TOP TEN CREEPIEST FISH IN THE WORLD
As if sharks weren't enough to embed fear in the hearts of swimmers all over the world, there is an entire host of creepy creatures that somehow managed to make it into the 'fish' category. Each and every one featured has definitely earned its spot on this list of the top ten creepiest fish in the world!
10. The Viperfish
Last, but not least, on the top ten creepiest fish list is the viperfish. This toothy sea dweller is one of the most fierce predators of the deep. The fangs of a viper fish not only do not fit in its mouth, but they curve all the way back to the fish's eyes! The long dorsal spine of this fearsome looking creature is tipped with a photophore, a light-producing organ. Prey is thought to be attracted by the flashing on and off of this while the viperfish hangs motionless in the water.
Vipers have a hinged skull which they rotate up in order to swallow bigger prey. Their large stomachs can expand up to twice it's normal size allowing them to stock up on food when it is plentiful. Fortunately for us humans, a viperfish eats crustations such as shrimp and hermit crabs as well as anchovies, mackerel, and other little fish. Viperfish range from 12 to 24 inches weighing about 5 lbs. Even if they enjoyed the occasional toe or finger, you can rest easy knowing the vipers inhabit the sea at depths of 1500 to 9000 ft. Whew!
9. The Stonefish
Securing ninth place on the list of the top ten creepiest fish, the stonefish is clearly a master of camouflage. Does he look angry to anyone else? Believed to be the deadliest fish in the world, it is definitely the most venomous. Stonefish inhabit coral reefs primarily, but can also be found dormant in mud or sand in the Indo-Pacific region and northern Australian waters.
Though the diet of this unnoticeable creature consist of shrimp and small fish, it poses a threat to many more. A row of thirteen venomous spines line its back, protecting it from attacks by bottom-feeding sharks and rays. When pressure is applied to the spines, glands involuntarily expel venom in to victim. After a few weeks, the glands regenerate and recharge.
Stonefish are not harmful to us unless stepped on or caught. Wearing a thick soled shoe and treading lightly will help protect you, but the spines have the ability to pierce an average shoe easily! Once stung, excruciating pain and a great deal of swelling develops rapidly causing death to tissues. The depth of the penetration determines the severity of the symptoms which are; muscle weakness, temporary paralysis and shock, and death if not treated.
Watch your step!
8. The Basking Shark
I know what you're thinking, and no, the basking shark is not also referred to as the mother-in-law of the ocean. While the skeleton of a shark is made up of cartilage, unlike the bones of a fish, technically a shark is a fish. With that being settled, we can move on to what secured this beast the number eight spot on the top ten creepiest fish in the world list.
The basking shark is a classic example of why you should never judge a book by its cover. The fierce look of this monster is the only thing that qualified it for the top ten creepiest fish. In fact, the basking shark poses no threat to humans at all if left alone. Established to be the second largest species of shark, and found all over the world, weighing in at up to 19 tons and as much as 40 ft long. It is also one of the three known species of filter-feeding sharks. Unlike the other two filter-feeders, the basking shark does not have the ability to use suction and actively pump water in to their pharynxes. Instead it must rely solely on the passive flow of water, which is strained for food by gill rakers, at a rate of 2000 tons of water per hour. This heavyweight survives on invertebrates, small fish and zooplankton,
The basking shark was once a staple of fisheries because of previously abundant numbers, unaggressive nature, and slow swimming speed. In fact, basking sharks have been protected, and it's products restricted in many countries. Once considered a nuisance along the canadian Pacific coast, basking sharks were the target of a government eradication from 1945 to 1970. Now protected and monitored, they are an important draw to dive tourism in areas where they are common. Basking sharks are tolerant of boats and divers approaching, and may even circle curious divers.
7. The Blobfish
Ziggy thought he had it rough! This poor thing looks as though he was just shown a mirror! The fact that such things exist outside of cartoons earned the blobfish a solid spot on the top ten creepiest fish list! Aside from having a face only a mother could love, the blobfish has no muscles. They survive on a feeding strategy that consist of sitting and waiting for anything edible to float by. With Jelly-like flesh that is slightly lighter than water, they are able to float above the sea floor without the need to expend energy or scarce oxygen to swim.
The low density flesh substitutes for a gas-filled swim bladder fish in waters less deep possess. However, at 300 ft depths, the pressure is about 80 times higher than sea level, so any gas would be too compressed to serve it's purpose. Blobfish are rarely seen by humans due to the inaccessibility of its habitat.
Fine by me!
6. The Snakehead Fish
Number six on the top ten creepiest fish list is this eco-nightmare! Snakehead fish have the unique ability to survive in and out of water for long periods of time! Native to China, Russia, and Korea the snakehead fish found their way to the United States. Several of these predators were found in a pond in Crofton, Maryland leading to major media coverage. Considered to be highly invasive, the snakehead fish immediately become top of the food chain in US Lakes and ponds, and are illegal to own.
After inhabiting a pond or lake, they eat every living creature in it. Without discrimination, a snakehead will eat everything from plankton and insects, to carp and mollusks. Once the food sources have been depleted, they jump out of the water and travel to new nearby bodies of water eating frogs, mice, rats, and small birds along the way! Most snakeheads grow to be 2 or 3 ft and weigh more than 15 pounds. Without natural predators in their new environment, these invaders can degrade ecosystems, drive native fish to extinction, and cost billions of dollars every year for eradication.
