The ocean is home to millions of different species of animals and with only 2% of the ocean explored that number is potentially much higher. New species are found and reported every day and some of them are extremely fascinating. Covering 70% of the Earth’s surface, the ocean is the perfect place to hold some of the most interesting creatures on the planet. So, here are the 8 most amazing sea creatures currently living in the world’s oceans.
THE FRILLED SHARK
The Frilled Shark has been called a living fossil by many scientists. The frilled shark first came to the attention of the media back in 2007. A fisherman near Tokyo, Japan told some marine officials of a strange eel-like fish he’d spotted. They captured it and later identified it as a frilled shark, a species that has been around for millions of years. It’s thought to live deep down in the ocean and not a lot is known about how they feed, although it’s thought they strike their prey suddenly like the more well-known sharks. Their jaws are extremely flexible which allow it to swallow its prey whole. They’re commonly found in the deep depths of the ocean. They have been caught as deep as 5000 feet although this is uncommon. There are areas in Japan where it has been found at depths of around 200 feet. It’s thought that the Frilled Shark has one of the longest gestation periods in the animal kingdom. It takes roughly 42 months or 3.5 years for one to give birth which is twice as long as the African Elephant. It’s cousins with the Goblin Shark which is another extremely strange looking creature. With species becoming extinct on a daily basis, it’s incredible how the Frilled Shark has survived as long as it has.
THE PEACOCK MANTIS SHRIMP
The Peacock Mantis Shrimp is a bizarre looking creature. Found in the warm waters of the Indian and Pacific ocean, they’re typically very small in size. Most grown no longer than 4 or 5 inches. However, they have been known to grow much larger than this. The biggest Mantis Shrimp ever found was 18 inches in length. The shrimp’s eyes are one of the most complexes in the entire animal kingdom. They contain 16 color receptive cones, whilst humans have just 3. Perhaps their most famous feature is their incredible strike. They can strike at an equal speed to a .22 caliber bullet. It’s so powerful that it can cause a momentary flash of light due to the heat produced when it strikes. Some aquariums refuse to house the mantis shrimp because the larger ones are known to break aquarium glass with their strikes and eat other inhabitants.
THE BOX JELLYFISH
The Box Jellyfish is one of the most infamous animals in the entire ocean. Found around South East Asia and North Australia, it’s one of the most poisonous animals on earth. It’s estimated that each one contains enough venom to kill 60 adult humans. The venom attacks the heart, nervous system and skin cells. It’s thought that they’ve survived in some form for around 700 million years. They’re preyed on by turtles who’s hard shell acts as a barrier protecting it from the venom. For the longest time, it was thought that a sting from a box jellyfish was fatal however, this wasn’t true. Such was the case with 10-year-old Rachel Shardlow. This young girl is believed to be the first person to have survived a box jellyfish sting. She was stung whilst swimming in the Calliope River in Queensland, Australia. As her brother pulled her onto the riverbank, she expressed that she couldn’t breathe and soon fell unconscious. Doctors are fascinated at how she’s still alive and there have been no signs of any permanent damage except some short-term memory loss.
THE BLUE RINGED OCTOPUS
The Blue Ringed Octopus. This creature is instantly recognizable due to its iridescent blue rings freckled all over its body. They’re primarily found along the region from Australia to Japan and are generally no larger than a golf ball. Their colors act as a warning to other animals to stay away as it’s about to attack. Their venom is 1200 times more potent than cyanide making a bite from it fatal. With no antivenom, the best hope you have is to get to a hospital as soon as possible where you may be put on life support to recover. They say that if you survive the first 24 hours you should make a full recovery. Their eyes give them great vision and enable them to be skilled swimmers. They spend much of their time in crevices and can easily change their shape to squeeze themselves in. This keeps them safe from predators and they sometimes block of the entrance to their hiding spot with rocks.
THE CONE SNAIL
The Cone Snail is a seemingly innocent looking creature. However, a drop of venom is enough to kill around 20 humans. It’s only the larger ones that can have this effect. A sting from the smaller snails is said to be no worse than a bee sting. If you’re unlucky enough to be stung by a large cone snail, it’s said you have minutes before you stop breathing. What makes it worse is that there is no particular antivenom. If you’re stung you should seek immediate medical treatment. If your organs are stabilized in time you can wait for the toxin to wear off. However, this window of life is extremely small. Cone Snails also have an incredible ability to modify their venom for different prey. This has the interest of many scientists who are examing its venom for biomedical purposes.
THE GIANT ISOPOD
The Giant Isopod is one of the most unique looking creatures on the planet. Their appearance is similar to that of a woodlouse which we’re all familiar with. They’re bottom dwellers found hundreds and even thousands of feet under sea level. What’s fascinating about them is their size. Usually around 10 inches long, some have been known to grow as big a 2.5 feet long. It’s thought that it’s an adaptation to the pressure of living so deep in the ocean. They can survive years without eating as was the case with one in Japan who survived 5 years without eating anything. They tend to feed on dead animals that fall from above gaining the reputation of ocean scavengers. It’s believed they’ve existed far longer than 160 million years back when the earth was one large continent known as Pangea.
THE BOBBIT WORM
The Bobbit Worm is an oddly terrifying creature. They are commonly over 10 feet in length and live beneath the sand on the ocean floor. The have special bristles along their body that are toxic and cause serious damage to whoever touches them. They feed using special antennae that detect fish passing over it. Once detected, it lunges out and latches onto the prey. It then pulls them beneath the sand. They’re so powerful in fact that they sometimes rip the fish in half pulling it under. There’s a story of an aquarium in the UK, who were confused as to how their fish were going missing. After they took the aquarium apart they found a massive Bobbit Worm under the sand that had been eating all their fish. What’s even scarier is that they’re usually found in warm, shallow waters like beaches.
Unlike some of the other creatures on this list, chances are you’re already familiar with this animal. However, upon researching them I found them to be much more fascinating than I thought. They are great at disguising themselves completely into surrounding objects such as coral. It’s also the male seahorses that give birth, not the females. They can hold up to 2000 fries at a time but less than a thousand will live to adulthood. They are incredible predators that manage to move around undetected and are sometimes referred to as the “assassins of the sea.”