The Most Surprising Sea Creatures Ever Found

Northern stargazer

Of all the creatures that live underwater, the northern stargazer certainly seems to be one of the grumpiest. One look at its face tells you that this fish has a short temper, and it doesn’t take much for it to get angry. Then again, looks can be deceiving, and just because it appears to permanently enraged, that doesn’t mean it’s actually vicious.

This creature is more sly than it is aggressive, preferring to trick its prey by hiding in the sand. Unsuspecting fish that swim too close to the seabed unfortunately get a nasty surprise if the northern stargazer is around.

Goblin shark

We feel sorry for the goblin shark. The creature obviously didn’t choose to look like a science experiment gone wrong, but it’s hard not to be put off by its face. This animal won’t be winning any beauty contests in the near future, which is perhaps why humans rarely see it.

Most of the time, the goblin shark prefers to swim at depths far lower than the average person could withstand. While that makes it harder to learn about the animal, it does mean that no unsuspecting swimmer will fall victim to its sharp teeth. We’re happy with that compromise.

Grenadier

There are few deep-sea fish more common than the grenadier. This species is apparently highly abundant underwater, with the creatures found in water all around the world. It’s believed to form about 15% of the deep-sea population, although it’s hard to say for sure.

As with many fish that live at such great depths, scientists have a difficult job of studying grenadiers because they’re mostly inaccessible. Fortunately, we’ve been able to glean a few facts about the creatures, including the fact they use gas bladders to attract mates. Well, if that’s what gets their motors going then so be it.

Blobfish

We expect the blobfish wouldn’t be over the moon if it learned why it was such a popular sea creature. Most people highlight it for its appearance, which isn’t exactly the prettiest we’ve ever seen. However, their deflated appearance is apparently just a result of the animal being brought to the surface.

Supposedly, when they’re in their deep-sea environment, they have a little more shape to their body. We suppose that makes sense given conditions 4,000 feet down are far different than they are on the surface. Unfortunately, that means we’ll probably never see the creatures in their full glory.

Snakehead fish

Plenty of people around the world are scared of snakes. Given that many species of this animal can poison humans, we’d say that those fears aren’t unfounded. We’d also say that people have every right to be wary of any fish that shares their name with the reptile.

That includes the snakehead fish which is called as such because of its appearance. You could easily be fooled into thinking there was a snake swimming around in the water if you saw this creature. Luckily, its diet mainly consists of fish and frogs, although it has been known to eat rats occasionally.

Sarcastic fringehead

You might think that a creature with a name like this would be pretty harmless. However, it’s somewhat comedic name doesn’t quite fit with the species. Although it doesn’t tend to attack humans, an encounter with one of these fish may well put you in a panic.

They’re very territorial animals, and if they feel they need to protect themselves, they’ll open their large mouths in a very menacing way. Don’t underestimate these small creatures, because you could soon be eating your words. You can expect to find these miniature terrors between Mexico and northern California in the Pacific Ocean.

Black swallower

The black swallower is another of those deep-sea creatures which is capable of digesting its prey whole. Size doesn’t typically matter for this fish because it has no trouble swallowing targets that are bigger than its own body. While humans might be out of the question for these animals given they’re only typically 10 inches long, other ocean dwellers should be wary.

Apparently, the black swallower has a penchant for bony fish, and it will eat any that it can find deep in the Atlantic Ocean. Considering this creature is hugely prevalent there, it’s prey better start watching its back.

The snaggletooth

It’s hard not to find a fish named the snaggletooth funny. It sounds like something you’d find in children’s picture book rather than a real creature that lives deep underwater. However, while the snaggletooth might be an adorable name, this fish is not one to be messed with.

Its needlelike teeth would surely hurt if they were digging into your arm or leg, not that we’re willing to put that theory to the test. We’d prefer to keep as much distance from this deep-sea fish as possible. It won’t be luring us in with that bioluminescent chin bulb anytime soon.

Alligator gar

While alligators might not be as terrifying as crocodiles, you still wouldn’t want to mess with one of them. With that in mind, a creature known as the alligator gar is probably something that you should approach with caution. It’s apparently been around for more than 100 million years, and it’s the most prevalent of all the gar species.

That’s a little unsettling, as is the fact they use the teeth on their upper jaw to impale and hold prey. These animals don’t mess around, and they probably wouldn’t be afraid to give you a nibble if you crossed their path.