Scarier still, is the reproduction rate of snakehead fish. Reaching sexual maturity between the ages of 2 and 3, each female can release up to 15,000 eggs at once and can mate up to five times a year! In just two years, each spawning-age female can release up to 150,000 eggs. I hope they taste good!
5. The Grenadier Fish
Coming in at number five on the top ten creepiest fish list is the grenadier fish. There will be no kiss and release with this guy! As luck would have it, grenadier fish are usually found just above the ocean floor. With huge heads, large eyes, and long tapering tails; grenadiers swim slowly over the sea bed, in search of prey or carcasses to eat. Usually about 2 ft long and weighing close to 10 lbs, this native of the atlantic can reach 4.9 ft and up to 60 lbs. On top of being one of the uglier fish in the ocean, grenadiers also have a very high level of TMAO giving them a powerful 'fishy' smell! Tic Tac anyone?
4. The Tigerfish
Whoa! How would you like to see number four on the top ten creepiest fish list come barreling at you? These African fish are found in many lakes and rivers on the continent. A relative of the piranha, tiger fish are savage predators with distinctive protruding teeth. Eating anything that will fit in its jaws, the tiger fish hides bank side to surprise its prey, up to its own size, with a fatal blow. While smaller fish are often bitten in half, larger targets will continue to be attacked until dead. An anticoagulant slime covers the teeth of tiger fish, preventing wounds inflicted from healing.
Generally growing to be 30 inches long, tiger fish weigh in at around 15 pounds. The largest ever caught was in Kariba in 1962, measuring 32 inches and weighing 34 pounds. For predators, tiger fish have a fairly low tolerance for poor water conditions. Spotting one is a good indication of clean water. Not much of a pro to that con in my book!
3. The Goblin Shark
With dental issues assuring the goblin shark made the top ten creepiest fish list, we are now to the top three! Goblin sharks are the sole living species in the mitsukurinidae family. Unique characteristics such as the long snout, being pink in color and having a retractable jaw distinguish the goblin shark from any other shark species. Though most common in Japan, this enigma of nature can be found all over the world at depths far below the reach of sunlight, up to 10,000 feet.
Squid, crab and deep sea fishes are among the favorite dining choices of the goblin shark. Though human encounters with them have been rare, there does not seem to be a threat to their populations. There is a demand by some collectors for the skeletal jaws of the goblin shark, which sell at a rate of $1,400 - $4000 US. On average, the illusive creatures measure up to 13 feet long and weigh in at 660 pounds.
2. The Angler Fish
Yikes! There little mystery to how this monstrosity took runner up as the creepiest fish in the world! Falling a hair short of number one, the top ten list was made effortlessly! Angler fish are named for their characteristic mode of hunting prey, wherein a fleshy growth (esca) from the fish's head is used as a lure, which is similar to angling.
Typically, angler fish have three long filaments sprouting from the center of their head. The longest usually being the first protruding above the fish's eyes, and is movable in all directions and can be wiggled so as to resemble a prey animal to other predators. Once close enough, the angler fish can devour these predators whole with jaws that are triggered automatically by contact with its tentacle.
Occurring worldwide, angler fish can be found in open water, deep sea, bottom dwelling, and on the continental shelf. Some of the deep sea anglers can emit light from their esca. Both jaws that extend around the circumference of the head are armed with bands of long pointed teeth, inclining inward, which can be depressed in a way that won't prevent an object from gliding toward its stomach, but will prevent it's escape from the mouth. Angler fish are also able to stretch their jaws and stomachs to an enormous size, allowing it to swallow prey up to twice the size of it's entire body.
Bottom dwelling anglers have arm-like pectoral and ventural fins preforming as feet, enabling the fish to walk along the ocean floor where it generally hides in the sand or amongst seaweed for camouflage in areas abundant with prey. Typically about a foot long, angler fish can reach over 3 ft and weigh in at up to 110 lbs! That's the size of most Rottweilers!
1. Vandellia cirrhosa
Drum roll please! The number one fish on the list of top ten creepiest fish in the world is the vandellia fish! Do not let his appearance fool you! The vedellia is one of the most feared fish in the world, and you are about to find out why! You are probably already sitting, but I am going to suggest that you cross your legs at this time. Ready for the horrific details? Here they are!
Native to the Amazon River basins in South America, the vandellia lives in freshwater streams. Also known as the toothpick fish, this small slender nightmare is only about 2.5 cm long and 3.5 mm wide. Scaleless and translucent, it is nearly impossible to see in the water. vandella gill covers are covered with short, sharp spines. Why, you ask?
Normally a parasite of other fish, the vandellia will taste surrounding water then follow any stream of nitrogenous waste excreted from gills of fish. Once the host is located, the vandellia swims up and under the gill, expands the spines on its own gills to hold it in place, and begins sucking the blood of the host gill, gnawing a hole to the blood vessels which usually proves fatal to its victim.
The vandellia is feared among natives because it is attracted to blood and urine, and if a bather is nude it will swim into an orifice; the anus, vagina, or even the penis and deeper in the urethra! It then erects its spines and feeds on the blood and body tissue as it would the gills of a fish! The vandellia is then almost impossible to remove except through an operation, usually involving the amputation of the area!
A more expensive option is the use of two plants, the Xagua and the Buitach apple which are inserted into the affected area. The combination of these two plants will kill and dissolve the vandellia. Generally, the pain causes shock and death in the victim before the vandellia can be removed.
Who's up for skinny dipping?
Now that you have taken a look at my votes for the top ten creepiest fish, are there any you think I missed or should have made the cut? Be sure to comment below and share YOUR creepiest fish in the world!