When we swim at the beach, we do not imagine that at the bottom of the oceans hide hideous and scary animals, to say the least. There are creatures of various sizes, shapes, colors, and sometimes even deadly ones.
Today, it is estimated that 75% of underwater life is completely unknown to us. And from the little we know, the world of silence is not necessarily a place where humans can venture without fear.
Whether in the abyss where it is almost fatal to visit or in the waters on the surface, very strange and frightening sea creatures swim under our feet and boats. Honestly, given the images that follow, we are very happy to live on dry land.
As we know that you will probably never go into the sea, we invite you to discover 10 terrifying animals that live in the abyss:
10 – Goblin Shark (Mitsukurina Owstoni)
With its long, flattened nose and telescopic jaw with nail-shaped teeth, the Goblin Shark (Mitsukurina Owstoni) is a curiosity of nature. A rare and unique specie of its kind, since it is the only survivor of the Mitsukirinidae family. Adults measuring probably 3 to 4 meters long, we still know very little aboutthis deep-sea shark, only a hundred individuals have been captured to date, in locations scattered across the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans. In Australia, it is known to swim in New South Wales, Tasmania and possibly in South Australia.
In the blind depths of the abyss, the beast prowls on the continental slopes, mountains, and underwater canyons, in search of crustaceans, cephalopods and especially fish. Its flaccid body, its not very rigid skeleton and its small fins suggest that the Goblin Shark is a slow swimmer, it would catch its prey by surprise. By the organs specific to sharks called Ampullae of Lorenzini, it would detect its prey thanks to the weak electric field they emit in spite of themselves while breathing. Light and silent, the animal would sneak up to its prey then, suddenly extending its retractable jaw, the shark would swallow its victims raw.
The Goblin Shark have developed its long flattened snout, a nose studded with these famous Ampullae of Lorenzini, which are very useful since the shark uses rarely its sight. As for its reproduction, we know very little about it.
9 – Giant Isopod (Bathynomus Giganteus)
It looks like a seabed fossil, but this crustacean is alive and well, the Giant Isopodis a very large marine Bathynome of the crustacean family, a sub-branch of arthropods. It was first discovered in 1878 during an expedition to the Gulf of Mexico. This discovery was exceptional because it went against the widespread idea back then, that there is no trace of life in the depths of the ocean.
Giant Isopod is a real glutton, even if it can impose important periods of fasting, it is able to swallow food until no longer standing on its feet. It is mainly a carnivore and an important seabed scavenger. It particularly appreciates the whales and fish corpses, but it can also attack alive animals with help from its teeth.
Measuring 35 centimeters on average, while weighing 1.4 kilograms, it can reach up to 50 cm for 1.7 kg, making it the largest of the isopods. It has two large 18 mm triangular compound eyes, spaced approximately 25 mm apart, each consisting of approximately 3500 ommatidia with uneven distribution across the retina. The head is surmounted by two pairs of antennas and its jaws are equipped with four pairs of mandibles. The retina is lined with reflective cells, allowing it to see in the dark.
8 – Pacific Viperfish (Chauliodus Macouni)
It is also called “Ferocious Chauliode”. Viperfish live at great depths, between 200 and more than 4000 meters under the sea, even in the abyss. At this depth, there is no light, and very few living beings, food is therefore scarce, and the animals which live there have to adapt. They are often very impressive predators. This is the case with Viper Fish.
Large globular eyes and elongated body like the viper from which it takes its name. The ferocious Viperfish has developed significantly, tapering fangs from which it seems unlikely that the prey can escape. It has long curved teeth which makes it impossible for it to close its mouth, so it has to accommodate its sharp teeth outside the mouth, dangerously close to its eyes. These large teeth allow it to capture any prey that passes within its reach. Indeed, the prey is rare in the abyss, and if the fish lets out one, it is harder for it to have another one right away which makes it starve.
