The world’s oceans cover more than 71% of the earth’s surface and account for over 97% of all the water in the world. 1% of the earth’s water is found in freshwater rivers and lakes, and 2-3% is found in glaciers and ice caps. Somewhere between 700,000 and one million species live in the world’s oceans, and some scientists believe that only between one-third and two-thirds of the ocean’s species have yet to be named and described. That’s a whole lot of space for marine life to live! While some sea creatures are beautiful, some are downright creepy and frightening. Read below to learn about our picks for the top 7 fearsome ocean creatures.
The hatchetfish earned its name due to its thin, razor like form and they live at least 50 meters below the ocean’s surface. Their thorax is a silverish color that resembles the blade of a hatchet, which consequently inspired the name hatchetfish. Due to the deep depths they inhabit, it is very difficult for scientists to find these tiny and frightful little fish. These tiny fish measure between one to five inches long, so while they are not large in size they do make quite an impression because of their razor like appearance. The hatchetfish also has bioluminescent properties that helps it evade predators that lurk deep below in the ocean’s depths. If you want to see one for yourself, you will have to go deep sea scuba diving in the Pacific, Indian or Atlantic oceans.
The blobfish is another real life deep sea creatures that has a terrifying appearance. The blobfish is jiggly and floppy and its skin has the consistency of a bowl of jello. In fact, the blobfish was deemed the world’s ugliest animal in 2013. Are you wondering why the blobfish has such a flabby appearance? Its skin is nearly as dense as water which occurred over time due to the high water-pressure in the bottom of the ocean where it lives. One may assume that a lack of muscle tissue would be a disadvantage for the blowfish, but the blowfish actually makes meal time a piece of cake as it simply floats about and any sea critters it encounters quickly become its next meal. Now that’s easy eating!
#3 The Angler Fish
The angler fish is a fascinating and bizarre sea creature who has unusual predatory techniques. Its spine has the ability to grow a glowing fleshy mass that it flaunts and wiggles around as a lure to entice other sea creatures to come closer. Once in range, they quickly become the anglerfish’s next meal. This fish is carnivorous and comes in a range of colors from dark gray to dark brown. The anglerfish has a large head, a wide mouth, and enormous, long teeth ideal for attacking their prey. They vary in length from 2cm to 18cm although there are a few species that grow as large as 100cm long. Typically, female angler fish are much larger than male angler fish. Shallow-water anglerfish species are ambush predators and have the uncanny ability to effectively camouflage themselves as rocks, sponges or seaweed in order to attack their unsuspecting prey.
#4 The Goblin Shark
Number four on our list of fearsome ocean creatures is the goblin shark which is the sole survivor of a 125 million-year old family of sharks. Scientists have referred to the goblin shark as a “living fossil” on account of its long, flattened snout, protruding jaws and claw-like teeth. Not discovered until the 19th century, the goblin shark is rarely seen as they live in the lower depths of the ocean. They average in length between 3m and 4m long when mature, and some goblin sharks grow much larger. Goblin sharks make their home among upper continental slopes, submarine canyons, and seamounts of the ocean that are around 100m deep. In Japan, one goblin shark was removed from the ocean and taken to an aquarium where it unfortunately died shortly thereafter.
#5 The Fangtooth
Although the fangtooth has a frightening appearance, the truth is they are quite harmless. The fangtooth has poor eyesight so most meals are due to pure luck when it happens to bump into a careless victim. The fangtooth has the largest teeth of any fish in the ocean comparatively speaking. They live deep in the ocean around 16,400 feet beneath the sea which equates to 55 consecutive American football fields lined back to back. No doubt you will never be able to see this deep sea fearsome ocean creature up close and in person!
#6 The Flamingo Tongue Snail
The Flamingo tongue snail has a vibrantly patterned mantle tissue that appears as if it is a beautiful shell. The flamingo tongue snail lives in the Atlantic and Caribbean waters and feeds on toxic sea fans. Surprisingly, the toxic meal does not have the flamingo tongue snail because it has the ability to absorbs toxic venom and become a toxic creature itself. In the past, the flamingo tongue snail used to be a relatively common sight for scuba divers, but their numbers have dwindled as many scuba divers took them from the sea because of their beautiful coloring.
#7 The Sea Cucumber
The sea cucumber is our number 7 fearsome ocean creature. Did you know that the sea cucumber only has the same mental capacity as the cucumbers we eat in our salads? They lack a true brain or sensory organs, but are a vital part of the oceanic ecosystem. This is due to the fact that they can break down detritus and recycle any and all nutrients it encounters. Also, the sea cucumber is incredibly flexible due to its collagen levels and can wedge itself into tiny crevices in order to escape predators. One unsavory characteristic of the sea cucumbers is that it can contract its muscles and expel some of its internal organs out its anus in order to ward off predators. Doesn’t sound like the most pleasant defensive mechanism, but it does the trick as the sea cucumber has the ability to grow back any discarded internal organs.
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