The ocean is argubally Earth's greatest frontier, with a staggering 85% remaining relatively unexplored, so it's little surprise that scientists estimate that around 86% of aquatic species are yet to be discovered. However, with advancements in marine technology, we are now unearthing an unprecedented amount of new, deep-sea creatures, some of which are so unusual you'll have a hard time believing they are even real.
With that said, here are 13 deep-sea monsters that wouldn't look out of place in a horror movie.
1. Frilled Shark
These ocean dwellers reside in the ocean's depths, around 1,500 meters below sea level. To put things into perspective, the ocean goes pitch black after 200 meters, so unless you're well versed in deep-sea diving, it's unlikely you'll ever see one of these creatures.
What makes them even more fascinating is how long they've been around. In fact, they are so ancient they are actually considered living fossils owing to the similar characteristics they possess to their prehistoric ancestors who existed during the time of the dinosaurs.
In a rare incident, one measuring 1.6-meters was discovered in shallow water in Japan in 2007. It was quickly brought to a nearby marine park but died hours later.
2. Giant Spider Crab
These abnormally large crabs are quite something, right? The largest arthropods on Earth roam the ocean floor around 300 meters below sea level and are found in the waters just off Japan and are capable of reaching 12 feet from claw to claw, a size which is helped by their diet, which pretty much consists of anything smaller than they are, such as fish, algae, and other plants.
3. Atlantic Wolffish
These bucktooth fish are shy beings and hide away in coastal depths of 1,600 feet below sea-level. Typically reaching 5 feet long, wolffish have a liking for hard-shelled mollusks, crabs, and sea urchins.
As well as their unique, standout appearance, wolffish are known for the antifreeze they produce which keeps their blood flowing in an extremely cold habitat. Their unusually large eggs are a standout feature of theirs.
4. Fangtooth FIsh
How many people feel like this in the morning? Joking aside, this hellish-looking fangtooth is one of the deepest-living fish discovered. Its natural habitat goes as high as about 2,000 meters, but it has also been found swimming in the crushing depths of the pitch black abyss at a whopping 5,000 meters below sea-level.
While they look relatively big, Fangtooth fish are only around six inches long, but their sharp teeth are the largest part of their body. So big are these teeth, even fangtooth fish themselves are unable to entirely close their mouths.
5. Six-Gill Shark
Six-gill sharks roam the ocean floor in the daytime, sometimes going as low as 2,500 meters before they move towards the surface at night to feed on foods such as rays, squids. sharks, seals, and even fellow sharks, which it is made possible by its pacey speed and powerful tail.
At 4.8 meters, they can reach impressive lengths and can be found in tropical, warm waters worldwide.
6. Giant Tube Worms
Okay, so they don't have razor-sharp teeth or menacing eyes, but these tube worms are beyond freaky! Crushing pressure, sub-zero temperatures, and no sunlight would pose significant problems for most ocean dwellers- but not these adaptable tube worms. Instead, they thrive at the edge of hydrothermal vents, which spew superheated water containing toxic chemicals.
These marine invertebrates are often found on the floor of the Pacific Ocean in the intertidal and pelagic zones. They are also known for their unusual reproduction methods. Females release lipid-rich eggs into the surrounding water, which eventually float upwards. The males then release sperm bundles that follow the eggs and eventually connect with them. Once the eggs have hatched, the larvae travel down and attach themselves back to the rock. How amazing is that?
7. Vampire Squid
Vampire squid can be found roaming the darkest depths of the ocean at levels 3,000 meters below the surface. To combat the blackness, they use their piercing blue eyes, proportionately the largest of any animal on Earth, to navigate their way through the obsidian abyss. The vampiric creature gets its name from its dark, webbed arms which it can contract akin to that of a drawing cloak like that of a vampire's.
Often found in regions of temperate and tropical waters, the animal's extraordinary physiology has allowed it to cope with the deficient oxygen levels found within such regions.
It has blue blood due to the lack of oxygen at low pressures and does not spray ink but rather disorientating clouds of glowing mucus, but this rarely happens as it takes a lot of energy to regenerate that afterward so only occurs under extreme threat.
8. Pacific Viperfish
Just when you thought these fish couldn't get any weirder, up pops the predatory Pacific viperfish. Like the fangtooth fish, their teeth are abnormally large, so much so that they cannot fully close their mouths, They only grow to around 8 inches and can be found a staggering 13,000 feet below the ocean's surface.
With a range of alluring bioluminescent photophores on their bellies, they use this to their advantage by luring prey their way and then catching them with their lightning fast speeds, a diet which often consists of shrimp, squid, hermit crabs, anchovies, mackerel and other little fish.
Elongated and covered in an unknown substance to science, they reflect light to confuse predators and can live up to 30 to 40 years in the wild but have only been known to live for a few hours when captive.
9. Sea Pig
Related to the sea cucumber, the sea pig has many stubby, tube-like appendages, that it uses to walk along the seafloor, that are filled with hydraulic pumps that fill with water, drawing in sustenance from the food it absorbs off of the ground through the mud that it picks up along the way. Known scientifically as Scotoplanes, their round, trotter-esque, legs and plump appearance has gained them the name sea pigs.
Living at the bottom of deep oceans, they are often killed by deep-sea trawlers that can kill up to 300 of them in one sweep and are a serious threat to them, and thus, the ecology of these environments.
10. Deep Sea Hatchet Fish
Only coming out at night, these elongated fish have freakishly large, bulging that seem out of proportion to the rest of their four-inch bodies and these are used to hunt for food above them in the dark. With bioluminescent photophores on their underbelly, these are used to match the light coming from above them so that they are not silhouetted against the surface and can't be easily spotted by prey beneath them.
Some species have been found to have transparent body parts to allow more light through and they are lined with blade-like fins for defense.
A gelatinous fish that lives in the deep waters of Australasia, these gooey beasts appear so deflated because they lack muscles and so are often carried about by the tides hoping that food will drift to them rather than hunting it themselves. Typically no larger than 30cm long, they lack muscles because of the pressure of where they reside which is 60 to 120 times as great as at sea level.
Voted the World's Ugliest Animal in 2013, it is feared endangered due to deep-sea trawling.
12. Goblin Shark
This pink-skinned, deep-sea shark has a long, flat protruding snout and highly protrusible jaws. With a lineage of around 125 million years, it is basically a living fossil. Its long nose-like plate can actually sense electrical activity produced by prey that it hunts along the seafloor. Very rare, these creatures are rarely caught or sighted.
Found in all three major oceans, its distribution is not entirely known due to its rarity but it is thought to be widespread.
The male anglerfish is incredibly small and weak and with few discerning features bar an incredible sense of smell which it uses to hunt down females before biting them. The females, bigger and with a bioluminescent rod on the top of their heads called an escra, then secrete a toxin that glues the male to her and slowly kills it off except for the use of its testicles which she then uses to fertilize herself.
Some anglerfish have been known to be able to have several males attached to them whilst they lure prey to them with their glowing escra.