In addition, if the Viperfish miscalculates the size of its prey and impales an overly large animal, it is then unable to spit it out as well as to swallow it, It is thus condemned to die at the same time as its last meal. The fish feeds mainly on shrimps, which it attracts thanks to the numerous luminous organs, arranged like points all along its body that glow in the dark, therefore attracting the prey.
Finally, we know very little about it. Indeed, it is difficult to observe it in its natural environment, and the little information that we have comes from individuals who sometimes come across it while fishing.
7 – Blobfish (Psychrolutes Marcidus)
The Blobfish is a marine fish that lives at great depths, in the abyss, off the coast of Australia and New Zealand. “Blobfish” is its English name, in reference to its flabby appearance. With its deformed human face, its hideously deformed body with almost no bones, only gelatinous and covered with mucus, the Blobfish is a creature straight out of nightmares. It’s the ugliest and most disgusting fish on the planet.
The Blobfish is an abyssal fish that usually lives at a depth between 600 and 1200 meters. At such depth, the pressure is 60 to 120 times that of the surface. To resist, the Blobfish’s body had to find alternatives to classic and bony fish. Its flesh, for example, is mainly made up of gelatinous mass whose density is slightly lower than that of water, allowing it to float just above the seabed without getting tired. The Blobfish, therefore, has very few muscles, this does not prevent it from devouring small mollusks.
Its diet consists of sea snow, it does not need to hunt or swim in order to find its food. Recorded in 1926, the Blobfish does not deserve its unsightly appearance. Indeed, the many photos of this fish that circulates on the web are taken when it is on the surface after it has undergone a strong decompression due to its ascent. Its appearance is then modified and the result is none other than this jelly mass which can be seen on many shots. In its natural environment, the Blobfish has a much less original appearance.
According to the legend, the Blobfish is endowed with a certain form of primitive intelligence and once served as a sacrificial oil lamp during the rites offered to Dagon by the half-human half-batrachian inhabitants of Innsmouth.
Today, the Blobfish is an endangered specie. Like many deep-sea fish, it is often caught by bottom trawling, and since it is inedible and its gelatinous mass dries up in a few minutes, fishermen get rid of it immediately. An additional problem, it that its reproduction rate is very slow.
6 – Gulper Eel (Eurypharynx Pelecanoides)
The crew of the E/V Nautilus filmed a strange creature at 1425 meters deep, initially round like a balloon at the start of the video, it gradually deflates until it becomes almost as slender as a snake. It didn’t take long to identify this anima by the scientists on board, it is a Gulper Eel, a specie of fish little known to the general public because it lives in the bathyal and abyssal zone of the sea.
The Gulper Eel is found in all tropical and hot oceans at depths ranging from 500 to 6,000 feet. Because of the extreme depths at which it lives, most of what we know about this species comes from specimens inadvertently caught in fishing nets on the high seas.
The Gulper Eel is a specie of Saccopharyngiformes fish, that is to say, that they have a huge mouth. It is one of the strangest creatures in the abyss. Its huge mouth is much larger than its body. It is freely articulated and can be opened wide enough to swallow an animal much larger than the Eel. The unhappy animal is then placed in a pocket-shaped lower jaw. Eel’s stomach can also stretch to accommodate large meals. This giant mouth gives the eel its other common name, umbrella mouth gulper.
The Eel has a long tail, the tip of which is equipped with a complex bioluminescent device, the tealight glows pink and can emit occasional red flashes. Since the body of the Eel is not built to hunt prey, it is believed that the Eel uses this light as a fishing lure to attract fish and other creatures near its huge mouth. When the prey is in range, the eel snaps are up in its gigantic mouth.
The Gulper Eel can vary in length from three to six feet. It is usually black or dark green in color and sometimes has a white line or groove on each side of the dorsal fin.
As for its reproductive habits, we don’t know much about it. The large olfactory organs of males indicate that they can locate their partners thanks to the pheromones released by the females. Many researchers believe that Gulper Eels die soon after breeding.
