Creatures of the Deep

I have always been interested in what lurks in the dark depths of our oceans and wish I could have been there when pioneers of deep sea exploration, William Beebe & Otis Barton, first set eyes on the nightmarish and brilliantly luminous creatures that reside there. Although, I would prefer something a little more comfortable and safe than the bathysphere. In the spirit of Halloween I thought I’d introduce you to some of the scarier animals discovered in the deep.

Some of the ugliest looking animals around are the giant isopods. These deep sea scavengers, are on average  anywhere from 20 to 30cm but the largest found was a disgusting 76cm! They are crustaceans related to the roly-poly pillbug which you might be familiar with, and just like the roly-poly they too can role up into a ball to protect their vulnerable underbelly.

Wikimedia Commons: The bathysphere, effectively a 1.5m diameter steel sphere with a 125-watt searchlight that hangs from a ship. William Beebe on the left, Otis Barton on the right.

The fangtooth fish may look lethal but is actually harmless to people, reaching a maximum length of only 18cm. The fangtooth, otherwise known as the ogrefish, can be found as deep as 5000m. They have the largest teeth relative to body size for any fish, with two sockets set on either side of their brain for their teeth to slip into when they shut their mouth.

Wikimedia Commons: User:Borgx

The aptly named blobfish is a local Australian horror from the deep. They can grow as large as 30cm. Very little is known about the blobfish but the species is feared to be under threat from deep sea trawling vessels which continue to drag up these guys up from the depths. Blobfish lack muscle and are slightly less dense than water, allowing them to float around above the ocean floor as ambush predators.          Wikimedia Commons: Citron

The Blobfish, Wikimedia Commons.

There are many more creepy creatures that are well worth learning a little about. For a quick run through this youtube video is pretty good. The Pacific barreleye fish is really strange!