Although they are found at depths of nearly 2km, the Dragonfish actually starts its life at the surface of the ocean as a result of its egg being buoyant. Like many other deep sea creatures, it eventually becomes capable of producing its own light using a method known as bioluminescence after which it descends to the depths. One of its many light producing photophores can be found on a barbel attached to its lower jaw, which it most likely uses for hunting.
Termed a living fossil, this seldom seen shark inhabits the depths of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Scientists speculate that it captures its prey by bending its body and lunging forward like a snake while proceeding to swallow its victim whole.
With the largest eyes (proportionally speaking) of any animal in the world, this deep sea creature is born to live in the depths. And no, it doesn’t suck blood, in fact its tentacles barely have suckers at all. The name actually comes from its intensely red eyes and cloak like webbing.
Big Red Jellyfish
This startlingly large jellyfish can grow to be over 1 meter in length and as you may have deduced from the fairly straightforward name, it carries a slight red coloration. Rather than tentacles this deep sea jellyfish uses a series of fleshy “feeding arms” to capture its prey.
Seldom seen by human eyes, the giant squid has for centuries been a thing of legend. Dwelling deep beneath the waves its only real predator is the sperm whale. In fact, the two are famous for their deep sea battles and their carcasses are often times found bearing the marks of mortal combat on their bodies.
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Primarily found in the deep water off of Australia and New Zealand the blobfish lives at depths of over 1200 meters. The pressure here is several dozen times higher than at the surface and as a result its body is little more than a gelatinous mass.
Resembling a pink, spine covered balloon these deep sea hunters are something of a cross between pufferfish and anglerfish (#12). Although they lure their prey using a fleshy protrusion they are capable of puffing themselves up when threatened.
Unlike the other creatures on this list, the Isopod is permanently constrained to creeping along the bottom of the ocean, primarily the cold, dark waters of the North Atlantic and the Arctic Circle.
With both their eyes and mouth located on top of their head, these fish bury themselves in the sand and leap upwards to attack their prey as it swims by. Moreover many species are electric and capable of delivering lethal shocks.
Not to be confused with the Chimera of Greek mythology, these creatures are also known as ghost sharks, and although they used to reside throughout the world’s oceans, today they are mostly confined to deep water.
Although these tiny crustaceans are usually no longer than an inch, deep down on the floor of the Pacific Ocean, about 6 km beneath the waves, they can grow up to 1 foot in length.
This deep sea predator got its name for a reason. Because most of its prey are bioluminescent, their stomach is designed to prevent light from radiating through.
Named after the elephant in the Disney film, this octopus isn’t necessarily as terrifying as the frill shark but it’s far too strange to not include on this list.
Named after its hunting technique the anglerfish uses a fleshy growth protruding from the top of its head as a lure to attract its prey.
Also known as the pelican eel, this is probably one of strangest looking creatures lurking in the deep. With an enormous mouth it is capable of swallowing things much, much larger than itself.
There aren’t many ways to describe this deep sea critter that don’t include the words “very ugly”. Like several other species on this list, due to the fact that it lives at such depths, it’s capable of producing its own light and uses this ability to hunt its prey.
Not to be confused with the freshwater hatchetfish found in many home aquariums this species was named after the distinctive hatchet shape of its body. Living at extreme depths it has two tubular eyes that point upward enabling it to catch food falling from above.
Also known as spook fish, these strange looking creatures are similar to hatchetfish in that they have two upward facing eyes to scan for prey. Their distinctive feature, however, is the transparent dome that encases them.
One of the more abundant bottom dwellers, grenadiers have been estimated to make up about 15% of the deep sea population and found at depths of up 6km there are few other creatures that can survive in such hostile environments.
Blue Ringed Octopus
Although it may not be as physically imposing as some of the other creatures on this list, the blue ringed octopus is easily one of the most dangerous animals in the ocean. It’s venom is extremely potent and because there is no antivenin, it is certainly a good idea to steer clear.
Since its discovery in 1976 this extremely rare species of deep water shark has rarely been seen by human eyes and as of yet there is still no consensus in the scientific community as to how to actually classify it. It’s most distinctive feature as you probably guessed is its gaping mouth that it most likely uses to swallow plankton and small fish.
While during the day it stays in deep water, at night it has been known to venture into shallower territory and into the nets of deep sea fishermen. They don’t survive very well in captivity, however, so not much is known about them, although their appearance certainly earns them a spot on this list.
The Black Swallower
Also known as the great swallower, the capacity of this little monster to engulf and digest things significantly larger than itself should not be underestimated. In fact, it can consume prey over 10 times its own mass.
Although it has an intense sounding name (and for good reason considering the fact that itsteeth are proportionately the largest of any fish in the ocean) the fangtooth is actually quite small and harmless to humans. Terrifying…but harmless.
Not much is known about this deep sea dweller as only a few specimens have ever been caught by fishing boats, but those rare catches have been enough to earn it a fearsome reputation. With a prominent snout and retractable jaws its physical characteristics are worthy of its name.