These nine deep sea fish might be the most bizarre creatures in the sea.
To survive the dark and scarce world at the bottom of the ocean, these fish have developed some truly bizarre features: light-producing organs, rows of sharp jagged teeth, protracting jaws, and in the case of #5, the most horrific mating ritual of any animal on the planet. They all look like they belong in a sci-fi movie or a bad nightmare.
Take a moment to see and learn about the frightening fish that dwell deep down in the dark abysses of the Earth’s oceans – in places far beyond the reach of any sport angler.
Click through the slideshow to view nine bizarre deep sea fish.
The devilish-looking dragonish lives in depths between 3,280 ft. to 9,842 ft. These deep-sea fish are well-adapted to the harshness and scarcity of deep ocean environments. Dragonfish have developed light- producing organs known as photophores along their bodies, lower jaws and pectoral fins. They use the photophores to attract prey, which they snap up with their sharp-tooth lined jaws. We wouldn’t want to run into this one in the dark.
Pacific Viperfish are named for their viper teeth and snake-like bodies. Viperfish live as far down as 16,404 ft., where food is scarce. They’ve adapted by growing light-producing organs on their dorsal fins, which they use to attract prey.
One look at gulper eel’s massive jaw and mouth and you’ll understand why it’s also known as the pelican eel. Their mouths are wide and deep, and their jaws are loosely hinged – a combination that allows them to swallow large catches. Gulper eels also have stomachs that can expand to accommodate meals that are much larger than their body.
Anglerfish take the cake for the creepiest fish in the ocean. They’re known as anglerfish because of the light producing lure that hangs from their head, which they use to draw in prey. Anglerfish have an-all around sinister appearance, with their jagged teeth and beady eyes. But the creepiest aspect to these deep sea creatures is the way they reproduce: The males permanently merge their bodies to female partners by biting into their bellies. Eventually, the male’s eyes and fins atrophy, and the pair become a living, breathing unit. The males then provides sperm to the female in exchange for nourishment from her blood. What a charmer.
Biologists have deemed the goblin shark a living fossil. It comes from a family of sharks that’s nearly 125 million years old. The goblin sharks’ most distinguishable feature is its long snout and protractible jaws, which can extend in and out to catch prey. Their jaws are lined with rows and rows and sharp elongated teeth. Goblin sharks are most commonly found at depths below 330 ft.
The giant squid is the stuff of maritime legends. Their biggest parts are their long powerful tentacles. You may have heard stories about giant squids taking down boats by wrapping their tentacles around ships’ hulls. Those stories are probably myths, but giant squids can grow to enormous sizes – up to 43-feet for females and 33 feet for males. Giant squid are seldom seen by humans, but a few have been spotted in the wild.
Imagine if those pill bugs you found in your garden were big enough to bite your hand off. That’s pretty much what the giant isopod is. These bizarre bug-like creatures are deep sea scavengers that roam the sea floor at depths ranging from 560-7,020 ft. Their diet includes dead whales, fish, squid, sponges, sea cucumbers nematodes and other bits.
The frilled shark is a rare shark with bizarre prehistoric features. It has a strange eel-like shape, six pairs of gill slits and several rows of small sharp teeth. The frilled shark is scarcely found in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans – usually dwelling at depths between 160ft. to 660ft. The frilled shark is rumored to have a larger cousin, which could explain sea serpent sightings in ancient lore.
Fangtooth fish are small creatures with big sets of chompers. Fangtooth fish are some of the deepest-dwelling fish in the world. They usually live at depths between 660 ft. to 6,560 ft., but some have been found as far down as 16,400 ft.