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Scientists share photos of creatures 16,000 feet below ocean

September 11th, 2019

When the Sampling of the Abyss voyage, led Museums Victoria, embarked on a month-long voyage off the eastern coast of Australia in 2017, it was a first-ever survey of the abyssal plain. Until then, no one really knew what was living at 16,000 feet below sea level.

During the trip, scientists aboard the research vessel Investigator collected over 100 different species of fish, including the hilarious blob fish, which is about as generic as a fish can get. This same team also gave us the peanut fish, which will make you blush when you see what it looks like fully extended (hint: it rhymes with peanut).

Of course no deep sea fishing trip would be complete without the scary Leviathans and Krakens of the underwater world. These are the sort of discoveries that give us goosebumps, and remind us why we should be thankful to be living on dry land.

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CSIRO Source: CSIRO

1) Dumbo Octopus

Although these rare sea creatures were named after the cute Disney elephant due to their ear-like fins, the dumbo octopus pictured below actually bears striking resemblance to the Predator!

Thankfully, not all of them look like this. Most of them are actually pretty cute when they’re alive.

Favorite hangout: 13,100 feet below sea level.

Fear factor: B for Badass!

Most likely to: stop your heart cold.

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Museums Victoria Source: Museums Victoria

2) Shrimp That Bite Back!

These flesh-eating crustaceans (aphipods) love all-you-can eat seafood buffets just as much as we do! They’ll scarf down just about anything, including the decaying remains whales that drift down from above.

Superhero power: they’re practically invisible at great depths.

Food factor: not the kind of shrimp you want to grill up on the barbie.

Most likely to: thrive during a zombie apocalypse.

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Museums Victoria Source: Museums Victoria

3) Peanut Worms

Although Sipuncula (Latin for “small tube”) may look suspiciously like a man’s private bits when fully extended, but when they feel threatened they’ll contract their long head and morph into a wee lil’ peanut.

Most likely to: live under a rock.

Giggle factor: off the charts!

Edible: yes, they’re actually a delicacy in Southeast Asia.

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Museums Victoria Source: Museums Victoria

4) Meet Spikey!

Crabs normally have hard shells that protect their squishy bodies from hungry invaders, but this spiny red crab’s home security measures are next level!

Most awkward first date: all of them.

Favorite color: angry red.

80’s nickname: Spike Lee.

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Museums Victoria Source: Museums Victoria

5) Cookie Cutter Shark

This shark uses its serrated teeth to take cookie cutter-shaped chunks of flesh from its prey, which include whales and the occasional unsuspecting swimmer.

When they’re not going on deep-sea baking benders, these small bioluminescent sharks spend their free time chewing through the cables of nuclear submarines.

Scariest Halloween costume: its own glow-in-the-dark shark suit.

Favorite sweet treat: legs.

Best feature: beautiful green eyes.

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Museums Victoria Source: Museums Victoria

6) Pancake Urchin

These sea urchins are actually quite puffy and round at forty fathoms below, but as soon as they’re brought to the surface the change in pressure causes them to quickly deflate.

Food lookalike: beetroot.

Secret weapon: deadly venom.

90’s rapper nickname: Puff Daddy.

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Museums Victoria Source: Museums Victoria

7) Coffinfish

The only scary thing about this mysterious little red fish is its name. Scientists probably thought it sounded cooler than Debbie Downer Fish, which would be more accurate, given its permanent frown.

Coffinfish are part of a group of anglerfish that lure in their prey with a “fishing rod” that’s attached to its head. When it’s not being used, it can retract the rod into a pit between its eyes for easy storage.

Claim to fame: none, except for its name.

Favorite bumper sticker: gone fishing.

Best Jedi mind trick: convinces you to put it back into the ocean as soon as you see its sad little face.

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Museums Victoria Source: Museums Victoria

8) Swanky Tripod Fish

These fish got its name because of the stilt-like fins that it used like high heels to prop itself up off the sea floor.

Since they’re blind as a bat, they’ve developed a unique (and rather lazy) way to grab some chow. When it’s feeding time, they turn towards the current and silently wait for teeny crustaceans to bump into their fan-like pectoral fin, which also doubles as an eating utensil.

Emo superpower: “feeling” their food drift by in the current.

