The depths of the ocean are one of the unexplored habitats of the world. Not much is known about life deep underwater, but sea explorers have made voyages into the vast region to find out. What they discovered are some of the most unusual beings imaginable. Many of these animals are so uncommon that it's lucky to to even snap a photograph to prove their existence.
The Dumbo octopus is named for its likeness to the Disney character, Dumbo the elephant. With prominent ear-like fins, it can be found at depths ranging from 1,300 feet to 15,000 feet below the water’s surface. The Dumbo octopus hovers above the sea floor while it hunts for food sources, which it then eats whole. More than 15 species of Dumbo octopus have been discovered thus far. (Source)
The megamouth shark is one of the rarest fish in the world. Known for its barrel-shaped mouth, a megamouth shark draws in water and filters out food, like crustaceans and shrimp. It spends its day drifting vertically up from 650 feet to about 50 feet from the water’s surface to hunt krill. The megamouth shark weighs 1,700 pounds on average and is about 16 feet long. It is normally seen in the Pacific Ocean near New Guinea, the Philippines and Japan. (Source)
First discovered in 2005, the Yeti crab was identified as a species of an entirely new scientific family. The blind deep-sea specimen has arms and legs covered in long, pale yellow hair. Its bizarre, hairy ligaments make it about 6 inches long. Most examples of this crab are found living at depths around 7,200 feet in areas where warm water seeps out of the sea floor. (Source)
The fangtooth fish is aptly named with long, pointed teeth constantly on display. It has the largest teeth relative to its size of any marine species. It is a carnivorous fish and uses its sharp teeth to feed on other fish, shrimp and crustaceans. The fangtooth fish is most commonly found between depths of 1,500 and 6,500 feet below the surface. (Source)
The frilled shark lives at depths between 300 and 4,500 feet below the water’s surface. This species is considered to be a living fossil and can be located worldwide, though sightings are relatively rare. The frilled shark is named so due to its six gills, which are surrounded by “frills” of skin. It is a slow-moving, solitary shark that feeds on small deep-water fish, squid and carrion. (Source)
The neocyema is a deep-water bobtail snipe eel. It is a vibrant orange-red in color and similar in looks to a larval eel. The neocyema has a long jaw, small teeth and small eyes. It is about six inches in length. Only four neocyema specimen have ever been recovered. (Source)
Note: This image is a likeness of a snipe eel.
BENTHIC COMB JELLY
The benthic comb jelly is believed to live at greater depths than any other comb jelly species (ctenophora) known to science. It was found in the Ryukyu Trench near Japan at a depth of over 21,000 feet. The benthic comb jelly flies like a kite with two long tethers attached to the sea floor while seeking out sources of food. (Source)
This image comes from the study documenting the discovery of the benthic comb jelly.
Vampire squids inhabit depths between 2,000 and 4,000 feet. The animal is reddish-brown in color and has large, saucer-shaped blue eyes. Unlike many squids, the vampire squid does not have defensive ink sacs. Instead, it expands its arms into a defensive posture and uses the light-emitting organs at the ends of its arms and fins to confuse predators. (Source)
The pyrosome has been called the “unicorn” of the ocean because its existence is improbable and its rarely been seen by humans. It's essentially a feeding colony made up of dozens (and in the case of the giant pyrosome, hundreds and maybe thousands) of life forms that come together to form a tube that's open on one end and closed on the other. The tiny creatures that form the pyrosome have the ability to clone themselves and intermesh their tissues, making the colony larger. Giant pyrosome reaching lengths of up to 60 feet have been spotted. For food, the pyrosome takes in plankton-rich water through its open end, then filters out the micronutrients. Pyrosome are also able to produce a bioluminescent light.(Source)
Next: Rare Deep-Sea Fish Recorded!
The Pacific viperfish has jagged and needlelike teeth that are so large it cannot close its mouth. It is normally about 8 inches in length. The Pacific viperfish has been found at depths up to 13,000 feet below the water’s surface. It lures its prey with bioluminescent photophores on its stomach. (Source)