In 1960 the US Navy sent a specially designed mini-submarine to go to the depths of the Marianas Trench to get an idea of how deep it was. They touched bottom at 35,838 ft (10,923m). That means if you placed Mount Everest on the ocean bottom, there would still be over a mile of water from the peak to the surface. The Challenger Deep is the deepest surveyed point in the ocean and to date only three descents have ever been achieved. The first was a manned descent by Trieste in 1960. This was followed by the unmanned ROVs Kaik? in 1995 and Nereus in 2009. Some very strange creatures were discovered in the depths, and this list presents 10 of them.
10. Sea Wasp
The name sea wasp is misleading because the creature isn’t actually a wasp or insect at all. It is a jellyfish, whose “bell” can get as big as a basketball with up to 60 tentacles hanging down as long as 15 feet. Though not breaking any world records for size this creature is still fairly large. However, its power comes not from its size but from its incredible stealth and toxicity. They dangle their virtually invisible long tentacles behind them until something gets caught. That’s where all their nematocysts (stinging capsules contained within cells called cnidocytes located along the tentacles) are located. The poison is used to kill their prey as close to instantly as possible in order to prevent a struggling victim from thrashing their delicate tissues. What’s really amazing is how the stinging cells work. They’re little tiny poison darts that are buried inside the flesh of each tentacle (like the sweat glands in your skin), along the entire length. They’re triggered chemically, by contacting the surface of human skin or the scaly skin of a fish.
The deep sea dragonfish is a ferocious predator and has extremely large teeth compared to its body size. The overly large head and sharp, fang-like teeth, combined with a small but agile body, are reminiscent of the hunter carnivores on land, such as the T-Rex or Raptors of prehistoric times.� In spite of its gruesome appearance, its is a small fish, measuring only about 6 inches (about 15 centimeters) in length. There are several different species of dragonfish. All are very similar in appearance. The dragonfish has a long barbel attached to its chin. This barbel is tipped with a light-producing organ known as a photophore. These fishes are sexually dimorphic (the males and females look different). Dragonfish live in deep ocean waters at depths of up to 1500 m (5000 feet), and interestingly, the deep sea dragonfish is one of the species of deep sea fish that can produce its own light through a chemical process known as bio-luminescence. The light is produced by a special organ known as a photophore. It is believed that the fish can use these flashing lights in the dark waters to attract prey and even to signal potential mates; interestingly, dragonfish produce larvae with eyes on the end of long stalks and intestines that occur outside the body.
8. Giant grenadier
The Giant Grenadier is a species of rattail fish that is found in the north Pacific from northern Japan to the Okhotsk and Bering seas, east to the Gulf of Alaska, and south to northern Baja California in Mexico. It occurs at depths between 450 and 11,500 feet. This species is usually found living just above the bottom of the ocean. Its length is up to 2.1 m. They swim slowly over the sea bed searching for live prey, as well as carcasses to eat, as adults feed primarily on cephalopods, fish and shrimps.
7. Gulper eel
The gulper is one of the most bizarre looking creatures in the deep sea – looks a bit like garden shears -� whose most notable attribute is its large mouth. This enormous mouth is much larger than the eel’s body, and is loosely hinged so that it can be opened wide enough to swallow an animal much larger than the eel itself. If need be, the eel can unhinge its enormous jaws and stretch its stomach to consume a fish as big as itself. The hapless prey is then deposited into a pouch-like lower jaw, which resembles that of a pelican. In fact, this eel is sometimes referred to as the pelican eel. The gulper’s stomach can also stretch to accommodate its large meals – something like a boa or anaconda on land. This giant mouth gives the eel its other common name of umbrella mouth gulper. They are generally black in color, and can grow to lengths of 2 m (6.5 feet). They have been found at depths of 1,800 m (6,000 feet). Their tails are tipped by a luminous bulb-shaped organ.
Looking like it just swam out of a horror movie is the amazing fangtooth. Known scientifically as Anoplogaster cornuta, this menacing creature haunts the deep waters of many of the world’s oceans. The fangtooth gets its name from its rather impressive looking teeth, which are actually the largest teeth of any fish in the ocean when taken in proportion to body size. Because of its unusually grotesque appearance, the fangtooth has earned the nickname “ogrefish”. It is also referred to by some as the common sabretooth. While understandably named for their disproportionately large, fang-like teeth and unapproachable visage, fangtooths are actually quite small and harmless to humans. They are more commonly found between 200 – 2,000 metres (660 – 6,560 feet). Fangtooths are known to be robust when compared to many other deep-sea fish; they have been kept alive for months in aquariums despite conditions which are significantly different from their natural habitat.
It is also called as deepsea lizardfish, found in tropical and subtropical seas worldwide. The strong thick pelvic fins probably serve as props when the fish is resting on the bottom waiting for prey. Feeds primarily on fish. They have been found at depths of 600 m to 3500 m.
Astronesthes also called as snaggletooth is black with purplish luminous areas on the side of the body. It has an elogate, slightly compressed body that lacks scales. It grows to 28cm in standard length. The mouth of the fish is filled with sharp, needlelike, curved teeth. Its belly is covered with tiny black dots, which serve as a type of light organ. Whether these produce or sense light remains unclear, though it does using the glowing red tip of a long black barbel on its chin as a lure to attract small prey.
3. Deep Sea Octopus
The deep sea octopus also called as Dumbo, is equipped with large fins (which may resemble mammalian ears) to help it swim. Many species of deep sea octopus have their eight arms connected by thin webs. With their arms outstretched and these webs forming an umbrella-like structure they can remain suspended in the water for long periods. Small crustaceans and other planktonic animals swim into their outstretched arms and become enmeshed in a sticky mucus. Interestingly the deep sea octopus� generally do not have ink sacks and have longer life spans than their shallow water relatives.
The monstrous-looking viperfish is a deepwater fish, found as deep as 3,000 meters. It uses a light organ attached to its dorsal spine to attract fish and other prey. Few fish are more grotesque-looking than the viperfish. The viperfish grows to between 12 and 24 inches in length. Viperfish’s teeth are so large in fact that they do not fit inside its mouth. The viper is thought to use these sharp teeth to impale its victims by swimming at them at high speeds. Vipers have a hinged skull, which can be rotated up for swallowing large prey.
The Blobfish inhabits the deep waters off the coasts of Australia and Tasmania. Due to the inaccessibility of its habitat, it�s rarely seen by humans. Blobfish are found at depths where the pressure is several dozens of times higher than at sea level, which would likely make gas bladders inefficient. To remain buoyant, the flesh of the blobfish is primarily a gelatinous mass with a density slightly less than water; this allows the fish to float above the sea floor without expending energy on swimming.
Honourable mention: Stargazers
Top-mounted eyes, scaleless and tough skin, venomous spines, fanged teeth and pectoral fins that can cause electric shocks are only some of the bizarre characteristics of this Giant Stargazer. This fish is commonly found in the seas, or seabeds, of New Zealand. From the perciform family of Uranoscopidae, stargazers usually burry themselves in the sand while waiting for an opportunity to ambush their prey. Stargazer can be found within the oceanic depths of 60 to 600 meters, and usually grow with a length of more than 90 cm.
And now that you have met the neighbourhood you are invited to dinner. If you thought the African plains had a big food chain, check out this feeding frenzy at the� bottom of the ocean.