From river monsters that can stab you to angels that are actually carnivores, here are 9 of the strangest aquatic creatures on the planet.
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9. Lyre-Tail Pleco
While this fish might look like an alien it is actually a species of armored catfish native to the Colombian Amazon and Orinoco basins. With it’s feathered face and gills, fins that look like wings, spines, and enormous size, these fish look like real river monsters! These Lyre-Tail Plecos (Acanthicus hystrix) are usually black or dark brown but sometimes white ones have been found which may be albino.
8. Bumphead sunfish
In 1996, scientists captured the heaviest bony fish that they’d ever found; it clocked in at an astounding 5,070 pounds. At first, they weren’t sure what species this creature was, but they later classified it as Mola alexandrini - also known as a bumphead sunfish - a creature that had never been seen before. For a long time everyone thought this fish was the Mola Mola but it was a new species!
7. Frilled shark
The frilled shark is a strange-looking prehistoric shark that lives deep in the ocean. Only 2 species of this shark have been discovered and it has changed little in the 80 million years it has been around, so scientists call them ‘living fossils’.
6. Diamond Squid
When a scuba diver was exploring off the coast of Australia, he spotted a massive long thing that looked like a slinky and glowed in the dark!! While it sort of looks like a pyrosome, there was something more to it. What was this enormous thing? A sea monster? Turns out, it’s not actually an animal! Instead, when scientists looked closer, they determined that this sea slinky was actually a gigantic collection of eggs from a species of squid that scientists don’t know much about - the elusive diamond squid.
5. Sea Angel
Sea angels are proof that the ocean is unbelievably mysterious and full of things we can barely even imagine! These floating sea angels can be found all over the world in cold waters, but even when you see it with your own eyes, it still almost doesn’t look real!
These creatures look like something out of a fantasy novel, but they’re actually a type of sea snail, which is a strange and wonderful class of animals.
4. Deepsea Lizardfish
When scientists were looking for different kinds of sea creatures off the coast of eastern Australia, they certainly weren’t expecting to find the deepsea lizardfish, which turned out to be the most deep-living predator in the world! The technical name is Bathysaurus ferox, which translates to “fierce deep-sea lizard”.The deepsea lizardfish is downright terrifying, and they have the appetite to prove it.
This creepy, fascinating thing is not a squid and it’s not a worm! But what is it? About a decade ago, scientists discovered a new species that they dubbed Teuthidodrilus. They first discovered this strange-looking creature in the Celebes Sea, between Indonesia and the Philippines, between 9,200 feet and 9,500 feet deep (2,800 to 2,900 meters).
2. Halitrephes Massi jellyfish
What’s going on with the Halitrephes Massi jellyfish? If you take a look at it, it looks more like a psychedelic poster than a real, living animal. But I promise it’s real! Researchers recently took video of this strange jellyfish swimming through the waters around Baja California, Mexico, at about 4000 feet below the water. The team who captured this video said that its movement is like a bunch of “deep sea fireworks” moving through the jellyfish’s body.
1. Gulper eel
The gulper eel, also known as the pelican eel, is one of the strangest animals in the world! They’re named gulper eels because of their gigantic mouths, which can open up in a way that’s strangely similar to a pelican. And they can change their shape in a flash! Like other strange ocean creatures, you’ll find gulper eels swimming between some 1,600 to 10,000 feet below the surface of the sea.
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