The Golden Lace Nudibranch Is Like A Snail Without A Shell
On land, we think of slugs as basically snails that do not have a shell. But this underwater anomaly, the golden lace nudibranch, is a type of mollusk that has a shell early in life but then sheds it. So it is basically like the part of a mussel that you eat, but it lives most of its life without the hard armor that the shell of a mussel provides.
So, in other words, nudibranch mollusks are nude. They live in Hawaii at relatively shallow depths, about 30 feet underwater. They are also quite small, maxing out at about five centimeters in length. Despite their small size, they are carnivores that feed on soft organisms, such as sea sponges.
Arctic Hydromedusa Are Not Like The Mythological Medusa
The mythological Medusa was a beautiful woman who was transformed into a monster with snakes for hair; anyone who looked at Medusa would turn into stone. The story is nice and lends itself to the snake-like tentacles that emerge from the “head” of this would-be jellyfish.
The Arctic Hydromedusa (water medusa) looks a lot like a jellyfish and propels itself through the frigid Arctic waters the way that a regular jellyfish would. What distinguishes this particular creature from a true jellyfish is how they produce their eggs.
Japanese Spider Crabs Are Enormous Underwater Scavengers
Japanese spider crabs look like a cross between a crab and a spider, or more accurately, an acromantula from the Harry Potter series. They live off the coast of Japan and grow up to be 12 feet long! Imagine swimming on the beach and coming across a spider-like crab of that size.
However, the stalwart Japanese people are not afraid of these undersea monsters. They enjoy eating them as a delicacy. Furthermore, the Japanese spider crab serves an essential purpose in its underwater ecosystem: it is a scavenger that feeds on the bodies of dead marine animals. So it is a living underwater filter that helps keep the ocean clean.
Hydrothermal vents create extreme conditions. Underwater magma chambers heat the water, and the temperatures can reach more than 750 degrees Fahrenheit. Furthermore, the creatures who cannot only live but thrive in these conditions are truly exceptional.
Take the hydrothermal vent snail, a creature that can take iron sulfide from the water and construct a shell of iron. But this creature does not stop there. Its foot – the part that comes out of the shell – is also covered with the same kind of armored plating as its shell.
The Napoleon Wrasse Is An Underwater Hermaphrodite
According to the Census of Marine Life, “Exceeding two meters in length, the Napoleon Wrasse (Cheilinus undulatus) is one of the largest reef fish found in the warm waters of the Indian and Pacific oceans. The intricate blue-green design that decorates the face resembles New Zealand Maori war paint, the root of its alternative name, the Maori Wrasse.
The designs are also unique to each individual, much like fingerprints. A protogynous hermaphrodite, this wrasse can change its sex from female to male.” So this fish is about as long as a grown human male, resembles people from an indigenous tribe from New Zealand preparing for war, and changes from male to female.
The Lizard Island Octopus Has Mastered The Art Of Mimicry
One feature common to octopuses is that they have chromatophores that allow them to blend in with their background. The Lizard Island octopus has chromatophores on steroids because it can blend in with a larger number of backgrounds than many of its relatives. It is one of the few animals that can imitate another animal to evade a predator!
The term Lizard Island octopus derives from this creature’s home turf, or instead home surf, Lizard Island, part of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The octopus is relatively small compared to some of its relatives, usually only about two feet across.
Metapseudes Lives In Corral Rubble Off Of Australia
There are more arthropods on the planet than species from any other phyla, so, understandably, there are plenty of arthropods that we do not know much about yet. There are probably several arthropods still waiting to be discovered.
The metapseudes is one of these mysterious arthropods about which we know very little. The sea creature lives off of Western Australia among old coral, much of which has died. It has a strange appearance, and marine biologists don’t know why. They also don’t know what it does.
When you think of crustaceans, you probably think about creatures with a shell that covers a soft body. Consider crabs, lobsters, and shrimp, to name just a few. Moreover, for those who eat crustaceans, you know that you have to get the meaty flesh out of the shell.
But the poor delicate claw lobster lacks this protective coating. It swims through the water, a forlorn, delicate creature who might be easy prey for anything else swimming. It has a pronounced claw, like other crustaceans, but how much good can that claw do if it is a squishy piece of flesh?
Some Shrimp Live 600 Feet Underwater In Antarctica
Most of the world’s shrimp live in warm waters, in areas like the Gulf of Mexico that borders the southern states of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, on to the eastern border of Mexico. However, unexpectedly, scientists have found a shrimp-like creature that lives in one of the coldest environments on the planet.
Lyssianasid amphipod lives 600 feet underwater in the remarkably cold waters off of Antarctica. Scientists have known for quite a while that single-cellular organisms, known as extremophiles, can live in this harsh environment. That a multi-cellular organism would be found there was truly astonishing.
What has a giant nose, razor-sharp teeth, and is very rarely seen by humans? If your answer is a goblin, you are pretty close. The goblin shark, aptly named for its large nose-like feature and ferocious teeth, has been spotted fewer than 50 times since it was first discovered in 1898.
These mysterious sharks are known to grow to at least 15 feet long, though there is no telling what length they max out at least with so few sightings. We do know that they are fierce carnivores that can move their jaws outwards to swallow prey. We’re pretty okay if we never see one of these things in real life.
Is Shark Week your favorite week of the year? If so, you may know that sharks are some of the oldest creatures in the world. They are terrifying and attack a minimal number of humans each year, usually mistaking them for seals and other prey.
The frilled shark, so named for its, well, frilly structures on its teeth and head is one of the oldest kinds of sharks around. It has changed very little since prehistoric days, so it is a living fossil. Seeing one of these sharks is like getting a glimpse into the ocean’s deep (no pun intended) history.
“35 Utterly Weird Sea Animals,” by Dan Shapley. Popular Mechanics. October 1, 2019.
“These Dangerous Sea Creatures Actually Exist,” by Taylor McAdams. Ninja Journalist. September 17, 2019.
“The 10 Weirdest Ocean Creatures – And Where to Find Them,” by Florida Tech Marketing and Communications. Ad Astra. June 6, 2017.