The Most Fascinating Sea Creatures You Didn’t Know Existed

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Over 71% of the Earth is made up of Ocean, so it’s no surprise that a multitude of sea creatures have been living there for centuries. In the deep ocean, where no man can go, species of creatures have remained there for thousands of years, untouched by time.

Red Lipped Batfish

The Red Lipped Batfish, despite being a fish, is not a very good swimmer at all. He relies on his strong pectoral fins to help him walk across the ocean floor. His bright red lips allow for species distinction between other batfish, to avoid confusion during mating.

We really want to know where this fish buys his makeup, and how it stays on so well under water

Leafy Seadragon

If you ever come across this little guy, you might just dismiss him as a clump of seaweed floating by. The Leafy Seadragon has perfected the art of camouflage, and uses its leafy exterior to help him hide amount seaweed growing on the ocean floor. Depending on their diets and their environment, these creatures can range from brownish yellow to green.

A leafy seadragon floats gingerly through the crystal clear waters of Australia

Clown Frogfish

The Clown Frogfish might look cute and have a silly sounding name, but this creature is dangerous for his fellow sea creatures. This fish is a carnivore and feeds off of other fish, even ones close to his own size. He has an insanely fast striking speed, and an enormous mouth with which he can swallow his prey whole. These fish range greatly in color, depending on their environment. They can also change color in a number of weeks, in order to adapt to their surroundings.

An innocent looking clown fish waiting on the ocean floor

Giant Hatchetfish

Don’t be fooled by the name, the Giant Hatchetfish is the largest creature in his environment, but only grows to be about 4.3 inches in length. This fish lives in the Disphotic Zone (sometimes called the Twilight Zone) of the ocean, which is extremely deep and receives very little light. This fish is covered in bioluminescent photophores, which are organs on the outside of his body which produce a glow, which helps to camouflage him against the little bit of light that does reach his home.

The Giant Hatchetfish lives so deep in the ocean, barely any light reaches him at all

Axolotl

Isn’t this just the cutest little guy you’ve ever seen? This is the Axolotl, local to specific region of lakes in Mexico. This creature has a sort of superpower, where he is able to regrow any limp that has been cut off or damaged. The Axolotl is a carnivore, and feeds off of mostly worms and larvae. They can range in color from pale to black, but all of them have a permanent “smile” on their faces. Unfortunately, due to increased popularity of the creature, it has been oversold as a pet, and is now endangered.

This Axolotl is happy to see you...or maybe that's just how his face always looks

Pink See-Through Fantasia

You’re probably wondering what you are looking at here, and its mouthful of a name doesn’t clear things up. This is actually a type of sea cucumber, and all of its organs are visible from the outside (hence, see-through). This creature is bioluminescent, meaning it is able to give off light, and does so to scare away potential predators. These unbelievable creatures can only be found in a remote area of the western Pacific Ocean.

This might just be the most incredible and confusing looking creature we've ver seen

Squidworm

The Squidworm isn’t actually a squid at all, though it is technically a worm. The creature earned its name because of the tentacle-like appendages coming from its head which allow him to taste and smell underneath the water, therefore helping him to find food. This creature exhibits traits of both a free swimming and a seabed dwelling animal. It is not a predator, instead it uses it’s appendages to collect “marine snow”, which is a mix of microscopic plants and animals, fecal matter and mucus.

A squidworm is actually not a squid at all, though it does have a close resemblance

Marrus Orthocanna

This might look like one creature, but it is actually a siphonophore. What’s that, you ask? A siphonophore is a group of of zooids, some of which are polyps (like sea anemones) and some medusae (like jellyfish). That little orange burst you see at the tail end of the creature(s) is actually a pillow filled with gas, which helps it to stay buoyant in the water. The colony-creature is a carnivore, and eats krill and other small crustaceans.