Hatchetfish

Most animals that live in the deep-sea aren’t a threat to human life because they never come close enough to the surface to be a danger. However, that doesn’t mean that these creatures wouldn’t pose a threat if a person ever encountered them.

There’s a chance that the hatchetfish could develop a taste for human flesh if it moved it’s habitat up several hundred feet. Its current prey knows full well how vicious these fish can be, especially given it’s so primed for attack. It’s tubular eyes mean it can easily spot where other animals are, even if they’re swimming up above.

Gulper eel

This is one of those species where its name pretty much gives the game away. The gulper eel is renowned for its sizable mouth, which can claim a wide variety of prey. This creature acts a lot like the anaconda in that it can swallow its food whole and then slowly digest it.

The gulper eel’s mouth is so large that it’s actually bigger than it’s entire body, so you definitely wouldn’t miss this fish if it was swimming towards you. Of course, humans don’t have much to worry about with this animal. It’s mostly found at unreachable depths in the Atlantic.

Black dragonfish

The black dragonfish looks like something fresh out of your nightmares, and it pretty much lives up to its fearsome appearance. With viciously-sharp fangs and piercing white eyes, this definitely isn’t a creature that you’d want to encounter in a dark alleyway.

Those teeth are capable of tearing through flesh, and this fish wouldn’t hesitate to prove it. It hungers for blood, and attacks at every opportunity it gets. Thankfully, you’re unlikely to ever encounter this animal when you go swimming. That’s because it resides in the deepest depths of the ocean where only the creepiest creatures make their home.

Sea slug

Not all underwater creatures are vicious and terrifying. Some are just mysterious and possibly even nice to look at. The sea slug is one such example. While the average slug is relatively dull, the water variety appears to come in all sorts of shapes and patterns.

They’re like Pokémon in that they come in so many different forms, although we don’t think these creatures would fare too well in a battle. They’re still not the fastest of animals, although you shouldn’t underestimate them. After all, their colorful appearance is usually a sign that they’re toxic and therefore a danger to predators.

Sea cucumber

It’s not just the sea slug that’s deceptive in its appearance. The sea cucumber may appear harmless, but it’s as capable of inflicting pain as some of the more fearsome creatures out there. That’s because it can release a toxin that could be fatal if ingested.

It’s a great defense mechanism to have, especially for a species that doesn’t look particularly intimidating. Predators probably see the animal and assume it’s an easy target, only to regret their actions when it fights back. We’d advise you to watch where you put your feet in the water, so you don’t stand on one of these.

Saber-tooth viperfish

Usually, when something’s referred to as being saber-tooth, that means it’s vicious. The saber-tooth tiger was certainly that way, and it seems that the viperfish is exactly the same. Once again, these creatures use lights to lure in their prey, then they attack once other fish are close enough to attack.

The viperfish doesn’t take any prisoners when it’s hungry, using its teeth to immobilize its food before swallowing it whole. Supposedly, this animal isn’t especially picky about what it eats, and it will go for most things that cross its path. However, humans are perhaps a little too big for them.

Barreleye

Apparently, the barreleye has the nickname of spook fish, and we can see why. The creature has a translucent head which was developed to allow the species to see any predators heading their way. While that’s certainly a cool feature, it’s also quite unsettling to see the inside of a fish’s head.

We were perfectly fine not seeing the inner workings of this animal’s mind, although we do appreciate how advantageous this quality is. If another animal were pursuing us, we’d definitely want to know where it was at all times. That doesn’t make the barreleye any easier to look at though.

Giant squid

Squids come in all shapes and sizes, with some of them growing to immense proportions due to deep-sea gigantism. Yes, that’s a real thing. Scientists believe that conditions like colder temperatures and food scarcity in the greater depths may contribute to this, although it’s difficult for them to test their theories.

Whatever causes it to happen, it can lead a squid to grow to the immense size of 43 feet. There’s no doubt that a human wouldn’t fare well when pitted against this behemoth, especially given it has suction cups and a sharp beak to help it win the fight.

Moray eel

Eels, in general, aren’t the most pleasant creatures to come across. Some of them are capable of electrocuting you while others have sharp teeth that can really inflict some pain. Over in the South Pacific Ocean, you’ll find the moray eel, a species with quite a powerful set of jaws.

