According to UNESCO, we have only explored 5% of the oceans, meaning there is a whopping 95% that we know nothing about. This probably explains why, every once in a while, scientists and explorers run into unknown or strange creatures. This article highlights some of the strangest animals ever discovered in the oceans.

1. Giant Siphonophore

A giant siphonophore is a unique bioluminescent creature that turns blue when it hits something. An adult siphonophore has several working parts measuring up to 40m long and with varying duties. For instance, one segment is responsible for swimming, and another is responsible for reproduction.

While the giant siphonophore has occasionally been found off the coasts of Iceland in the North Atlantic and Chile in the South Pacific, the species mainly inhabit the mesopelagic to bathypelagic zones. This translates to 700 meters (2,300 feet) to 1000 meters (3,300 feet) below sea level.

2. Red-lipped Batfish

Sometimes referred to as the Galapagos Batfish, the red-lipped batfish has red lips that make it seem like it’s wearing lipstick. It has limbs-resembling fins that it uses to “stand and walk” along the ocean floor. Red-lipped batfish are closely related to rosy-lipped batfish and are not good swimmers. They are mainly found around the Galapagos Islands and off Peru at depths of 3 to 76 meters (10 to 249 feet).

3. Anglerfish

Anglerfish are deep-sea dwellers with “mean-looking” appearances; they have ferocious teeth and a tip protruding from the snout, which casts a glowing light. The fish uses the light to attract curious prey. Anglerfish can be found worldwide, with some being pelagic (they live away from the ocean floor) while the rest being benthic (they live closer to the ocean floor).

4. Sea Pig

Sea pigs are named so because they almost resemble the land-based animals with the same name. They are pink and spend most of their time on the muddy sea floor looking for dead animals and algae. Sea pigs live in deep ocean bottoms, especially in the abyssal plain in the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans. They thrive in depths over 1,200 to 5,000 meters (3,900 to 16,400 feet).

5. Japanese Spider Crabs

The Japanese spider crabs are the biggest marine crab species in Japanese waters. They also have the largest known leg span (about 3.7 meters) of any arthropod. Natives call them “taka-ashi-gani,” loosely translating to the tall legs crab. Despite their huge appearances, Japanese Spider crabs are relatively harmless. They move across the sea floor, eating dead animals.

6. Frilled Shark

Scientifically known as Chlamydoselachus anguineus, frilled sharks are shark species that are frilled, making them resemble giant eels. Sometimes referred to as the lizard shark, a frilled shark swims like an eel and can grow up to 7 feet long. Frilled sharks have been around for about 80 million years and are often considered living fossils. Unlike other shark species, frilled sharks feed their prey whole.

7. Squidworm

Squidworm was first discovered in 2007 by a group of researchers from the Census of Marine Zooplankton. This fish resembles a worm but has protruding tentacles like a squid. It swims very deep in the waters and is rarely seen on the earth’s surface.

8. Vampire Squid

The vampire squid is neither a squid nor an octopus; scientists categorize it as a cephalopod. It was named vampire because of its dark red eyes that sometimes turn blue depending on the lighting. Vampire squids mainly inhabit the mesopelagic zone, where there is no light.

9. Leafy Sea Dragon

The Leafy Sea Dragon is a unique creature with fins resembling leaves, which helps them camouflage; the fins look like drifting seaweeds. These creatures feed on prey by creating pressure around their mouth. Just like seahorses, leafy sea dragons swim around with fertilized eggs.

10. Wobbegong

One can easily mistake the Wobbegong for a carpet that fell from a shipwreck. It is a carpet shark with a broad and long body. On the front, it has a frilly beard that enables it to camouflage with the sea bed and has extraordinary eyes.

The name wobbegong is believed to have originated from the Australian Aboriginal language – it means “shaggy beard,” probably referring to the creature’s growth around the mouth. Wobbegong mainly inhabits the shallow temperate and tropical waters of the western Pacific Ocean and the eastern Indian Ocean.

11. Goblin Shark

The Goblin shark is the shark version of a swordfish. It has a long snout that comes in very handy when hunting prey. Its unique feature, however, is that it can’t fit all its teeth inside its mouth. Therefore, even with its mouth closed, some teeth of the Goblin shark are still visible. Goblin sharks’ jaws extend very wide, allowing them to feed with ease. Unlike most shark species, goblins are relatively slower swimmers.

12. Giant Squid

The Giant Squid isn’t just terrifying; its behavior remains a mystery. Unlike most marine life, giant squids never swim to the surface or beaches. Scientists have to rely on carcasses to learn about these animals, which are sometimes swept ashore. They can grow to 43 feet long and have gigantic eyes that can reach a diameter of about 10 inches.

13. Sea Angel

Sometimes referred to as “sea butterflies,” sea angels are unique sea slug species often confused with jellyfish and other similar creatures. They have wing-like structures that enable them to swim better, and they specifically feed on Clione limacine, a shelled pteropod species.

Sea angels can be found in cold and temperate waters worldwide. However, they are not easy to spot because they live in the midwater zone, about 2,000 feet (600 meters deep).

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Animals & Plants, Science,

Last Update: May 3, 2024