If you're a movie producer and someone shows you a movie about a tentacled alien that can change shape, become invisible and shoot a cloud of blind chemicals at its enemies, you just have to sigh and say "No, that's an octopus." We take it for granted that there are a few million creatures like that floating around. At one point, science hopped into the back seat of creation and let nightmarish curiosity drive for a moment. But even among the most unusual creatures in the world, there are extreme cases.
10: ATOLLA JELLYFISH
The Attola jellyfish is very common. They are found in every ocean in the world without exception, but they are not something you are likely to encounter on a beach as they usually live within 700 meters (2,200 feet) below the surface. Like many deep-sea creatures, it is bioluminescent (it lights up like fireflies). But atolls don't use their lights to catch prey the way angler fish do - they use them to escape. If the atola is caught by a predator, then it emits a wave of bright pulsations, like a strong light. The light show attracts a larger fish, which will go to attack Atola, giving it a chance to escape.
The attula also has single, elongated tentacles, which it uses to capture prey. They grab their victim by the end of the tentacle and drag the helpless creature through the water, rocking it back and forth until it is too tired to respond—like a fisherman reeling at a big fish.
9: ANTARCTIC ICE FISH
Extremophiles (animals that live in harsh conditions), as a rule, are rather unusual. But the Antarctic ice fish might take the cake. As the name implies, they are found in deep waters around Antarctica, usually at temperatures below 0°C and at depths of up to 1 kilometer (about 3,300 feet).
It is completely colorless. Even their blood is transparent. They still have blood, but it doesn't contain any hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that transports oxygen and gives blood its redness. They are the only vertebrates in the world with this characteristic, and researchers are still trying to figure out why they developed ice fish in the first place. Furthermore, their blood contains an antifreeze protein that prevents the blood and soft tissues from freezing. Because of this protein, they can live in sub-zero temperatures without becoming fish vesicles.
8: GIANT SIPHONOPHORE
Visually, this thing doesn't look like much, but you need a sense of scale to appreciate the giant siphonophore; They live in the deep sea and can reach more than 40 meters (130 feet) in length. That's the height of a 13-story building and taller than the blue whale, the world's largest vertebrate.
But the giant siphonophore is not really a single animal per se; It is actually a colony of millions of organisms called zooids. Each group of zoos has a special purpose: some are responsible for eating, others digest food, and some have the task of defending the colony. When they all work together, the colony functions like a single organism. It's like a country or (perhaps more accurately) a pile of dwarves in a coat.
And because siphonophores live at such great depth (about a kilometer down, or half a mile), they are constantly subjected to a ridiculous amount of pressure—half a ton per square centimeter of surface area. As a result, it is difficult for them to study. When brought close to the surface, it explodes like a balloon due to the pressure drop.
With one of the best Latin names in the animal kingdom, Wunderpus photogenicus is a rare predatory octopus found off the coast of the Philippines. The name comes from the fact that people like to take pictures of them; It is optical.
But cats are photogenic, and felines are anything but lovable. They are twilight hunters (they hunt at dawn and twilight) that chase prey by crawling along the sea floor on long, flat tentacles. In stealth mode, their bright color fades to blend in with sand and coral. But try to attack one of them, and suddenly it becomes a violent fire of red and orange, warning the predators to stay away.
And, like most octopuses, octopuses are remarkably intelligent. This video shows a wonderland building a wall of coral to hide behind. We're learning more about the wonderland every day (it was only discovered in 2006), but it certainly made it easier on us — the patterns of the white spots on their backs are totally unique to each individual, like a fingerprint.
There are 10 species of lionfish, and it goes without saying that it is one of the most famous fish species in the world. Wildly beautiful and incredibly dangerous, all 10 species are native to the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific, although two species were introduced to the east coast of North America in the 1990s. This turns out to be a problem because they breed like rabbits underwater and have no natural predators.
In fact, the population explosion has gotten so bad that researchers in Honduras are already trying to train sharks to eat lionfish. Normally, sharks wouldn't come close to things. Currently, the only real danger to these predators is, ironically, themselves: in the absence of food, lionfish will eat each other.
5: EMPEROR SHRIMP
The colorful little emperor shrimp is more like a piece of candy than a living creature, but its amazing coloration serves a very important purpose. . . In fact, we have no idea why they are so colorful, despite the fact that they've been studied since 1967. They probably don't need camouflage. Emperor shrimp live almost exclusively on the backs of a type of sea slug known as nudibranchs, specifically Hexabranchus marginatus, which has few predators as it absorbs toxins from its food. There's really nothing that could attack them anyway, so maybe they're just showing off.
4: FELIMARE PICTA
Felimare picta is a type of marine mollusk that lives in warm, subtropical waters, particularly around the Mediterranean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. There are six different subspecies of Hypselodoris, which are actually a subsection of the sea slug slug, and they are all totally ridiculous.
The branches are fairly small, usually only growing to about 20 cm (8 in), although there are a few registered branches that were longer than 64 cm (25 in). They are mollusks (like snails), but instead of using shells for protection, they have a few other tricks up their colorful sleeves - like sweating acid. If that's not weird enough, we don't know what is.
3: GORGONIAN WRAPPER
The waters of the Indian and Pacific Oceans contain some of the most diverse marine life on the planet, including the geosphere. The gorgonian mantle is the sea anemone, so yes, this terrifying thing is a predator. And they're tough as they sound - anemone-like gorgonian shell produces something called a cnidocyte, which is basically a tiny, venomous shrapnel bomb. Cnidocytes line the anemone's tentacles, and when a fish attacks one (or millions) of them, the trigger activates and the cell explodes, paralyzing the fish's harpoons.
The biological process that releases anemone venom is one of the fastest reactions in the animal kingdom. It takes less than 700 nanoseconds for a neuron to fire its lethal load (a nanosecond is one billionth of a second).
2: BLUE DRAGON SEA SLUG
Most animals eat smaller animals than themselves. It's the way the world works. On the other hand, the blue dragon laughs in the mind's face and goes straight in search of the biggest and most dangerous creatures he can find - like the Portuguese man's war, and if none of those are there, the other blue dragon. By eating man's war claws, blue dragons absorb stinging neuron cells, which they store in pouches in their bodies to use in self-defense if they are attacked.
But it gets even weirder. Most marine mollusks crawl along the ocean floor. the blue Dragon? It swallows an air bubble and floats just below the surface of the water. When viewed from below against the surface of the water, it looks like a spider walking on a mirror. They float wherever the waves take them, eating anything they come across.
1: BOBBIT WORM
There is nothing in the bobbit worm that is not hideous or morbid. Even her name came from a court case in 1993, involving a woman named Lorena Bobbitt, with a knife, and. . . Another thing that looks like a worm. Equal parts Graboid jerks and unholy hellspawn, the bobbit worm can grow up to three meters (10 feet). It burrows into the sea floor, leaving a small part of it above the surface. When a fish wanders near it, the worm rushes out, grabs the fish with its huge tongs, and pulls it underground.
Most of the specimens were never found in the ocean - but were accidentally stored in saltwater aquariums. In an aquarium they navigate rocks and pebbles taken from the ocean, then slowly grow under the radar. In 2009, a giant bobbit worm was found at the Blue Reef Aquarium in England. It was observed when aquarium workers dismantled the tank to find out why all their fish had disappeared.