocean currents. The Radioles also work like gills, allowing the worm to breathe.
Giant Basket Star
Photo Ellen Muller
Photo Happy Mermaid
The Giant Basket Star (Astrophyton Muricatum) is an early Mesozoic invertebrate, often found around British Virgin Islands. During the day, it curls up into a tight ball shape to protect itself from predators. At night, it climbs to an elevated point to feed on plankton by extending its intricately-branched feeding arms in a bowl-like shape. Then, it coils around its prey and the tiny hooks along the length of these arms will prevent its prey from escaping.
Here is another variety of Astrophyton, simply astounding in its classical beauty :
Photo Haeckel Ophiodea
Furry Sea Cucumber
The Furry Sea Cucumber (Astichopus Multifidus) can be seen crawling or rolling over the sea floor of the Caribbean, Bahamas, and Florida. If you tear it to pieces trying to find out what it is, it would not really mind. They can regenerate their body tissues. Potentially filling the ocean floor with furry cucumbers.
Photo Lee Boxall
Flamingo Tounge Snail
Photo Laszlo Ilyes
Photo Courtney Platt
The Flamingo Tounge Snail (Cyphoma Gibbosumn) is a small, colorful sea snail which lives on various species of soft corals in the Caribbean. This creature almost literally wears its heart (soul and colors) on its sleeve. The pretty color you see in these images is not in snail’s shell. Rather, it’s in a layer of live mantle tissue, connected to its foot. The snail pushes it out to cover the shell. The mantle tissue also works like a fish’s gill.
When the snail is attacked, the mantle (and colors) are withdrawn. So you might say, this is the only marine animal that literally turns pale in fright.
Photo Doug Finney
And they’re only beautiful with all that color while they’re alive. The dead ones are just ugly white shells.
Piglet Squid (Helicocranchia) caught off the shores of Nigeria.
Photo Alan Kinnear
This oceanic squids are small (100 mm ML), characterized by having a very large funnel and small paddle-like fins that attach to a portion of the gladius that rises above the muscular mantle. They exhibit a gradual ontogenetic descent from near-surface waters as paralarvae to lower mesopelagic depths as near-adults.
via : Dark Roasted Blend