Saturday, June 19, 2010

Most Bizarre Ocean Creatures, Part 1

The World Ocean, is an interconnected yet complete system that rely on its own balance and resources, covering almost 71% of the Earth's surface, leads to a better name for out planet to be called "The blue Planet". This huge amount of water contains some weired creatures discovered almost every expedition held by marine biologists, especially to the deep waters beyond the photic zone (the place that sun light can't exceed). This requires special abilities for these creatures to survive. Not to mention their strange looking.

1. Viper Fish

The viperfish is a deep water fish, with long, teeth that looks like needles and larger lower jaws. They grow to lengths of 12 to 24 inches. They often stays near lower depths ( 250–5000 feet) in the daytime and shallower waters at night. Viperfish mostly stays in tropical & average temperatures waters.

It is one of the fiercest predators in the very deep layers of the sea and is believed to attack its prey by luring it close to itself with a light emitting organ. This organ is called a photophore and is located on the end of its dorsal spine. It flashes this natural light on and off while at the same time moving the dorsal spine around like a fishing rod and stays completely still in the water.

It's also believed that it uses that voluntary natural light producing organ to communicate to its potential mates, and opponents from the same type.

2. Pelican Eel

The pelican eel's most notable feature is its huge mouth, larger than its own body. The mouth is loosely attached, and can be opened wide enough to swallow a prey much larger than itself. The pouch-like lower jaw resembles that of a pelican, hence its name.

Its stomach can stretch and expand to contain larger meals, although analysis of stomach contents suggests that the eels primarily eat small crustaceans. Despite the great size of the jaws, which occupy about a quarter of the creature's total length, it has very small teeth, which also would not be a feature with a regular diet of large fish.

The eel uses a tail that looks like a whip for sailing. The end of the tail bears a complex organ with numerous tentacles, which glows pink and gives off occasional bright red flashes. This is believed to be a lure to attract preys, although its presence at the far end of the body from the mouth suggests that the eel may have to adopt an unusual posture to use it effectively.

Pelican eels are also unusual in that the lateral line organ projects from the body, rather than being contained in a narrow groove, this may increase its sensitivity. It grows to about 3.3 ft(1 meter) in length and is found in all tropical and subtropical seas at depths ranging from 3,000 to 26,200 feet (900 to 8,000 meters).

3. Oar Fish

This strange looking creature is the longest bony fish in the sea. Known scientifically as "Regalecus glesne".

The origin of the oarfish name is unknown, but may refer to the oar-shaped body or the long, oar-like pelvic fins. Because of its long, thin shape. It is also commonly referred to as the king of herrings.

Even though it is a deep water species, it is not unusual to see an oarfish in the surface. These weired creatures have been known to wash ashore on beaches after storms.

They also have a habit of floating near the surface of the water when they are sick or dying. Although it is fished for sport as a game fish, the oarfish is not usually fished commercially because its gelatinous flesh is not considered edible.

These fish can reach a length of over 15 meters (50 feet) and weigh more than 272 kilograms(600 pounds) and lives at a depth of around 200 meters (600 feet).

4. Colossal Squid

Sometimes called the Antarctic or Giant Cranch Squid, it is believed to be the largest squid species in terms of mass.

It is the only known member of the genus Mesonychoteuthis.

Though it is known from only a few specimens, marine biologists estimates its maximum length at 12–14 metres long, based on analysis of smaller and immature specimens, making it the largest known invertebrate.

Very little is known about the life of this creature, it is believed to feed on prey such as chaetognatha, large fish like the Patagonian toothfish and other squid in the deep waters using light emitting organs. The Colossal Squid is believed to have a slow metabolic rate, requiring only around 30 g of prey daily.

Estimates of its energetic demands suggest that is a slow-moving ambush predator, using its large eyes primarily for predator detection rather than active hunting.

5. Fangtooth Fish

This is not a movie monster, and not a photoshop fancy image, It's the Fangtooth fish, a deep-sea, ferocious-looking creature. It is among the deepest-living fish found till now, as far as 5,000 metres (16,400 feet) down in the darkest waters.

Fangtooths are actually quite small and harmless to humans, despite their aggressive look. It reaches a maximum length of just 16 centimeters (6 inches).

They may remains in small schools or go alone. It is believed that they use contact chemoreception to find their preys, relying on luck to bump into something edible.

They are also known to be sturdy and tough when compared to many other deep-sea fish, as they have been kept alive for months in aquariums after capturing, despite conditions which are significantly different from their common deep-sea habitat.

6. Squid Worm

The Flamboyant Squid Worm is a newly described of deep sea annelid which was recently discovered in the ocean depths near the Philippines. The new squid-worm was recently described as "Teuthidodrilus samae" and it is unlike anything yet seen before. Teuthidodrilus lives in open water using it’s modified spines as oars to swim through the water and it’s squid-like tentacles to both breathe and capture prey. At four inches long, it is easy to clearly see one of the flamboyant squid worms and it’s ostentatious design with the naked eye and it would be amazing to see some of these creatures on display at a public aquarium. The flamboyant squid worm is seemingly abundant but for now it’s habitat of open water a mile under the surface is somewhat off limits for the average marine ornamental collector.

End of Part One...

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