By Bram ‘Crowley’ Stoker
There’s loads of bizarre and scary-looking fish and critters underwater that – even when they’re completely innocent – most individuals wouldn’t wish to meet, particularly on a night-dive, if you’ve grow to be separated out of your buddy, and the battery in your flashlight is failing quick, and also you begin listening to the opening strains of The Twilight Zone beneath your hoodie. Keep in mind: underwater, no one can hear you scream.
Nicely, okay, in the event you shout loudly sufficient then sure, you may be fairly simply heard underwater, truly. However simply think about it’s Hallowe’en. Right here’s some underwater critters that may on the very least put you off your dinner, in the event that they go bumping into you on the evening dive…
Deep sea anglerfish
The time period ‘anglerfish’ covers a lot of totally different species, all of whom have one factor in widespread: a bioluminescent lure that they will swing from the highest of their heads to draw their prey, earlier than sinking in a set of gnashers that may impress even Dracula. Undoubtedly a case of getting a face that ‘solely a mom might love’, and effectively – it must be a mom, as a result of mates are exhausting to search out within the inky blackness of the deep sea.
In reality, so deep-sea relationship is so troublesome that the females of some anglerfish species kind a really shut, lifelong bond with the males. So shut, the truth is, that the male’s head is completely fused into the feminine’s physique, successfully turning him into a conveyable sack of nuts. Who stated romance was useless?
Not a lot a scary fish however positively an unpleasant fish. Whoever gave the blobfish its identify was maybe a bit bit lazy, presumably a bit bit imply, however positively scientifically correct. Psychrolutes marcidus lives between 600-1,200m close to the seafloor the place to be truthful, they give the impression of being so much much less blobby than they do up right here.
They by no means go to the floor (with a face like that, who would?), however they’re generally by chance introduced up as bycatch and their gelatinous our bodies – like plenty of different fish – can’t deal with gravity.
Voted ‘World’s Ugliest Animal’ in 2013.
The very strange-looking frilled shark (Chlamydoselachus anguineus) is likely one of the oldest surviving species of shark within the water – and subsequently among the many oldest animals to have ever inhabited the planet – with some estimates relationship the species to round 150 million years. That’s twice as outdated because the final dwelling dinosaur (that we all know of), and 149.9 million years older than people.
The frilled shark is discovered from the poles to the Equator in each the Atlantic and the Pacific, and whereas it positively appears to be like bizarre and only a wee bit scary, it isn’t considered in any respect harmful.
On the lookout for all of the world like a large woodlouse, however orders of magnitude nastier, big isopods are a bunch of crustaceans comprised of no less than 20 particular person species. Evil in look if not by nature, they thrive in chilly, deep water, and vary in measurement from 5cm and upwards. The biggest mannequin, Bathynomus giganteus (pictured above), can attain as much as 76cm in size and weighs in at near 2kg.
Simply out of curiosity, woodlice are, the truth is, crustaceans, not bugs, and subsequently B. giganticus is a distant relative – as are shrimp, crabs and different underwater shelled creatures.
Now that you realize this, you’ll by no means unsee the image above, and a picture of the large isopod and its little woodlouse pal will pop into your head each time you order prawns, or crack right into a lobster.
The weird-looking goblin shark was found close to Yokohama, Japan, and takes its widespread identify from the Japanese phrase tenguzame, a creature of Japanese mythology much like the goblins of western mythology and – effectively – as a result of it appears to be like like a goblin.
Mitsukurina owstoni is, just like the frilled shark, one of many oldest dwelling species of fish within the water, coming in at round 125 million years outdated. The elongated ‘nostril’ offers it a reasonably evil look, and at as much as 3m lengthy, it’s most likely finest to not encounter one whereas evening diving, because the diver within the film above found when one lunged in for a fast nibble. The jaws lengthen significantly when it feeds, including to the fairly scary, nightmarish look.
‘The Factor’ is an unknown species of polychaete worm that’s sometimes sighted within the Caribbean islands of Curaçao, Bonaire and St Lucia, and is listed in fish ID books merely as ‘The Factor’. It’s most likely a relative of the creature pictured above which is the Australian model and referred to as the Bobbit worm.
They are saying an image tells a thousand phrases however what this one doesn’t inform is the story of the thousand legs. These big worms search for all of the world like big centipedes however reaching over 2m in size and with infinitely extra appendages. They’re so uncommon that there aren’t many footage on the web, however you could find some close-up pictures of The Factor in St Lucia on this article.
Nearly as unusual because the Bobbit worm’s bizarre look, its scientific identify is Eunice aphroditois. On condition that Aphrodite is the goddess of affection, it appears seemingly that whoever named it was taking the mickey, or had been within the pub waaaaay too lengthy.
A fish as deserving of its identify as it might be had it been given a starring position in an underwater model of Recreation of Thrones. Dragonfish are a bunch of aggressive deep-sea predators, and the very bizarre and scary- trying Sloane’s viperfish (Chauliodus sloani, pictured above) is the present world-record holder for tooth-to-body measurement of any dwelling fish recognized to science, so massive that the fish is unable to correctly shut its mouth.
It hunts by opening its jaws and speeding at its prey, impaling its dinner in a lot the identical approach as any first rate horror film hero impales the undead. Fortuitously, it lives very deep within the ocean and solely grows to round 30cm – however one chunk is all it takes…
Wolves look sleek, highly effective, lovely and majestic. Wolf eels don’t.
Rising to round 2.5m in size, Anarrhichthys ocellatus is generally innocent to people, though just like the extra widespread moray eels, in the event you poke round in its den, you’re going to lose no matter you’re poking with. Resident of the cooler waters of the North Pacific, wolf eels usually mate for all times, take up residence in a small cave and take turns guarding their eggs as the opposite grownup goes foraging for crustaceans and shellfish.
Fairly a family-oriented form of fish, actually, and in no way scary. Simply comes up a bit quick within the division of fairer options.
No round-up of Hallowe’en-themed bizarre and scary-lookinh aquatic life could be full with out the vampire squid. In contrast to different species that sound harmful however have deceptively boring scientific names,Vampyroteuthis infernalis fairly actually interprets as ‘the vampire squid from hell’.
The identify may be a bit undeserved, nonetheless, because it doesn’t have fangs, the spines on the underside of its tentacles are innocent and it doesn’t suck blood. Probably whoever named it had been up a bit late studying Bram Stoker novels with a tad an excessive amount of absinthe.
A nightmare on YOUR road
If there was one factor that human beings ought to worry most about our oceans as we speak, it’s not toothy, bitey, scary fish or bizarre and ugly monsters, though – severely – after the isopod you’re by no means going to have a look at a prawn cocktail the identical approach once more.
No, if there’s one factor to be afraid of, it’s not the creatures which can be dwelling below the waves, it’s the monstrous creation that’s killing them en masse. Plastic in our seas has grow to be a nightmare of epic proportions, and the outcomes of its presence would flip the stomachs of even the hardiest of bloodthirsty horror film fanatics.
Hallowe’en most likely began out someplace in our distant previous as a ritual to appease the souls of the useless, drive out evil spirits and set the world to rights earlier than winter set in. It could appear that’s pretty much as good a cause as any to begin pondering extra rigorously about our use of plastic, and what we do with it afterwards.
Benefit from the night, don’t let the trick-or-treaters rob you blind (or egg your automotive), recycle the candy wrappers and the costume packaging after which maybe we are able to begin to set the world to rights. Once more.
Extra nice reads with bizarre and scary creatures