Most of Earth’s surface is covered in water with a huge number of species living within its oceans, rivers, and lakes. Life underwater is immensely diverse and contains many beautiful and unusual creatures. Here are some of the most amazing creatures found underwater.
1. Leafy Sea Dragon
Related to seahorses and pipefish, Leafy Sea dragons are found mostly in the waters off Australia. Brown to yellow in color, these unique sea dragons are some of the most elaborately camouflaged creatures on the planet. Born with delicate, leaf-like appendages over their entire bodies, they blend perfectly with their environment which manly consists of seaweed and kelp type formations.
2. Harlequin Shrimp
Harlequin shrimp are incredibly gorgeous looking shrimp, usually white or a cream colored with brightly colored spots all over depending on their location. Around the Indian Ocean the shrimp can have blue or purple spots, whereas ones in the Pacific region have red and orange spots. Their diet consists solely of live starfish in which they use their front legs as a needle that temporarily paralyzes the prey, enabling the shrimp to carry them off and eat them slowly while keeping them alive as long as possible.
The Blobfish is a deep sea fish inhabiting the subterranean waters off the coasts of Australia and rarely seen by humans. Blobfish live deep down on ocean’s floor where the pressure is several dozen times higher than at sea level. The fleshy tissue of the Blobfish is primarily a jellylike mass with a density slightly less than water- this allows the fish to glide above the sea floor without using much energy. Its primary diet consists of whatever edible matter floats by in front of it since it doesn’t have the muscle to swim after prey. Unfortunately the Blobfish is facing extinction.
4. Serpent Pteraeolidia
The serpent pteraeolidia is basically a sea slug without a hard shell. These beautiful slugs are usually vividly colored which can sometimes act as a deterrent against predators. Some sea slugs produce acid from their tentacles while others secrete acid from their mantle. Sea slugs are slow moving but can swim or move along the oceans floor using the millions of tiny hairs they have on the bottom of their body, similar to a hairy foot. They have an enormous appetite and feed constantly. All sea slugs are hermaphrodites, and depending upon the species they usually lay their eggs in brightly colored strips on the sand.
5. Basking Shark
The basking shark is the second largest living shark, after the whale shark. It is often found throughout the world’s temperate oceans. It is a slow moving and generally a harmless filter feeder. This shark is called the basking shark because it is most often observed when feeding at the surface with its very large and wide mouth open, yet appears to be basking in the warmer water.
6. Dumbo Octopus
Known as Dumbo, this octopus gained its unique name because of its ear-like fins which protrude outward from the top of its head/ body looking like the Disney character- Dumbo. These unique creatures live at great depths of 3000–4000 meters below sea level and are some of the rarest of the Octopod species. The largest Dumbo octopus ever recorded was 6 feet in length and weighed 13 pounds, although normal size is much smaller.
Goosefish, also known as Monkfish are in the same family as angler fishes and most commonly found in the Arctic, Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans where they live at depths in excess of 1,000 meters in the sandy, muddy ocean floor. Like most other angler fishes, they have a very large head and mouth that bears long, sharp, curved teeth- you may remember that scary fish from the movie “Finding Nemo” that almost ate Nemo’s Dad.
8. Nudibranch (Chromodoris kuniei)
Nudibranchs, also known as sea slugs, are some of the most colorful creatures in the sea. There are 3,000 known species of nudribranchs. The Chromodoris kuniei is a brightly colored sea slug species, belonging to the family Chromodorididae. It can be found in warmer waters around 75 degrees Fahrenheit and lives down between 20 and 40 meters deep.
9. Port Jackson Shark
The Port Jackson Sharks are quite distinctive looking sharks with exquisite markings across the eyes, back and side of its body. It is a blunt headed shark that lay eggs whose diet mainly consists of sea urchins, mollusks, crustaceans and fishes. . The Port Jackson Shark is most often found in southern Australian, Queensland, or Tasmania. They are unique because they have the ability to eat and breathe at the same time, which is unusual for most sharks. Port Jackson Sharks are thought to be harmless to humans, but if provoked can give a painful bite.
10. Mantis Shrimp
The Mantis shrimp are marine crustaceans, which are neither shrimp nor mantis, but receive their name due to the physical similarities to both the praying mantis and the shrimp. The Mantis shrimp appear in a variety of colors, from shades of browns to bright bold colors. Although they are predators in many shallow marine habitats they are a necessary part of the eco system. These mantis shrimp sport powerful claws that can be used to attack and kill prey by spearing, stunning or dismemberment and have been known to break through aquarium glass with a single strike from its claw.
The coelacanths, also known as the living dinosaur of fish, are possibly the sole remaining representatives of a once widespread family of fishes which all but one of which disappeared at the end of the Cretaceous, 65 million years ago. The coelacanth appears to be a cousin of Eusthenopteron, the fish once credited with growing legs and coming ashore-360 million years ago.
12. Argus Sea Cucumber
Sea cucumbers are a type of echinoderm more closely related to starfish, but look somewhat similar to that of a sea slug. They are commonly spotted in the surrounding area of coral reefs, usually on the shallow sandy ocean floor. Their skin is generally thick and rough, which has a characteristic tough leathery skin. The Argus Sea Cucumber is common in the Indo-Pacific area except Hawaii and can grow up to at least 16 inches in length.
13. Promachoteuthis sulcus Squid
Promachoteuthis sulcus is a species of squid but is far distinguished from its related family. With an almost human like looking mouth full of teeth, this squid has a nuchal fusion between the head and mantle, much larger sized arm suckers, greater width of tentacle base, and the presence of an aboral tentacle groove.
14. Giant Clam
The giant clam is the largest living bivalve mollusk and one of the most endangered clam species. One of a number of large clam species native to the shallow coral reefs of the South Pacific and Indian oceans, they can weigh more than 441 lb pounds and measure as much as 4 feet across. It can be found mainly in the Indo-Pacific, but populations are diminishing quickly and the giant clam has become extinct in many areas where it was once common.
15. Dog-Faced Puffer Fish
One of the cutest looking of all the puffy fish or really any fish for that matter, the Dog-faced Puffer fish looks like something you might want to take home and pet! This breed of Puffer can reach up to 40 cm long and are commonly found in the Indo-Pacific islands of Micronesia and Samoa to East Africa usually on or near coral reefs.
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