It’s finally arrived, the day you’ve been waiting for… World Oceans Day!
Actually, we’d be surprised if more than a couple of you even knew World Oceans Day was a thing. But hey, it is, and since we adore the ocean here in San Diego and always dig a nice tie-in, today we’re going to take a mesmerizing dive into the deep sea to see what kind of freaky stuff lies down there. Vampire squids, megamouth sharks, something called a “sarcastic fringehead”… it’s about to get weird!
1. Frilled Shark
Scientific name: Chlamydoselachus anguineus
Our first denizen of the deep is a real mean looking customer that’s as rare as it is ferocious. The frilled shark has been sighted sparingly off the coast of Australia and—yeah, you guessed it—it’s absolutely a predator. Moreover, it’s a living fossil, having changed only a teeny bit across thousands of years. The most important takeaways, though? Well, there are two:
- It has 25 rows of backward-facing, velcro-like teeth (a total of 300).
- It sports a distinct ability to bend its body before attacking with a lunging strike a la a snake.
Fun, right? Well, this is just the beginning…
2. Vampire Squid
Scientific name: Vampyroteuthis infernalis
Existing at depths as far down as 600 to 1200 meters, the vampire squid detests sunlight as surely as Dracula does. Another living fossil like the frilled shark, this squid with an absolutely awesome scientific name fortunately isn’t a blood-sucking predator. Instead, it preys on dead plankton (emphasis on dead here). They also dig tropical and temperate areas, which is certainly something we can identify with
3. Black Swallower
Scientific name: Chiasmodon niger
The black swallower is… well, it’s kind of a dumbass.
Scooting around in the pitch black darkness found 10,000 feet under the sea, food sources are so rare that the black swallower likes to use it’s bizarrely sized gut to eat prey far larger than they are. While this sometimes works out due to their flexible tummy, often enough their stomach ends up literally rupturing from the sheer size of what they try to nom on, leading to their untimely death. True story
Scientific name: Uranoscopidae
This googly-eyed beaut has both its mouth and eyes perched atop its head, enabling it to bury itself in the sea floor and then shoot upward to attack prey as they mosey on by. It’s sneaky and underhanded and a pretty BS move, but really, it’s so well executed we can’t hate on it. Oh, and there’s a kicker—the stargazer fish has the ability to deliver electric shocks!
5. Sarcastic Fringehead
Scientific name: Neoclinus blanchardi
Okay, two things about this one:
- It definitely wins the “best name” award.
- It’s absolutely wild looking!
Towards that latter point, these little foot-long fellas from the Pacific Ocean distend their own mouths in freakish fashion, and when they battle over territory they press against each other as if they were kissing. It’s a bizarre sight that you gotta check out via the below video.
Scientific name: Opisthoproctidae
You thought we couldn’t get weirder with this? You were dead wrong.
The barreleye frequents warmer waters throughout the Pacific, Indian, and Atlantic oceans. And that’s where all normalcy ends. This fish has tubular eyes that it can move all the way around to watch what’s happening above or behind itself. It engulfs its unlucky prey in one gulp and, OH YEAH, its friggin’ noggin’ is completely transparent. Seriously, just what the heck is going on here?!
7. Megamouth Shark
Scientific name: Megachasma pelagios
This deepwater shark is true to its name thanks to its almost stupidly large mouth. The reason for its hugeness? A good one if you’re a shark-fearing human—it’s used to suck in huge quantities of water and filter it exclusively for jellyfish and plankton. That’s right; it doesn’t dine on homo sapiens. Moreover, its quite shy down there in the deep and, since its 1976 discovery, fewer than 100 have ever been seen