From predatory sea critters named for land animals — such as the Atlantic wolffish and the highfin lizardfish — to underwater beings that look truly otherworldly, like the hagfish and the faceless cask eel, what lives at the bottom of our oceans is kind of creepy.
Scroll down to learn about 16 unusual deep-sea creatures.
The blobfish was named the “world’s ugliest animal” in an online poll.
Named the “world’s ugliest animal” in an online poll conducted by a British organization called the Ugly Animal Preservation Society, the blobfish belongs to the fathead sculpin family — a group of fish that dwells in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans at depths ranging from 330 to 9,200 feet.
While most fish stay buoyant with the aid of a swim bladder, blobfish — whose bodies are less dense than water — utilize the ocean itself as a floating mechanism.
The most famous blobfish, Mr. Blobby, was discovered in 2003 off the coast of New Zealand and has inspired everything from plush toys to emoji. Preserved in ethyl alcohol, Mr. Blobby’s final resting place is at the Australian Museum in Sydney.
The Atlantic wolffish is a predatory species characterized by a mouth full of sharp, canine-like teeth.
Characterized by a mouth full of sharp, canine-like teeth, the Atlantic wolffish lives up to its lupine moniker. A predatory species that feeds on hard-bodied or spiny invertebrates like sea urchins and large marine snails, this creature is not aggressive towards humans unless provoked.
You’ll find the Atlantic wolffish, which can grow up to five feet long, in the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans. Preferring chillier water, it lives at depths ranging from 328 feet to 1,640 feet.
With its lengthy, eel-like body, this fish is also known as a wolf eel.
The vampire squid’s scientific name, Vampyroteuthis infernalis, means “vampire squid from hell.”
But the vampire squid, found in the inky depths of the mesopelagic zone (about 3,300 feet below the ocean’s surface), is gentler than its appellation indicates. Unlike its namesake, it doesn’t feed on blood. Instead, this creature subsists on “marine snow,” decaying organic material that falls to the ocean floor — kind of like the dead leaves that litter forests.
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