Favorite yoga pose: Matsyasana (fish pose) – duh!

Favorite video game power-up: silent stealth mode.

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Museums Victoria Source: Museums Victoria

9) Glass Sponge

The delicate skeletons of these animals are made of glass-like particles of silica, with can sometimes grow to be up to a meter long.

They attach themselves to hard surfaces, such as rocks, and survive by sifting bacteria and other single-celled organisms from the ocean water. Basically, they have a reverse water filter in their home!

Most coveted shoes: Cinderella’s glass slipper.

Favorite quote: “Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.”

Recycled into a Coke or Pepsi bottle: Coke!

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Museums Victoria Source: Museums Victoria

10) Sea Pigs

These cute piggies are actually a type of sea cucumber that are related to starfish and sea urchins. Like their dry land counterparts, they’re vacuum cleaners who have no qualms about hoovering up whatever delicious scum they find lying on the sea floor.

Cutest body part: their stubby, tube-like legs.

Favorite food: decaying whales.

Weird fact: they love to feast in large groups.

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Museums Victoria Source: Museums Victoria

11) Lizard Fish

Since there isn’t a lot of food at a depth of 8,000 feet, large predators like the toothy lizard fish are few and far between. But, having enough grub to go around is the least of their worries.

The dating scene is pretty scarce, which is why lizard fish evolved to have both male and female reproductive parts. If they happen to come across the opposite sex (which is basically everyone), they mate.

Best pickup line: do you want to be the boy or girl this time?

Most endearing feature: zero, zip, zilch!

Favorite fairytale scene: the part where Red Riding Hood exclaims, “Granny, what big teeth you’ve got!”

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Museums Victoria Source: Museums Victoria

12) Giant Anemone-Sucking Sea Spiders

Anyone who has ever seen Alien will notice the resemblance to the movie’s infamous face-hugging creature.

Despite their unofficial nickname, they’re not actually spiders at all. They do, however, make liquid meals out of their prey by using their straw-like proboscis to feed.

Best flair: legs that glow in the dark.

Favorite green smoothie superfood: algae.

Nickname in high school: daddy long legs.

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Museums Victoria Source: Museums Victoria

13) Blob Fish

With such a hopelessly generic and impersonal name like blob fish, it’s no wonder this guy’s expression is less than stellar. Its more famous cousin, Mr. Blobby, was voted the World’s Ugliest Fish in 2013.

Most forgettable feature: everything about it.

Favorite musician: Blob Marley.

Favorite movie: The Blob.

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Museums Victoria Source: Museums Victoria

14) Zombie Worm

Zombie worms get their sustenance by burrowing into the bones of decaying whales. Since they have no digestive system (it’s a zombie, remember?) they rely on beneficial bacteria to do all the grisly work for them.

Favorite gummy worm flavor: yo mama.

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Museums Victoria Source: Museums Victoria

15) Corallimorph

These little disc-shaped animals are a type of sea anemone that’s related jelly fish and reef-building corals. However, it lacks a hard exoskeleton, and it has tentacles of varying lengths.

Celebrity doppelganger: Sauron (Lord of the Rings).

Related to: reef-building coral.

Most prominent feature: an upturned mouth at the center of its oral disk.

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Museums Victoria Source: Museums Victoria

16) Brittle Star

There’s not much to be said about the brittle star, because no one really knows much about them. They have no brain or eyes, which means they pretty much think with their stomach, which is quite large in proportion to the rest of them.

They use their looping arms to trap small shrimp and squids, and they get their name because their arms can get brittle and fall off when their skin gets too dry.

Best magic trick: a trap door that controls the flow of water (for locomotion).

Escape tactic: they can drop part of their arm to distract predators.

Interesting features: bioluminescence.

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Museums Victoria Source: Museums Victoria

17) Faceless Fish

Like the Faceless Men from Game of Thrones, these faceless fish have no identity. The crew were completely baffled, and it wasn’t until much later that they were identified as a blind cusk fish, which hadn’t been seen in over 140 years.

Favorite movie quote: “Here’s looking at you, kid.”

All it wants for Christmas: two front eyes.

Favorite ocean: Pacific.

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Museums Victoria Source: Museums Victoria

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Source: Bored Panda

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