The world’s oceans cover more than 70% of the Earth’s surface, but they have yet to be studied much more than the distant cosmos. It is believed that the ocean began to emerge as early as 3.5 billion years ago and that its current shape was formed over the past 250 million years. Throughout this time, a universe has formed beneath the water column. There are mountains and gorges, underwater rivers and waterfalls, flower fields and green meadows, coral thickets, and gloomy rocks. And, of course, the underwater world is inhabited by inhabitants, among whom there are many scariest sea creatures, frightening not only by their appearance but also by their dangerous behavior.
There is an entirely different world in the deep waters of the seas and oceans: specific fauna and flora, introduced by different species, have yet to reveal to mankind even half of their secrets. Every year, thanks to developing technology, scientists explore new areas and discover unique species of deep-sea animals.
Despite the technical difficulties, we know a thing or two about deep-sea creatures. Water pressure and lack of sunlight turn living creatures into real monsters from nightmares, with huge mouths, dark coloring, small eyes, and flattened bodies.
If a fish wants to survive and feed itself, it has to swallow a large chunk of food at once. Because of this, evolution selects species with structures such as large jaws, goiter, and retractable jaws. And so they don’t look very attractive to us, but they fulfill their function.
List of the scariest sea creatures
Scientists estimate that there are 2.2 million plant and marine animal species inhabiting the world’s oceans, but of those, not many more than 194,400 have been studied to date.
The best-studied marine animals live in warm coastal waters, such as the Indian or Pacific Oceans and tropical seas. For the most part, these creatures look attractive and bright, making them the heroes of paradise vacation photos and the dream of many divers.
The inhabitants of depths from 1,000 m cannot boast such a pleasant appearance. The pressure of the water column and lack of sunlight and food are reflected in their creepy appearance: small eyes, small and flattened body size, slow movements, and dark body coloring place these creatures among the scariest ocean dwellers.
The list of the creepiest inhabitants of the depths includes
- Monkfish is the scariest in the ocean;
- The giant squid is dangerous and unpleasant;
- Atlantic wolfish is an aggressive predator;
- The common fangtooth is a creepy deep-sea animal;
- The saccopharynx is an underwater alien;
- Dangerous Australian box jelly;
- The Giant isopod is the scariest representative of crustaceans;
- Portuguese man o’ war might kill you;
- Goblin shark – the ugliest shark in the ocean;
- Vampire squid – an octopus, mollusk, and record holder;
- Cannibal fish is an underwater dragon;
- Ghost shark (ratfish, spookfish, or rabbitfish).
This is one of the scariest sea creatures, which lives at a depth of 1,500-3,000 meters. Its appearance is terrifying: its torso is flattened on the sides, covered with dark brown skin with numerous bumps and swellings. The head of the fish ends in a huge mouth with two rows of long and thin teeth.
By the way, in some countries, the meat of this fish is considered a delicacy. The sea devil might also want to eat a human, but he is not big enough. We are too big a prey for the anglers. But to bite such a creature is quite possible.
There is a unique fin on its back, which in the process of evolution, is divided into several separate rods. Each of them is crowned by a special pouch with a cluster of bacteria, which glow to lure the victims. Some species of sea devils have glowing teeth, and some have gone even further: grow a “rod” in the mouth, on which the neighbors in the deep sea are caught.
Another unusual feature of monkfishes is their reproduction and interaction with the opposite sex. Female fish can reach up to 20 kg in weight and two meters in length. But males are the complete opposite – no more than 5 cm. In the human world, they would be called parasites or alphas because when they reach puberty, these mini-cavaliers hook their teeth into the side of the female and attach themselves to her for the rest of their lives. Subsequently, most of the male animal’s organs die off, and they become part of their beautiful lady’s body, performing fertilization if necessary.
2. The giant squid
This is one of the scariest sea creatures that can be up to 18 m long, and its strength is so impressive that no one wants to face it: sperm whales are often found with characteristic wounds from squid tentacles. Living creatures and in cold waters. A striking example is the giant Antarctic squid caught near New Zealand. The animal, weighing 450 kg and 17.4 m long, is considered the largest ever caught of this ocean-dwelling species.