This strange looking creature is actually a collection of multiple creatures stuck together floating around

Flamingo Tongue Snail

Unlike most snails, this marine mollusk’s shell is located underneath its skin, which has a beautiful color and a pattern similar to a giraffe. These sea snails can be found in the shallow coral reefs of the Caribbean and the southern Atlantic. Because that pattern is actually the animal’s skin, when it dies, all that is left is its apricot colored shell, which cannot be seen by anyone. Unfortunately, tourists have become infatuated with its shell, which they use for jewelry, so the snail is becoming endangered.

This snail looks like it is a close cousin of the giraffe

Blob Sculpins

You’ve probably seen this guy’s cousin all over the internet (the Blob Fish). This fleshy, slimy looking fellow lives in extremely deep waters, in almost complete darkness. Underneath the water this fish doesn’t look as blobby, as it’s excess skin is supported. The Blob Sculpin has a huge mouth, with big, fleshy lips that he opens whenever he’s hungry and eats whatever happens to flow in. He’s basically the opposite of a picky eater.

This poor guy is so ugly he's almost cute...well...almost

Yeti Crab

This crab is not like any other you’ve ever seen. The Yeti Crab earns its name from its white color and its hairy body. This crab is completely blind and lives near the thermal vents on the ocean floor, where hot water is let out into the water. Although their home is quite warm, the water surrounding it is freezing, so the crabs can usually be found in large quantities, huddled together for warmth. The hair that covers its body is actually a bacteria-filled “garden” where the crab grow its own food.

The yeti crab's name is a perfect fit, he actually looks like a crustaceous abominable snowman

Oarfish

This unimaginably long fish is probably the culprit for many “sea monster” encounters. The Oarfish is rarely seen by humans, so not too much is known about its behavior. Its home is at the bottom of the ocean, where there is no current, so the fish never really builds a muscle mass. If it is seen floating near the surface, it is most likely dead or dying. Its babies, however, hatch from their eggs and float on the surface eating zooplankton.

This fish is any sea serpent conspiracy theorist's dream

Lamprey

Are you terrified yet? If so, you can join the rest of the human race, from the beginning of our existence. Thee Lamprey is a parasitic, eel-like vertebrate with circular rows of teeth and a spiky tongue. The Lamprey is said to have been around since before even the dinosaurs, as fossils more than 360 million years old have been found which look exactly like the Lamprey we all know (and probably don’t love) today. These snake-like sea leeches can grow up to a meter in length.

The most terrifying sea creature we've ever seen


Gold Lace Nudibranch

This pretty little thing can be found in large quantities, but only in the water of the Hawaiian Islands. They grow to be only about 2 inches long, and carnivorously feed off of soft sea sponges, bristle worms, and other sea slugs. They are translucent in color, with gold swirling lines all across their bodies. They also have small white bumps called tubercules, and black and white spotted sensory organs protruding from its head.

Despite the picture, this little guy actually grows to about 2 inches

Scaly-Foot Snail

This is one of the baddest snails in the sea, as it builds its shell out of iron sulfide. Yes, it has an iron shell, that is built by bacteria who live on its surface. This snail lives on the ocean floor near the hydrothermal vents, where seawater is boiled by the Earth’s crust and reach temperatures 750 degrees F. The craziest thing about this guy is that he doesn’t actually eat. Instead, he relies on bacteria for sustenance through a process called Chemosynthesis.

This snail is super bad-ass, as he has an totally iron shell

Christmas Tree Worm

This worm is definitely feeling the Christmas spirit, all year round. The Christmas Tree Worm gets its name from the two cone shaped appendages on the worm’s back which serve as its “mouth” which traps prey and also allows the worm to breathe. When these worms reproduce, they shed their gametes (a reproductive cell) right into the water, where the eggs latch on to zooplankton so that they can be be carried by the water currents to other places.

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Sea Angel

This pretty little angel is actually a transparent sea slug, who has lost its shell overtime and developed flipper-like appendages which help it to swim freely around the water. Reminiscent of a hummingbird, the Sea Angel flaps it “wings” at a very fast speed of 1–3 Hz, allowing it to swim at a speed of up to 100 mm/s. These creatures are hermaphrodites, which means their eggs are fertilized internally, and then released out into the ocean to eventually hatch.

