It is easy to forget that an entirely alien world exists beneath us. The ecosystem of the deep sea, where the creatures of our nightmares lurk right below the surface is a mystery to us. Russian fisherman Roman Fedortsov works at a fishing trawler in the far northwest of Russia. During his career, he has not only become well versed in the bizarre animals of the deep sea but also uses his Instagram feed to document most of his findings. These posts became the center of controversy and backlash, where people argued about the sensitivity of the deep-sea eco-system and the creatures in question being killed, but that hasn’t stopped Fedortsov from posting his new catches.
The pictures of these grotesque fish-alien hybrids are not for the weak-hearted. Meanwhile, Fedortsov has no fear in handling these creatures. On the contrary, he is seen confidently poking fun at them in his Instagram posts. If Stephen King came across Fedorstov’s feed, it can safely be assumed that it would be all the material he would require for a handful of bestsellers. While some of these creatures don’t look as bad, others will make you think twice before putting your toes back in the sea for a very long time.
This ugly green monster from the deep-sea is commonly called halibut. For something so grotesque, it will come as a surprise for everyone to know that the name halibut comes from the two words “haly” which means “holy” and “butte” which means flatfish. The flatfish gets this name from its popularity as a dish eaten on Christian Holy Days. In the halibut’s defense, it wasn’t always ugly. Baby halibuts have eyes placed normally on each side of their head, only for one eye to shift to the top of the head and turn white after six months so that they look like the ocean floor from above. This evolutionary characteristic is their ticket to safety from predators. But one that doesn’t help save them from getting caught in fish nets of course.
19. Spotlight Loosejaw
It might look small, but it’s not cute. Fedortsov might be immune to how gross it looks, but it will make anyone’s skin crawl to see this weird fish-insect hybrid around. On Instagram, some contend that the animal being referred to is a stoplight loosejaw, a remote ocean dragonfish from the Malacosteus family. The stoplight loose jaw utilizes its long, needle-like teeth and interesting jaws to guarantee that no passing supper is too enormous to miss. Not at all like some firmly related fishes that relocate toward the surface every night, researchers trust that the stoplight loosejaw remains away from the surface.
18. Ghost Shark
The photographer also posted photographs of this strange creature, a fish ordinarily known as the ghost shark. Ghost sharks have eyes that shine only when they are present in front of a source of light. In the haziness of the ocean, ghost sharks seem to have indented, ‘dead’ eyes. Ghost sharks are known for their winged balanced and long, whip-like tails – and a picture caught by Fedortsov uncovers the unpleasant green color of their eyes. Like other sharks, they also have a skeleton made of cartilage. Either way, it’s not something you would be pleased to see in a deep-sea aquarium if there ever is one.
17. Black Scabbardfish
This slender alien-like creature with sharp teeth and a massive jaw even had the fisherman confused. He captioned the picture “We’re still arguing about this one. What is it?’ According to Fedortsov, this is a black scabbardfish. The dark scabbardfish is a deep-water predator that is from time to time caught by pole and line fishers, because of the huge depth at which it lives. Grown-up dark scabbardfish, for the most part, inhabits depths of a few thousand meters, yet may make vertical movements to depths of a few hundred meters under the front of haziness. Fun fact: they are also eaten as a delicacy in France and Spain.
16. Orange Sea Spider
As if the ones on land aren’t already gross enough, the fisherman also found this creepy crawly from down under. This particular one is a huge orange sea spider – a marine arthropod with long, spindly legs that are generally the length of a human hand. Animals of a similar appearance were as of late found in the Arctic and Southern Oceans, where they’ve been seen at a close range of almost 25 centimeters. Sea spiders get oxygen by diffusing water over their thin, permeable outside skeleton. “They don’t have any specific structures for gas trade,” says Moran, co-creator of a company examines on ocean bugs. “We have lungs. Fish have gills. Ocean arachnids don’t have anything with the exception of a substantial surface range.”
Another odd fish, with swelling red eyes and hanging red lips, was distinguished as a kind of grenadier. These are otherwise called rattails and can be discovered far beneath the surface from the Arctic to the Antarctic. They have enormous heads and thin tails, which makes them look like vast tadpoles. The rattail’s mouth is on the underside of its head and it possesses chemoreceptors on mouth, lips, and barbels (present under the chin).