The animal can open its mouth pretty wide and chow down on whatever takes its fancy. While it couldn’t eat a human whole, it could certainly inflict some pain. It’s also capable of poisoning a person thanks to the toxins in its liver. However, that would only happen if you ate one.

Fangtooth fish

The fangtooth fish is definitely a creature you could imagine appearing in a horror film. It looks too bizarre to be real, especially with its white eyes and menacingly-sharp teeth. In terms of the latter, they’re apparently so big that the fish is incapable of actually closing its mouth.

So, it just has to spend its whole life slack-jawed looking like it’s perpetually screaming. Isn’t that a pleasant image to have? Thankfully, the fangtooth fish lives so deep underwater that you don’t have to worry about coming face to face with this frightening animal. We can’t promise it won’t invade your dreams, though.

Big red jellyfish

Tiburonia, or big red jellyfish as people call them, are just one example of how fascinating sea life can be. Not much is known about these creatures because only 23 of them have ever been witnessed around the world. That’s because they typically live at depths of up to 5,000 feet, making them inaccessible to humans a lot of the time.

What we do know about these animals, however, is that they can grow to sizes of 30 inches in diameter, making them another example of deep-sea gigantism. They also have homes in areas all around the Pacific Ocean.

Coffinfish

The coffinfish is the perfect name to give a terrifying underwater creature. Funnily enough, although they’re fish, they’re also referred to as sea toads, not that they look anything like the reptiles we’re familiar with. These animals, which are typically found off the coast of Australia, swim in relatively shallow depths compared to some of the other fish on this list.

However, they are capable of going down as far as 8,000 feet, meaning the likelihood of encountering them is very much up in the air. Given their somewhat unsettling appearance, though, would you want to meet one of these animals?

Vampire squid

You might think that a creature named the vampire squid would probably act like the creatures from Bram Stoker’s Dracula. However, these small cephalopods don’t actually drain the blood of their victims. Instead, they just kind of swim around and feed off of detritus.

Their fearsome name came more from their color and red eyes as opposed to their violent nature. As a result, you needn’t fear encountering one of these creatures if you crossed its path. The animal would probably just ignore you as it went on its way. It’s nice to know not every deep-sea creature is violent.

Megamouth shark

You don’t want to be around when this creature opens its mouth, because it has a habit of sucking in its prey with ease. This species of shark is believed to have mouths that can be as wide as four feet, meaning they’re a real danger when the creature gets hungry.

It doesn’t help that the animal also has over 100 rows of teeth between its upper and lower jaws, so it can easily chew things if it needs to. Luckily, very few megamouth sharks have ever been encountered because they live so deep underwater. That’s a weight off our minds!

Giant isopod

Have you ever lifted up something in your backyard and been disgusted to uncover a bunch of woodlice and cockroaches running all over the place. If that made your stomach turn, then you wouldn’t want to encounter the giant isopod.

This crustacean lives deep underwater in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans, and is essentially a massive version of a pillbug. The creature can grow to be as big as 20 inches thanks to deep-sea gigantism, although it’s not necessarily an animal to be feared. After all, the giant isopod only really eats on things that have passed away from other causes.

Amphipod

There seems to be a lot of aquatic creatures that rely on glowing in the dark to attract their prey. However, the amphipod is not one such animal. Instead, their ability to light up is simply them adapting to live at such incredible depths.

Considering that light can’t penetrate so deep underwater, it’s essential for them to be able to see where they’re going. Of course, we imagine that a creature that glows in the dark must stand out like a sore thumb down there. Then again, given they can sometimes be as small as 0.039 inches, perhaps not.

Asian carp

They might be known as the Asian carp, but you can find plenty of these creatures in the United States. The fish were introduced to the country several decades ago, and they’ve since become referred to as an invasive species. However, that’s not what makes the animal so unsettling.

No, it’s the fact that they love to collectively leap out of the water and terrify everyone around them. If you ever encounter this phenomenon, then it may scare you out of your skin. You might think the apocalypse is coming when you see dozens of fish jumping about like this.

Dumbo octopus

It shouldn’t be too difficult to work out how this animal got its name. Its appearance is very reminiscent of a baby elephant, especially with those big ear-like fins. Of course, this creature wasn’t christened the dumbo octopus.