The majestic Sea Angel floating ominously in front of you

Munnopsis Isopod

The Munnopsis Isopod, although sea-dwelling, is a cousin of the wood louse and the pillbug. It lives on the ocean floor, where it spends most of its time eating anything and everything that happens to fall to the bottom (debris, plankton, dead animal parts, etc.); this guy is not a picky eater. Although it has an exoskeleton, it is a thin one and does not offer much protection. However, this creature does not have many predators, so he’s alright on his own.

This creepy crawly looking isopod is the cousin of the pillbug

Bioluminescent Octopus

This magnificent creature lives on the ocean floor in the deepest places of the sea, where there is very little light. Because of this, he is able to emit a bioluminescent blue-green light for about 5 minutes when stimulated. The reddish-brown translucent octopus has approximately 60 suckers on its 8, uneven tentacles. He tends to eat small to medium sized crustaceans (shellfish, crabs, lobsters, etc.) and is known for swallowing his food completely whole.

This beautiful octopus is able to light up the ocean floor with his tenticles

Holothurian

The Holothurian is better known as a Sea Cucumber, and can come in many shapes, sizes, and colors. This one happens to be translucent. There are actually around 1,700 different species of Sea Cucumber, and there are probably more to be discovered, seeing as they live very deep down on the floor of the dark ocean. Their diet typically consists of debris that they find on the ocean floor. Often times, they will aline themselves with the current, open their mouths, and let the food flow in.

A translucent sea cucumber swimming around freely

Dinochelus

During an initiative to research aquatic life in the Philippines, this lobster was dragged up from the depths, and given the name (loosely translated from Filipino) “The Terrible Claw Lobster.” The name is definitely fitting, as this lobster resembles Edward Scissorhands, with one terrible claw, and one really terrible claw. This lobster is actually translucent white, with splashes of red showing from the inside, concentrated around the antennae and tail.

We would like to avoid thinking about just how this lobster hunts for his prey

Sea Spider

Yes you read that correctly, the 8-legged stuff of nightmares can also be found down in the deep blue sea. Like the land spider, these sea arachnids have 8 legs (though some have been discovered with 10 and 12) and have tiny bodies relative to their limbs. Because the spider’s boy is so tiny, each of their muscles consist of only one single cell, surrounded by connective tissue. They also so small that they do not need any type of respiratory system.

A teeny tiny sea spider walks delicately on the ocean floor

Basket Star

The Basket Star is an amazingly intricate and complex creature. Much like a never-ending M.C. Escher painting, the Basket Star has 5 extremities, which each have their own branches, which each have their own branches, etc., etc. On the tips of each of these infinite arms are little hooks, which help them grab onto their prey. If the current happens to be to strong for the star that day, it will curl itself up, making itself more dense and resistant to being swept away.

The never ending basket star cling onto a rock to wait for his breakfast

Peters’ Elephantnose Fish

It doesn’t take a genius to see where this fish got his name. His long, trunk-like extremity sticking out of its face. This is actually not a nose, but rather an extension of its mouth with extra sensitive capabilities which assist the fish in self-defense, communicating, navigating, and finding bugs to eat. This fish is also covered with electroreceptors, which let off a weak electric field for echolocation purposes (navigation, fighting prey, mating, etc.).

This fish looks like a direct relative to an elephant, from his trunk (mouth) to his ears (fins)

Bell Jelly

The Bell Jelly is actually not a jellyfish, but a hydromedusa. They are typically much smaller than other jellyfish, and much less colorful. Bell Jellies have around 100 whispey tentacles and red spots which are used to see. These jellies are vertical migrators, which means they stay at the bottom of the ocean during the day, an come up to the surface after nightfall. One of their food finding tricks is to hop up from the ocean floor and stir up debris.

This smaller jelly likes to stay hidden and only comes to the surface at night

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