Published on Thursday, 04 April 2013 00:00
The ocean is a beautiful, magical place teeming with a diversity of marine life in all shades of the colour spectrum, millions that will take your breath away. But aside from the spectacular coral reefs, the friendly dolphins, and the adorable sea creatures you see in Finding Nemo, there is more that lurks in these waters; creatures that are the stuff of nightmares and sci-fi movies.
Prehistoric Frilled Shark
Yes. Because the normal, modern sharks we have are not terrifying enough, nature had to resurrect this. This frilled shark was captured by fishermen off the coast of Japan and taken to Awashima Marine Park in Shizuoka where it died soon after. It measured 1.6 metre (5.3 feet) long and is considered a “living fossil” as it is a primitive species that has remained largely unchanged since prehistoric times. This underwater monster has been captured on film and can be seen here
An official at the marine park was quoted saying, “They live between 600 and 1000 metres under the water, which is deeper than humans can go. We think it may have come close to the surface because it was sick, or else it was weakened because it was in shallow waters.”
What if the shark only surfaced because there was something more horrific than itself in the deep sea? Like the Megaloden shark that reaches to lengths of 15.9 - 20.3 metres (52 - 67 feet). Please let that be extinct as scientists speculate.
Granted, the only threat that the Basking Shark poses is to plankton and small fishes. However, who’s to say that the shark which grows to a length of 6 – 10 metres (20 – 33 feet) will not accidentally swallow you if you did not move out of its way fast enough? Furthermore, its constant gaping mouth gives me the creeps.
Barreleye Fish a.k.a Spook Fish
This photo has not been doctored to show you the inside of the Barreleye’s head. It actually does have a transparent head. The purpose of its clear head is so that its eyes which are located inside the head are able to look straight up to detect the silhouettes of prey as it swims. Its transparent cranium allows its eyes to rotate within the sockets for the fish to look in multiple directions.
No matter how much lipstick the Red-Lipped Batfish puts on, it still looks ugly, kind of like Sarah Jessica Parker. Batfish are not very good swimmers, they use their pectoral fins to “walk” on the ocean floor. Upon reaching maturity, the batfish dorsal fin morphs into a single spine-like projection which functions as a lure for prey.
Blob Sculpin a.k.a Blobfish
The Blob Sculpin is a freaky looking thing. It made its big movie debut in Men in Black 3, where a Blobfish lying on a kitchen table gets hit and shouts, “Oi!” That one scene is viewable here
In reality, they can’t speak. They live off the continental shelves in very deep water (839 – 2800 metres). Scientists at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute discovered an undersea nursery of the Blobfish. When the female lays eggs, the male Blobfish will rest on the eggs until they hatch, very akin to birds.
I wish I could say that the Clown Frogfish has a cool, out-of-the-world defence mechanism, like spewing confetti out of its mouth and disappearing, but all it does is to blend in with corals in hopes that a predator does not see through its disguise. It uses its fins to walk around and push away small rocks.
The Fangtooth Fish has a face that even its mother will not be able to love. Just look at it. This fish got its name from its disproportionately large, fang-like teeth, when taken into proportion to its body size, it has the largest set of teeth of any fish in the ocean. Though as frightful as it looks, the average Fangtooth reaches a maximum length of a mere 6 inches (16 cm).
Obviously, you can see how this shark got its name. Having razor-like teeth is not enough for this one, it had to grow sharp, tooth-like protrusions all over its skin. Like many freaks of the sea, the Prickly Shark prefers living in deepwater.
The Sea Pig is a member of the sea cucumber family. Many have the misconception that the Sea Pig is cute. I for one however, strongly disagree. They inhabit the deep sea floor at depths of over 1000 metres. They have several squatty tube-like feet and tube-like tentacles around their mouths which they use to shovel deep ocean mud and organic material into. I really want to know what it feels like to squish one in my hand.
Hopefully this does not ruin snorkelling and scuba-diving for you. If it has, well then, maybe it’s all for the best anyway, seeing as how there are so many unknown monstrosities haunting the deep, dark sea.