As I mentioned earlier, our oceans are home to many familiar and strange creatures, and those are just the ones we have discovered so far. I have to say that, as much as I love the oceans, some of these kind of frighten me. I’ll share some of the creepier ones with you.
The Frilled Shark – this one has been referred to as a living fossil because it shares many of its ancestors’ physical traits from the age of dinosaurs. It likes living in the depths of the ocean, about 5,000 under the surface of the water, so we humans don’t encounter this one often, something I can say I am glad of. It was originally discovered in 2007 in the shallow waters of Japan. However, it died a few hour after being captured and moved to a marine park. These beasties can grow to over 5 feet and are mainly seen (or not seen in most cases) in the depths of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. While little is known about its eating habits, scientist have speculated that it acts much like a snake catching its prey, bending its body back and then shooting forward to swallow its prey whole.
The Vampire Squid – This one sounds like something from a B horror movie or something Captain Nemo would face off against under the sea. It has a tendency to lurk in the light free depths of the ocean, around 10,000 feet below the surface. But that isn’t why it is called a vampire. That name was given to it due to its darkly coloured, webbed arms that it uses to draw over itself like a cloak. They use their eyes, which are said to be the largest peepers to be found on any or Earth’s animals, to navigate in the murky dark. It is found mostly in the tropical and temperate oceans of the world and is able to live on oxygen levels that are quite low. Its this squid’s defence mechanism, however that are most amazing. When under threat, it releases an ink that is bioluminescent to confuse and dazzle its predators while it makes a quick escape. If it knows its been spotted, it will wrap itself up in its “cloak” and virtually disappear from sight.
The Big Red Jellyfish – Its big! And red…and a jellyfish. There is more to it than that however. This jellyfish, part of the jellyfish family known as Ulmaridae, was discovered in 2003 by crew members from MBARI ( Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute ). It is the only one of its kind to be found so far and is the largest to be found around the world. Its scientific name is Tiburonia and it can live at a depth of 2,000 to nearly 5,000 feet bellow the ocean’s surface. It’s been sighted in many areas around the Pacific Ocean in Japan, Monterey Bay, Sea of Cortez and Hawaii. They grow to a diameter of about 30 inches and have a deep red colouring. What makes it really interesting is that it has arms instead of the usual undulating tentacles found on most jellyfish,
The Giant Isopod – This is another one that I could easily see being in a sci-fi movie. There are about 20 species of large isopods, a crustacean that is related to crabs and shrimp. They thrive in the deeper and colder waters of the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic Oceans and are considered to be scavengers of importance in this deep-sea environment, from as high up as 560 feet to the total pitch darkness of 7,020 feet. I feel a bit bad for it because it is mainly forced to creep along the bottom of the ocean’s floors in the waters that are dark, cold (about 39 °F) and have a very low pressure.
These are just a mere handful of the wonders to be found in the oceans depths, and not all are frightening. They sure do raise a lot of questions for me though, and a few hackles.