The ocean is a fascinating place and mostly unexplored. In fact, humans have only discovered less than one percent of all species that have ever lived there. Just imagine what we would find if the ocean was drained? I’m sure they’ll be creatures and fossils the likes of which we cannot even begin to comprehend.
We will post soon on mysterious sea creatures, such as a massive shark that was spotted in Japan that has never been seen since, but this post is about the most extraordinary creatures and shows the endless possibilities the ocean is home to.
Just by taking one look at the frilled shark, you can’t help but think that it’s an extraordinary creature. This truly magnificent prehistoric species dates back to around eighty million years ago. As you can imagine, it is incredibly rare and gets its name from its six pairs of gill slits make it appear like a French collar. Unlike most shark species, its mouth is located just below their nose and holds an estimated 25 rows of three hundred needle sharp teeth. No one has ever observed it feeding, though it is believed they must feed off small fish especially since they are a deep water shark generally swimming near the bottom of the ocean at depths of up to 4,000 feet. They can be spotted in places such as Australia, New Zealand, South East Asia, West Africa, Chile and the Caribbean very recently.
A six-furlong frilled shark (which seems to be the average length of them) was caught in Australia. As you can imagine, fishermen had no idea what they had accidentally caught and the same goes for one captured by fishermen off the coast of Japan. Every effort was made to keep this one alive but sadly it died. They are already extremely rare and what doesn’t help is that they are believed to have the longest gestation period of any other creature taking as long as three and a half years of pregnancy until birth. This is why the species is labeled as threatened. In reality, there is no answer to how many of these sharks right exist. Since they live deep down in the ocean, this figure cannot be measured with great detail. For this reason, you can see why the Frill Shark is one of the most interesting creatures on the planet and indeed one of the most ancient living animals we know of.
THE PEACOCK MANTIS SHRIMP
The peacock mantis shrimp is possibly the most colorful and interesting little creature we know of. It is found in the warm waters of the Indian and Pacific oceans and ranges from 3 to 18 centimeters long. Its body is an array of colors with its hard shell being predominantly bright green with splatters of red orange and blue. It has extraordinary multi-colored forms, but their appearance is not what makes the peacock mantis shrimp so fascinating. It is the fact that they have the most complex eyes known in the animal kingdom, which contain millions of light-sensitive cells and is far superior to ours. They can detect ten times more color than us and have the ability to see both ultraviolet and infrared light.
The shrimp uses its amazing eyesight to avoid predators and to seek out pray. This phenomenon is so incredible that scientists have studied to see if it can be replicated for use in reading CDs and other storage devices. However, don’t be fooled by their colors or their incredible eyesight – they are in fact a very vicious predator who will repeatedly smash open their pray until they reach the soft tissue to feast on, which leads us to the other extraordinary feature. Their ability to punch over 50 miles per hour in only three thousandths of a second.
The fastest recorded punch of any living animal… it’s so fast that each of their strikes can produce small flashes of light upon impact. This is due to the fact that when they punch, it lowers the pressure of the water so much that is starts to boil. Unlike some extraordinary sea creatures, the mantis shrimp is not a rare or endangered species and can be kept in a saltwater aquarium. Just take caution – they have been known to punch their way through aquarium glass.
THE GIANT ISOPOD
The giant isopod is by far the largest member of the ISOPOD family. It is one of the strangest creatures we have found in the ocean. They can be spotted worldwide living solitary lives on the seabed in depths of up to 7,000 feet. At these levels, the isopods are faced with practically unlivable conditions – pitch black extreme cold and ridiculous pressure which is all thought to be the reason for their enormous size. It is the result of deep sea gigantism, a yet to be explained phenomenon that causes deep water creatures to grow much larger than similar species that habitat shallow waters.
Other examples of this are giant squids and giant Cubans all of which grow considerably larger than a shallow-water relative. The giant isopod has a hard-shelled segmented body which means it is both tough and flexible and when threatened it will roll into a ball to protect its flashy underside much like woodlands. It has alien-looking, highly reflective eyes to have a large field of vision. However, it is incredibly sensitive to light as they live in the dark and many rely on their antenna to help them navigate their way along the seabed, where food is limited. They will eat almost anything that falls to the seafloor have been known to prey on slow-moving sea cucumbers, sponges, live fish and even have been caught on camera killing a trapped dogfish shark. They can live long periods of time without food too. In fact, one went five years without eating while in captivity. Clearly, the giant isopod is one extraordinary deep sea creature.
Dominican octopus is quite a recent discovery first being spotted in 1998 off the coast of Indonesia and is a true master of disguise. Unlike many animals who can camouflage themselves to blend in with their environment, this octopus can actually change its self to mimic a number of different species, the only known marine animal to do so. Its adapted this ability by living in shallow waters, leaving extremely vulnerable to predators. So in order to protect itself it can transform from a regular-looking octopus into an array of different poisonous creatures to fend off attackers, but this also works as a way to fall prey into believing it a less threatening creature only to devour them once they get close enough.
A venomous old lion fish, sea anemones, sea snakes and jellyfish are just a few things it has been witnessed morphing into. It will pull all its arms in and completely flat his body into the same shape. The mimic octopus can make these transformations due to the fact they have no rigid elements to their structure and therefore are able to bend into these intelligent shapes. Another interesting fact is a female mimic octopus can lay up to 200,000 eggs which she hangs from the ceiling and cares for the eggs until they hatch. During this time she will not eat and as soon as eggs hatch she will die. The male will also die within a few months of mating but because of the huge amount of them, the mimic octopus is far from extinction.
LONG LEGS SQUARED
It has been nicknamed the long legs squared. It lives below 4,000 feet and measures from five to twenty-three feet long. There are different variants of the species with shorter and different number of appendages. They use them to pick up food from the seabed. The one in the footage appears have 10 appendages that all appear to be the same length and is the first of its kind to be spotted. Because of the depth, there really is a limited amount of information on it. No wonder it still confuses many marine biologists – a constant reminder of the possibilities the ocean holds.
So that sums up 5 extraordinary sea creatures. I hope you enjoyed this post. See you next week for another one!