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Really Weird Sea Creatures
Explore the Freakishly Bizarre
The greatest wonder of this planet is the diversity of its life forms. So numerous that we have yet to identify most of them. The ocean, perhaps the most diverse and the least understood of all ecosystems, contains creatures so bizarre, so unusual and so truly amazing that even the minds imagination has a hard time conceiving of them.
This lens will take you on a journey, down into the deepest depths of the ocean where some of the most unusual creatures will be revealed.
The Giant Isopod
photo source: www.perhapanauts.com/blog/2008/08/dewitt-chup.
One of the largest members of the crustacean family, the prehistoric looking giant isopod, lives all over the world at depths of up to 6,000 feet.
It feasts on the dead and decaying bodies of fish and other marine life that float down to the seabed floor. The giant isopod is not just a harmless scavenger however, it is also known to hunt and its complex mouth parts are designed to shred, pierce or disembowel anything worthy of being its next meal.
When threatened, the giant isopod will roll itself up into a ball much like its closely related cousin the pillbug. Once in a tight ball, its thick amour plated shells protect it. Giant isopods can grow as large as 16 inches in length
Watch a Shrimp Launch a Mini Nuclear Blast to Stun its Prey - You gotta check it out!
The pistol shrimp seems insignificant but this little guy packs a mean punch. When it snaps its claws, it creates a cascade of bubbles which momentarily reach the temperature of the sun. This causes a sonic shockwave that stuns its prey
The Vampire Squid - my personal favorite!
photo source: www.mbari.org/twenty/VARS.htm vampire squid
The Vampire Squid is a tiny (6 inches) cephalopod that lives at depths ranging from 2,000-3,000 feet or more. At such great depths, there is very little oxygen. So little that most organisms would not survive. The Vampire Squid is able to live and breathe normally in this oxygen depleted environment as it has a low metabolic rate and blue blood which binds and transports oxygen more efficiently than in other cephalopods. In addition it has gills with a very large surface area.
The Vampire Squid has the largest eye relative to its size of any living organism allowing it to detect even the faintest of movements. It can also generate its own bluish light (bioluminescence) which effectively "cloaks" its presence from any watchful eyes that might be lurking below it.
Bioluminescence can also be used to ward off would be predators. If threatened, instead of ink, a sticky cloud of bioluminescent mucus containing blobs of blue light is ejected from the arm tips. This confuses would-be predators and allows the Vampire Squid to disappear into the blackness without the need to swim far. Another response it has when threatened, is to invert itself, making it appear much larger and allowing it to show off some fearsome looking spines. These spines (called cirri) are actually harmless. In this inverted position, its vital organs are protected and if a predator bites off an arm,the squid can just regenerate it.
The Vampire Squid is also covered entirely in light-producing organs called photophores (see above). With these photophores, the squid can produce disorienting flashes of light for fractions of a second to several minutes in duration.Unlike it counterparts in more shallow depths, the vampire squid cannot change its colors to match its surroundings. This adaptation is unnecessary in the pitch blacks depths where it lives.
Get Up Close and Personal - Learn to SCUBA dive and see them LIVE!
If you want to learn to SCUBA dive, I would recommend PADI. Check out the link below for more information
- Learn To SCUBA Dive
PADI is the world's leading scuba diving training organization. With more than forty years experience and 5300 dive shops and resorts worldwide, PADI training materials and services let you experience scuba diving from nearly anywhere.
The Deep Sea Angler
photo source: www.lifeinfozone.com/.../
This ferocious (and ferociously ugly) looking fish, known as the deep sea angler (Melanocetus johnsoni), is actually quite tiny in size, reaching a maximum length of only about five inches. As its name would imply, the deep sea angler can be found at depths of over 3,000 feet. Like many other deep sea fish, the angler has a long modified dorsal spine which has a light producing organ at its tip. Light producing organs are called photophores. It uses this light producing organ to attract its prey but flashing its light off and on while waving it back and forth. When prey get close, the angler fish snatches it up.
BIZARRE BUT TRUE: The male deep sea angler (shown in the top photo) is much smaller and different in appearance than the female (shown in the bottom photo). The male has small hook like teeth which it uses to attach itself to the female. Once attached it becomes more like a parasite than a mate, by linking its blood vessels to those of the females. The male stays attached to the female in this manner for life and will starve to death if it is unable to attach to a female. A female may have more than one male attached to it at a time as well.
Unique Adaptations of the Deep Sea
Learn Some Cool Biology
Marine organisms that inhabit the mid sea and the deep sea have special adaptations to cope with conditions such as little to no light, freezing temperatures, limited oxygen and high pressure.
Most organisms have a decreased metabolic rate, breathing slower than their counterparts closer to the surface of the sea. This allows the organism to conserve energy, living longer on the food they do find and consume. Diets are unspecialized and organisms generally consume whatever may fall to the ocean floor rather than waste energy to hunt and find food.