5 – Vampire Squid (Vampyroteuthis Infernalis)
The Vampire Squid is a specie of cephalopod living in the abyss of all warm and tropical oceans, between 500 to 3000 meters deep, where it spots the slightest movement with its large globular eyes.
Its unique retractable sensory filaments justify its placement in a specific order (Vampyromorphida). Contrary to their name, however, they are not squid, but the closest cousins of the octopuses. It is so exceptional that it is called a “living fossil”. Since 1903, It has had the privilege of being the only surviving representative of his order, Vampyromorphida, in the tree of species.
The vampire squid is an animal that lives very deep. Unlike their cousins, these animals do not spray ink to defend themselves, indeed, it would be useless, because, at great depth, the sunlight cannot pass through the water, and it is always very dark. In contrast, Vampire Squid is capable of producing light, through a phenomenon called bioluminescence.
These species have adapted very well to their environment. Instead of the suction cups, they have some sort of hooks to catch their prey. Their tentacles are connected by a sort of membrane, which looks a bit like a cape when the animal is swimming. It was this membrane, resembling a cape, and the hooks, resembling fangs, that earned them the name of a Vampire Squid.
Between these arms, two pockets contain long retractable filaments reminiscent of those of a squid. Long regarded as sensory appendages intended to detect prey and predators, they are in reality tools allowing the vampire to seize fragments of corpses to bring them to its mouth. Thanks to a sticky mucus secreted by the appendages, the vampire agglomerates these crumbs of food to form a small ball, then conveyed to its beak by the thorns covering its arms.
The analysis of the animal’s stomach and excrement is formal, it feeds on corpses and fragments of larvae, crustaceans, and zooplankton that slowly sink to the bottom of the oceans.
4 – Fangtooth Fish (Anoplogaster Cornuta)
The Fangtooth Fish (Anoplogaster Cornuta) is a specie of abyssal fish in the family of Anoplogastridae. You can find it in tropical and cold-temperate waters. Where it lives, between 500 and 5,000 meters deep, food is so scarce that it must be able to eat almost everything it encounters zooplankton by filtering fish and a squid bigger than the third of its size. The Fangtooth Fish has the largest teeth in the world comparing to its body size. Its fangs are so long that the fish cannot even close its jaw completely.
In adults, the two largest hooks in the lower jaw are so large that the ogre has a cavity on either side of the brain to accommodate the teeth when the mouth is closed. Young ogres are morphologically very different from adults. These marked differences have, moreover, led the two stages of their development to be sometimes classified as two distinct species.
The species can perform daily vertical migrations; during the day, these fish stay in the dark depths and, in the evening, they go up to the upper layers of the water column to eat in the light of the stars before returning to deep waters at dawn. The Fangtooth Fish can move alone or in small groups. No doubt it uses its chemoreceptors to find a prey, counting on the chance to come across something edible.
Unlike other species that live in the depths, this animal is known to be robust compared to many other abyssal fish. Researchers have in fact already kept it alive for months in an aquarium despite significantly different conditions from its natural habitat. On the other hand, in its natural habitat, the Fangtooth Fish is subject to the law of the strongest like all its congeners.
3 – Black Dragonfish (Idiacanthus Atlanticus)
This predator, which has long teeth and a large mouth to capture large preys, resembles an alien. The Black Dragonfish evolves in between 1 to 3 km deep and in almost complete darkness, where the pressure is very strong.
Neighboring monkfish, it produces its own light by means of luminous organs called photophores. These luminous organs serve to trap the prey by attracting them, but it is also a good camouflage that hides it in the face of the weak light coming from the surface. However, unlike most bioluminescent predators, which mainly use their light to attract preys, Black Dragonfish can also see their own light. Interestingly, the light produced by the fish is barely visible to the human eye without the aid of infrared tools.
