Humans are creatures of the land, so it makes sense that we hardly know the ocean at all. Every other day, we hear about a new strange deep-sea creature being discovered by scientists, but the truth is we don’t even have to look that deep to find the weirdest and most peculiar looking ones. A lot of strange and odd sea creatures can be found in the shallow waters of:
- The Caribbean
There’s a lot more to the ocean than colorful fish and threatening-looking sharks. The dwellers of the ocean can be odd not only in the way the look, but also in the way the behave and hunt their prey.
So next time you go snorkeling on a holiday keep an eye out for some of these strange creatures living in the sea:
1. Clown Frogfish. This member of the frogfish family likes to keep a low profile, and their colorful look allows them to blend with their reef homes. Frogfish tend to display all sorts of patterns including stripes, spots, warts and textures that allow them to blend in with their surrounding rocks and plants.
2. Sea Pens. This polyp is named a sea pen because of its resemblance to the old-quills used before the advent of the ballpoint pen. Sea pens are actually clusters of polyps that life in the shape of a branch. They’re rooted to the seafloor by an anchoring bulb, which also works as a sanctuary for the colony when the branch part is threatened by predators.
3. Sea Cucumbers. These echinoderms grow up to 6 feet and they feed on tiny aquatic animals including algae and man-made waste. Sea cucumbers are a lot like the common earthworm; they take food particles and recycle them into food for bacteria. The most impressive thing about these little animals isn’t their look, but their peculiar defense mechanism: they can eject their internal organs and regenerate them later.
4. Anglerfish. The sage-looking fish with its saggy skin and gaping mouth is mostly known for how it feeds itself. Using a built-in rod attached to its head, it uses a lure located at the tip to attract unsuspecting small fish into its mouth.
5. Blob Sculpins. The blob sculpin is ugly both in appearance and in name, but it’s an unfair reputation. Sculpins are 2-foot-long shy fish who fiercely protect their young. Researchers have witnessed the way their males guard the nesting areas of their eggs at the bottom of some of the deepest oceans around the world.
6. Dumbo Octopus. It’s obvious how this big-eared octopus got its name. It’s only about 8 inches long, and it lives close to the floor of the ocean (sometimes up to 1,310 feet deep). The way they live is the cutest thing about these little guys: they have eight arms, but they are webbed so they function as swimming aids that help the flapping of their comically large ear-fins.
8. Giant Hatchetfish. This fish is actually no bigger than 5 inches long, but its impressive name is due to something else. It dwells in the deep sea, and it has a row of light-producing lights along the frame of its body. The organs glow and glimmer like the sunlight that gets dispersed through the water, which confuses predators that usually attack shadows swimming above them.
9. Red-Lipped Batfish. This lovely little creature has little fins that help it walk on the ocean floor. Their flattened bodies help them walk on their pectoral and pelvic fins. Like their cousin the anglerfish, the batfish has a built-in fishing rod snout equipped with retractable appendage to lure prey close to its lips.
10. Yeti Crab. Here’s where things get interesting. This crab is so strange and unusual that an entire new family of animals had to be created to classify it. This specimen was found at the bottom of a 7,540-foot-deep ocean and for many, the creature remains a mystery. It has hairy pincer arms that host colonies of bacteria, which it used for cultivating food, protection and sensors that help it find a mate.
12. Pinecone fish. This colorful little fish has a great weapon for finding food: natural headlights. Luminous bacteria live in two organs located on the fish’s lower jaw, producing a beam that shines a light on its next meal.
13. Ribbon Eel. The face of this eel comes with trumpet-looking nostrils and a lower jaw equipped with three tentacles. One of the most impressive things about this creature is its ability to change its own sex. Males usually become females and change color at will, going from a deep shade of blue to a more yellow color.
14. Flamingo Tongue Snail. This little snail almost looks computer generated against the backdrop of the reefs, but it’s actually fairly common in the Caribbean and Atlantic coral reefs. They feed on toxic sea fans, and instead of dying from poisoning, they adopt the fan’s poisonous quality. Their shell is completely white, and the reason for the colorful pattern is the animal living inside.
16. Leafy Sea Dragon. This flowery looking type of sea creature is related to seahorses, but they come with camouflage that make them indistinguishable from the plants that surround them. It has one moving part, an invisible fin that it uses to propel itself around the water.