Many deep sea creatures have elongated bodies and watery weak muscles and bones. Many have hinged jaws and recurved teeth. Some have large and expandable stomaches to hold food larger than themselves, should they happen upon it. Because of the difficulty in finding a mate, many are hermaphrodites (both male and female at the same time).
Due to the lack of light at such great depths, many fish have smaller than normal eyes and more well developed olfactory organs (smell). The further down you go, the more useless eyes become and fewere than 10% at the deepest levels can even detect light. There are exceptions to this rule however, squids which lack olfactory organs alltogether, have very large and well developed eyes.
Most deep sea creatures also utilize a camouflage technique called bioluminescence. This is where the fish or other organism produces its own light from photophores (a photophore is a light emitting organ which appears as luminous spots. It can be simple or complex, equipt with lenses, filters,shutters and color filters) which lie on its ventral side. Therefore when a potential predator is looking up at it, it appears to blend in with the shadows streaming down from above.
* The temperature of almost all of the deep ocean is only a few degrees above
freezing, 39 degrees Fahrenheit.
* At the deepest point in the ocean the pressure is over eight tons per square inch,
or the equivalent of a person supporting about fifty jumbo jets.
The Lions Mane Jellyfish
photo source: www.marlin.ac.uk/imgs/o_cyacap.jpg
The Lions Mane jellyfish is like all other sea jellies in that it lacks bones, cartilage, a heart, blood, and even a brain. It's made up of 95% water and its length can vary from five inches to eight feet wide. As a youngster, the Lion's Mane starts out as pink and yellow and as it matures it turns dark red with brown or yellowish brown.
Like most jellies, the Lion's Mane is a predator - it stalks, pursues catches, kills and eats other living creatures such as fish, plankton and even other sea jellies. The Lion's Mane has invisible tentacles which are loaded with millions of small stinging cells called nematocysts. The tentacles are grouped into eight clusters and they can have as many as 1,000 tentacles! When a fish contacts the tentacles, paralyzing venom is injected into the innocent victim. This venom is toxic and could potentially be fatal to humans if enough is absorbed by the body. Only one reported death by this type of sea jelly has been reported however. Most encounters cause only temporary pain and localized redness.
The Lion's Mane can be found in the frigid waters of the arctic and northern Atlantic usually at greater depths and out in the open sea.
Learn More - Marine Biology is Truly Fascinating
Great basic book for learning about shark biology (body structure, teeth and jaws, senses, life history, etc) and the interactions between sharks and people, both good and bad.
This book gives a superb account of marine monsters and their attendant myths, sightings, scientific discovery and biology.
This fascinating DVD surveys numerous underwater creatures from jellyfish, sea anemone, starfish, squid, and octopus, to various insects to reveal the diversity and complexity of invertebrates.
A incredibly stunning collection of more than 160 color photos of and notes about bizzare deep sea creatures.
The Goblin Shark
photo source goblin shark dsc.discovery.com/sharks/goblin-shark.html
As you can see from looking at this shark, its most distinctive feature is its trowel shaped beak like snout which is much larger than others sharks. It also differs from other sharks in that the color of its body is mostly pink. The pink coloration is due to blood vessels underneath a semi-transparent skin (which bruises easily), thereby causing the coloring. The most bizarre feature, however, is its jaw which is can sort of eject out of its mouth.
The Goblin Shark is a deep-water shark usually found near the sea bottom, at depths of around 250 m. The deepest specimen ever caught was found at 1,300 m. Due to the absence of light in its habitat, it does not hunt by sight but by using electro-sensitive organs in its snout.
Once a Goblin Shark finds its prey, it's protruding jaws juts out and snaps. (you can see this in the video, its cool!). It's tongue-like muscles then suck the victim into its sharp front teeth. It's known prey include deep-sea rockfish, cephalopods (squid and octopi) and crustaceans ( crabs and lobsters).
Most Goblin Sharks that have been caught have been caught off the coast of Japan. They have a wide distribution though and are found throughout the Pacific and Atlantic, off the coasts of Australia and New Zealand and even the Gulf of Mexico.
Check This Freakish Shark Out On Video
The video is in Japanese, however, its the visual that counts. You can actually see the sharks ferocious mouth detach and clamp onto something the diver is holding.
The Blob Fish - Attractive Huh?
photo source: ctherkelsen.blogspot.com/2008_12_01_archive.html
The Blobfish, as you can see, looks like a gooey gelatinous blob as it has relatively little to no muscle mass. Its density is slightly less than water which allows it to float just above the sea floor at extreme ocean depths where the pressure is several dozen times greater than that at sea level.
Because it is found at such inaccessibly great depths off the coasts of Australia and Tasmania, the blobfish is rarely seen by humans.
Its gelatinous nature does not appear to be a disadvantage as it gulps up anything edible that floats in front of it.
Here's a Final Few Strange Creatures....
Check out the angler fish in action, the dead mans crab, the worlds smallest sharks and more!