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What lies beneath: 7 wonders of the deep-sea

What lies beneath: 7 wonders of the deep-sea

There have been some fascinating new discoveries of life thousands of metres beneath the sea. Here are just seven of the most fantastical creatures of the deep. 

Transparent squid

transparent squid
Image via ZME Science

Resembling hand blown glass bottles these creatures may appear fragile, but they are deceptively robust. 

Their cigar shaped liver is the only coloured part of this cephalopod. Until of course it comes to mating season and their chromophores ‘turn on’, transforming their bodies into a surging bioluminescent light show. Sexy.



Ribbon eel

Ribbon eel
Image via Reef Edition

Not just exceptional in appearance, the trumpet-nostrilled, tri-tentacled ribbon eel is also a colour changing transsexual.

This sea dweller akin to the mythical Chinese dragon regularly shifts from gender to gender (called a protandic hermaphrodite) whilst transforming from blue to yellow hues.

They may be fabulous, but don’t try purchasing one unless you have a lot of experience in keeping morays: they are known to starve themselves once in captivity.



Transparent-headed barreleye fish

Transparent-headed barreleye fish
Image via Pinterest

Recently described as a mysterious ‘fish with the face of a boy’ in some newspapers, the Pacific Barreleye (Macropinna microstoma) was first discovered in 1939.

70 years late, researchers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute found that not only are their ‘eyes’ actually nostrils but that their real eyes rotate within their translucent liquid filled heads.

This allows them to look straight up whilst moving horizontally through the sea. Very savvy.



Blob fish

“I don’t normally look this ugly”. Blob fish are found in the depths of Australian and Tasmanian waters.

Their low-density gelatinous flesh helps them float just above the sea floor collecting any food that comes their way.

The Blobfish may have been voted the “World’s Ugliest Animal” in 2013, but this is based on their appearance when decompressed and out of water.



Sea devil angler fish

First described in 1864 by British Museum zoologist Albert Günther, this devil of an angler fish has an intense interpretation of the deadly female cliché.

The male will fuse his body to the female who is larger, losing his eyes, teeth, fins and internal organs. He then survives through her and will simply provide sperm when it is time for her to spawn. 

The dots on the sea devil angler fish’s face are neuromasts: clever little organs that sense pressure and movement in the water.



Transparent sea cucumber

The sea cucumber’s invisibility cloak has allowed them to exist and evolve at the bottom of the ocean, hidden from predators, for hundreds of millions of years. 

Their soft bodies glide slowly along the pitch-black ocean depths, far below the 200m limit where sunlight can penetrate.



Sea pig

Another type of sea cucumber living in the sunless abyss of most oceans is the sea pig. Just like their porky namesakes they also like to forage in the mud for food, eating leftovers that sink to the ocean floor.

Sea pigs travel together in groups of over 100, gracing the ocean floor and facing the same direction, propelled forwards by their many pairs of hydraulically inflated feet.

Luckily the sea pig is not facing extinction, believed to provide almost 95% of some ocean populations.



Bonus: the piglet squid

This happy camper is the piglet squid. Roughly the size of an avocado, the pigmentation in his skin has given this squid a permanent smile. 

Piglet squids get their football shape due to their habit of filling up with water. 


Feature image via Tumblr