• A hairy frogfish. Image by Silke Baron / CC BY 2.0 (Flickr)Source: Flickr
The depths of the sea bring incredible life forms to our knowledge - but we think evolution made some wild choices here.
By
Chloe Watson

19 Feb 2016 - 3:24 PM  UPDATED 19 Feb 2016 - 6:02 PM

No doubt, the seas are the next frontier humans are trying to conquer. Over the years, numerous research crews have pulled some very unusual creatures from beneath the depths. Some are well-documented, others are new to science, but all are weird and wonderful.

1. Hairy striated frogfish

This startling creature (Antennarius striatus) gets its name from its long and narrow dermal spinules, which cover its entire body, resembling hair. These 'hairs' aren't just a strange affectation - they serve as an excellent form of camouflage, frequently changing colour to match surroundings.

2. Blob sculpin

Once named the world's most ugliest animal, blob sculpins (Psychrolutes phrictus) - often colloquially referred to as 'blobfish' - are famous for their unhappy appearance. However, their gelatinous body is actually useful for living in the deep sea, where the pressure is exceedingly high.

3. Red-lipped batfish

Found near the Galápagos Islands, this photogenic fish (Ogcocephalus darwini) is known for its bright red lipstick-like lips and for its rare ability to 'walk' on the ocean floor using the stubby pectoral fins.

4. Pink see-through fantasia

Even though its name makes you think of Disney movies and lingerie simultaneously, this rare sea cucumber (Enypniastes eximia) is a marvellous creature, and can live in ocean depths of 2,500 metres. As you can see, it's also translucent enough to see its digestive system.

5. Dumbo octopus

Named after its similarity to the adorable Disney elephant, the dumbo octopus (genus Grimpoteuthis) uses its ear-like fins to move slowly across the ocean floor. They are the deepest-living of all known octopuses.

 

6. Vampire squid

The bright blue eyes of the vampire squid (Vampyroteuthis infernalis) are the largest eyes in proportion to body size in the whole of the animal kingdom. Instead of ink, this squid ejects a sticky cloud of bioluminescent mucus when feeling threatened - and contrary to its name, the creature actually eats sea detritus, not blood.

7. Deep sea anglerfish

One of the more recognisable deep sea monsters, this freakish creature (Melanocetus johnsonii) featured as one of the minor antagonists in 'Finding Nemo'. Alongside their massive jaw and vicious fangs, female anglerfish use a luminous 'fishing rod' to lure in prey close enough to be snatched up.

8. Goblin shark

The goblin shark (Mitsukurina owstoni) uses its heavily pored snout to hunt its prey by detecting electric fields. The species can grow up to 3.9m in length and have been found off the coast of New South Wales and Tasmania, but don't worry - like the vast majority of sharks, these are not a threat to humans.

9. Christmas tree worm

Found amongst the depths of the Great Barrier Reef's Lizard Island, the Christmas tree worm (Spirobranchus giganteus) breathes and feeds through its spiral-like 'branches'. It lives as a recluse only emerging from its tube when feeling threatened.

10. Venus flytrap sea anemone

These anemones (Actinoscyphia aurelia) are named thus because of their striking resemblance to the Venus fly trap plant. The tentacles even function in a similar way, although they're used to capture sea detritus, rather than live prey.

What's your favourite weird sea animal? Tweet us at @SBS_Science or leave a comment on our Facebook page!