3. Atlantic wolfish
This fish is a bottom dweller but relatively shallow: from 25 m to 500 m. In ancient times, there was a belief among sailors that catfish sense an impending shipwreck and begin to follow the ship until it is destroyed.
The appearance of ocean animals is eerie:
- weighing up to 25 kilograms;
- length of up to 1.5 meters;
- convex eyes;
- color pale blue or dark brown;
- large torso and obtuse head.
The name this fearsome beast acquired not by accident: the mouth is crowned with a row of sharp and strong teeth, and the jaw itself is remarkable for its incredible power. The terrifying deep-sea dwellers easily bite the shell of crustaceans and can seriously injure people. Add to this the aggressiveness and swiftness of sea creatures, and it becomes clear that the name of the wolfish was not given to this ocean dweller by accident. Although we must give the animal its due: it looks after its teeth. Once a year, when their change occurs, the fish goes to the bottom and does not eat or move for a month, waiting for the tool of hunting to harden.
4. Common fangtooth
One of the scariest sea creatures is the long-horned saber-tooth. The size of this sea animal is modest: only 15 cm, but its appearance gives you the creeps. It looks like a real archaic monster: its head occupies almost half of its body, and its mouth with long and thin teeth is frightening.
This terrifying creature can be ranked as a record-breaker: the ratio of teeth length to body length is the largest of all fish studied by researchers. This creature lives at a depth of about 5 km, where sunlight does not penetrate, and the number of neighbors is tiny. Therefore, the animal is used to pouncing without a second thought on any object in sight so as not to miss a rare opportunity to eat.
5. The saccopharynx
Another of the scariest sea creatures is a hideous-looking two-meter-long fish with a small skull and a disproportionately large mouth that has a prey bag, like a pelican. This creature is considered one of the oldest inhabitants of the ocean. Over millions of years of evolution, its appearance has hardly changed.
The saccopharynx belongs to the eels. Like all eels, it has a long body, and on its tail, there is a glowing ball with which it baits its prey. Most often, it is already dead fish that they find and eat.
The minimum depth at which the saccopharynx live is 2,000 meters. Food is scarce here, so the creatures can starve for months. But if they get something to eat in their mouths, they swallow it whole and immediately.
6. Australian box jelly
Some researchers consider the Australian box jellyfish (or sea wasp) one of the most venomous sea creatures in the world. Even the slightest touch of a sea wasp can kill a strong adult. These creatures have killed about six thousand people in the last 50 years alone. By comparison, sharks kill no more than six people a year. Nylon protection is essential to avoid adding to this sad list.
If you touch it, that’s it. The venom is immediately released from the sting cells. A jellyfish may release its venom and sting cells out of fear because it accidentally bumped into a human. But according to some eyewitnesses, this Australian box jellyfish acts very insidiously. It can also attack first.
People swim in nylon suits in places where such jellyfish are found. This is how people protect themselves from one of the scariest sea creatures. When a sea wasp’s tentacles touch a person dressed in nylon, they do not perceive their skin as living tissue, so they do not sting.
This monster lives in the coastal waters of Northern Australia and Southeast Asia. The venom of the Australian box jelly affects the nervous system and the heart. Victims either die of a heart attack or simply drown. It is possible to save the stung person if the burn is immediately treated with vinegar. And it usually counts in seconds.
7. The Giant isopod
The next representative of the scariest sea creatures gets the title of the largest crustacean on the planet. The giant bottom-dwelling creature ever captured was 75 cm long and weighed 2 kg.
Creepy creatures live in deep water and live by burrowing into the silt. Its body is covered with a powerful carapace of several segments of chitinous plates, from under which numerous “legs” for movement are visible: from afar, the creature resembles giant woodlice, causing revulsion. They eat sea cucumbers or small crustaceans and often act as scavengers.
8. Portuguese man o’war
Another venomous inhabitant of the world’s oceans is the physalis or Portuguese shipwreck. These scariest sea creatures may seem quite cute, but their pleasant appearance is deceptive.
It’s not even an animal; it’s a colony of hydroid polyps and jellyfish, which form almost a single organism because they also feed each other. It floats on the surface and shimmers with iridescent colors, like the mother of pearl, and looks really like old Portuguese galleons (sailing ships). But the most dangerous thing is under the water. It has long tentacles equipped with stinging cells.