A living paradox, the Black Dragonfish is certainly one of the scariest animals there are, their undulations quickly transform them into snakes. In order to open their mouth wide, the voracious animal has developed a so-called soft jaw, and it compensates for the lack of power with particularly sharp teeth. Five times more penetrating than that of the famous piranha, according to the measurements carried out by scientists, these series of daggers enters the flesh of its prey as in butter. The creators of Alien were not mistaken, when they dressed up one of their monsters with such teeth.
This animal is rare and very few images show it evolving in its natural environment. During an exploration carried out in 2015, the research institute of the Monterey Bay aquarium brought back some images of this strange specimen. After this recording, the biologists recovered the fish for observation. Its study will allow for a better understanding of the animal and thus help its conservation in a natural environment. This is an opportunity for scientists to learn more about this surprising animal from the abyss.
Fortunately, unlike extraterrestrials, you do not have to fear Black Dragonfish, as they are very rare and live deep in the ocean, far beyond where we can go.
2 – Giant Squid (Architeuthis Dux)
Historically, Giant Squids have fueled the imagination of sailors, and novelists. In recent years, scientists have been getting to know them better, thanks to the discovery of dead individuals, stranded on beaches or floating on the surface of the oceans. Now, researchers can also count on the fishermen practicing deep trawling, who sometimes meet a Giant Squid. These animals live in the abyss, where they were filmed for the first time in 2012.
According to a new scientific study, the size of the Giant Squid has been largely underestimated. These huge specimens are probably 20 meters long and weigh around 200 kilograms. At the rear of the cylindrical head, the conical body, or mantle, is terminated by a triangular fin and supported by an internal skeleton consisting of chitin, the feather or gladius. The mouth, provided with strong horny jaws, constituting the beak, is surrounded by eight arms from two to three meters in length and by two tentacles which can measure 15 meters. These ten appendages carry numerous serrated and chitinous suction cups. On the belly, an adjustable siphon, the funnel, is used to propel the animal by expelling the water contained in the pallial cavity, the internal space delimited by the walls of the mantle. The 130 or so specimens of Giant Squid measured so far are just midgets compared to their congeners that haunt the ocean floor.
But why do Giant Squids have such colossal dimensions? Professor Charles Paxton of the University of Saint Andrews assumes that this is a defense against sperm whales. “Perhaps there is a size where sperm whales no longer attack them,” he concludes.
1 – Anglerfish (Lophiiformes)
The Anglerfish takes its name from its particular mode of predation. They are bony fishes with a characteristic predation mode, thanks to a rod placed on its head, it catches its prey by attracting it thanks to this lure. Anglerfish belong to the order of Lophiiformes and present a great diversity of size, morphology, and color. They all have their method of predation in common as well as a rather frightening appearance.
This order is known for its characteristic predatory method. They have a kind of lure to attract their prey, called illicium, consisting of an appendage on the head with an enlargement at its free end, movable in all directions. This way, the rocking can attract other fish close enough to be swallowed quickly. Many live mainly from the aphotic zone of the abyss, where the depth of the water is such that no sunlight penetrates for photosynthesis, and that predators have bioluminescent lures.
Anglerfish have a huge, broad, flat and depressed head, the rest of the body resembles an appendage. They can reach 2 meters; on average, it measures up to 90 cm, with a maximum weight of 30 kg. The wide mouth extends into the anterior circumference of the head and the two jaws are armed with long, pointed teeth angled inward and can even be moved slightly inward to prevent any leakage from its mouth. They can also stretch their jaws and stomach in huge proportions, being able to swallow preys twice as large as their body.
Some benthic species have legs on the pectoral fins and use them to walk on the ocean floor. The skin has appendages around its head and body that appear in small pieces of seagrass, a structure which, combined with its extraordinary ability to imitate the color of its environment, improves its ability to predate.
Their mating is quite particular, in fact, the male which is smaller than the female spends its whole life looking for a female to mate with and once it has found it, he dies during mating.