Its official name is grimpoteuthis, but most people refer to it by this nickname. It’s commonly found at depths of 10,000 feet and below, with the creature capable of going as far down as 23,000 feet. That’s farther than any other species of octopus, making this animal even more notable. Unfortunately, it’s so rare that your chances of seeing it are slim.

Red-lipped batfish

While most fish are known for swimming, it seems the red-lipped batfish prefers to go against the grain. It typically moves around the ocean floor using its pectoral fins because it’s not the best swimmer. However, that’s not the animal’s most notable feature.

No, that would be its remarkably red lips which give off the impression that the creature is wearing lipstick. We can’t say we’ve ever thought about putting makeup on a fish, but this is apparently what it would look like. While we’re in two minds about it, at least this animal knows how to get dolled up.

Lamprey

If you’re not a fan of leeches, then you probably won’t be a massive fan of the Lamprey. This creature loves to latch onto things, and it has several rows of teeth to ensure it can’t be dislodged from whatever it’s feasting on.

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Unsurprisingly, having all those teeth digging into you doesn’t feel good, especially as some species of Lamprey live off the blood of other species. Unless you want that to be you, you’re best off watching yourself if you’re ever in the Great Lakes or the Atlantic Ocean. After all, that’s where these ancient creatures are most commonly found.

Tongue-eating louse

Few aquatic creatures are more stomach-churning than the tongue-eating louse. These parasitic isopods aren’t the most pleasant creatures to encounter, and they’ll have you grateful that humans don’t have gills. After all, it’s through these that the animals enter a fish’s body and start the process of removing their tongue!

They apparently sever the blood vessels in a fish’s tongue, causing it to drop off. That is downright disgusting, and it’s not even the worst part. After mutilating the animal, they then attach themselves to its body and become its new tongue. We feel sorry for any fish that has to experience this.

Megalodon

While this animal no longer roams the water anymore, we had to give it a mention on this list. The megalodon was apparently a close relative of the great white shark, and was therefore considered one of the most fearsome animals to ever live.

It’s hard to know how big the animal grew to be considering it went extinct millions of years ago. However, some scientists believe that at its largest, the creature was around 60 feet. It was big enough that it considered whales as prey, and those animals are hardly small. Anyone else glad they’re not around anymore?

Blue-ringed octopus

It’s hard to look at the blue-ringed octopus without messing up your eyes. The creature’s exterior is like an optical illusion, and it’s enough to give anyone a headache. However, while those blue rings might be hard on the eyes, that’s not what you need to worry about with this cephalopod.

No, it’s the animal’s venom that should make you wary. There’s currently no cure for it, so the last thing you want to do is get on the creature’s bad side. It’s definitely best to steer clear from this octopus because it will attack you if it feels threatened.

Frilled shark

Sharks are generally creatures worth fearing. Although not all of them mean harm to humans, plenty of them are capable of ripping a person into little pieces. The frilled shark is likely one such creature. It’s hard to say how it would interact with a person given they’ve rarely been encountered alive.

However, with many rows of sharp teeth, there’s no doubt this creature would have the ability to cause serious harm. Considering it’s been known to feast on other sharks, we wouldn’t be surprised if the animal developed a taste for humans. Let’s hope we never actually find out.

Anglerfish

If you’ve ever watched Finding Nemo, then you’ll probably be familiar with the Anglerfish. It’s the creature that lured in Dory with its bright light and nearly tricked the two protagonists into becoming fish food. Although that film obviously wasn’t real, it’s portrayal of the deep-sea creature was pretty accurate.

Anglerfish have a bioluminescent bulb on their heads which they use to attract unsuspecting prey. Once their food is close enough, their mouth opens, and dinner is served. It’s not the nicest way for a fish to meet its end. Thankfully, humans don’t factor into their list of prey, so we’re safe.

Box jellyfish

As lovely as it is to go for a swim on a hot summer’s day, the ocean does an excellent job of scaring us away. There are so many terrifying creatures ready to cause us harm, and they aren’t all found at extreme depths.

One animal that you can potentially meet when you go for a dip is the box jellyfish, and that’s not an encounter that you want. These creatures have the potential to cause you serious harm, with some even having a fatal sting. Australia is particularly bad for these jellyfish, so go swimming there at your own risk.

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