The venom of the physalis is very toxic. At best, it will cause severe burns, severe pain, allergies, and signs of intoxication. At worst, anaphylactic shock and, as a consequence, death. Colonies of these creatures often live near paradise beaches and spoil the vacation of wealthy tourists.
9. Goblin shark
One of the ugliest and scariest sea creatures in the ocean is the Goblin shark. It is called a goblin shark because of the long protruding growth in the skull and scary mobile jaws with rows of razor-thin teeth.
These creatures can reach a weight of 200 kg and a length of about 4 m: an absolute monster, the meeting with which would be fatal.
This is one of the most poorly studied shark species: only about 40 specimens have been caught in history. This shark is known to inhabit the Atlantic and Indian Oceans and also to be a deep-water shark living 1-1,5 km away from the surface.
10. Vampire squid
If there were a contest for the biggest eyes in the underwater kingdom, the winner would be the Vampire squid. Its average body length is 30 cm, and its eyes are 2.5 cm in diameter, making them the largest in this ratio in the entire animal world. Another of their amazing features is their ability to change color: they are either bright red or ghostly blue. Because of this, as well as the red body without scales, the scary creature got its mystical name.
The Vampire squid is one of the scariest sea creatures. In fact, it is a cephalopod mollusk, which has features of an octopus (characteristic tentacles), and squid (shape and body structure). In addition to big eyes, it owns another record: of all mollusks, it is the deepest and lives at a distance of 400 m to 1 km from the surface.
Despite the difficult habitat, the creepy Vampire squid has managed to adapt to it perfectly:
- Its blood contains copper, so even a small amount of oxygen in the water is enough to survive;
- His body tissues contain a high percentage of ammonia, which allows him to approach the density of water: this gives him buoyancy and mobility;
- The vampire’s body, covered in photoreceptors, helps to disorient his enemies;
- If the previous point didn’t help, a slime mixture with fluorescent balls blinding the enemy at the depths is released: it is the deep-water equivalent of octopus ink.
11. Cannibal fish
Creepy Cannibal fish has been known to science for a long time: since 1741, when the carcass of one of them washed ashore during the exploration of Kamchatka. These are rather large animals: they reach 215 cm in length and can weigh up to 9 kg.
In summer, they are often found in the waters of the Russian Far East, although the characteristic habitat of Cannibal fish is the tropics and subtropics. This is because, during the feeding period, Cannibal fish penetrate far to the north, reaching the coast of Greenland and Iceland and entering the Bering Sea. Cannibal fish are predators that hunt at depths of about 200 to 1000 meters. Their diet includes a wide variety of animals: fish, cephalopods, shellfish, crustaceans, etc.
12. Ghost sharks (Hydrolagus trolli)
This is an incredibly rare deep-sea ghost shark with retractable genitalia on its head. Most of them live in hard-to-reach depths and have pale eyes as if they were dead. This species belongs to the family Chimaeridae. Together with sharks and rays, chimera fish make up the cartilaginous fish class.
According to scientists, ancient chimeras separated from sharks and rays over 300 million years ago. Therefore, it is assumed that chimeras existed long before the dinosaurs.
The chimera Hydrolagus trolli was caught on video, and now everyone can look into the “dead” eyes of this creepy deep-sea predator. In the video, we can observe the creature with dead-pale skin and empty eyes. The fish waved its fins gently and moved like a ghost.
While the nickname “ghost shark” is quite common, it also has other unofficial names such as chimera or water bunnies.
Some chimera species have long whip-like tails, so the family members are called “sea rats” (ratfish).
These fantastic and one of the scariest sea creatures were named “chimera” from ancient Greek myths, their mysterious creature having the head of a goat and the tail of a snake.
And the very name of the species Hydrolagus trolli, which includes the word “troll,” was given to the deep-sea predator in honor of Alaskan artist Ray Troll, who repeatedly expressed his admiration for the amazing sea creatures that often appeared in his paintings.
The appearance of the discovered creature retained many similarities to marine dinosaurs. Much more so than other modern fish.