Their eyes are exceptionally touchy, the number of poles in them is higher than those found in other deep-sea creature eyes. Rattails also have a light delivering organ, photophores, situated close to their rear-end. The purpose of this organ remains a mystery, but it can be assumed that they utilize this light to search for nourishment.
This fish is probably the only slightly aesthetically pleasing addition to the list. However, in its defense, it looks gorgeous underwater. The opahs are commonly known as moonfish, sunfish, kingfish and redfin ocean pan in various parts of the world. They are colorful fish that live in the deep sea and are invaluable to recreational deep-water anglers. The fish is also a favorite in the seafood market and can be found in abundance in Hawaii. If you are a fish person, you will be familiar with opah sushi and sashimi. They were also the first fish that were discovered to be warm-blooded.
13. Frilled Shark
This serpent-like creature is commonly known as a frilled shark and is often called a living relic because it has evolved so little since the pre-historic times. If you look closely, you will find that even though it is called a shark, this particular creature resembles eels and snakes in terms of its body shape and triangular head structure. The fish gets its name from the pairs of six-gill slits over its body that makes it look fringy. The frilled shark in all its serpentine glory is as creepy as any creature gets, making it one of the most horrifying animals on this list.
12. Cartilage Fish
There’s scary, there’s horrifying and then there’s this grotesque looking creature. For starters, all it has is cartilage. Literally, just cartilage. Which also explains why it looks so translucent. The well-versed fisherman knows a lot about his fish, as it is apparent from his posts, but this was one of those rarities where even he was baffled by what he had caught. Spiny teeth, small eyes, weird jelly-like insides and a tail. He captioned this picture ‘who are you?’ Whatever it is, it’s not something you would want to encounter under water.
11. Nine-Armed Starfish
Just like everything else on this deep-sea creature list that is twisted and horrifying, so are these nine-armed starfish. In the deep sea, because of the increased pressure, marine life has evolved to survive accordingly. Most of these animals can only tolerate a minor change in pressure when moving vertically upwards towards the surface, where the pressure is drastically lower. It is thought that these animals change their shape to adapt accordingly in such circumstances. This nine-armed starfish is assumed to have modified its self as it gradually came nearer to the surface. Either way, it is twisted and creepy to look at. However, some people may have mixed feelings about its beautiful color.
10. Red Fish
This fish looks like someone tried to choke it. It is commonly referred to as a red fish, taking its name from the color of its skin. The fish has a sharp skeleton with thin bones and is eaten by people in some parts of the world. It has bulging eyes because the change in pressure it experiences when being pulled up to the surface make them pop out. For those who actually enjoy eating this monstrosity or are willing to try, it should be kept in mind that its thin bones can be a choking hazard if not cleaned and picked out properly.
9. Deep Sea Anglerfish
This ugly slimy creature is the deep-sea anglerfish. The females of this ugly fish are much bigger, growing up to 1.2 meters long as compared to the 16-cm long male. Anglerfish are ambush predators. They have a lure that hangs over their head and lights up in the dark ocean. This lure can be moved around to attract their prey, which they then suck into their huge mouth. The angler males and females have one of the strangest relationships in the animal kingdom. When a male finds a female, he bites into her side and fuses to her forever, taking nutrients from her blood and fertilizing any eggs that she produces. Now that’s terrifying.
8. Fangtooth Fish
This vampire-gene infested fish is commonly known as a fangtooth. The fangtooth fish doesn’t like bright lights and only comes to the surface of the water after it gets dark. They are usually found in cold temperature and tropical waters. Despite the fact that these fish look dangerous (like they’ll suck your blood) they are harmless to humans and are very small in size. The fangtooth fish usually targets other smaller fish and squids. But they don’t mind catching a prey which is larger than their own size. The sharp set of teeth help tearing apart whatever prey they catch.
7. Twisted Starfish
Starfish are one of the most beautiful sea creatures. We’d like to believe that they’re as sweet as they were in the movie Aquamarine. But then there’s this creepy deep-sea starfish that looks twisted and mutated. Or is it just evolution that made it ugly? Look at all those curves and crevices. It’s disturbing to look at how many extensions it has on each arm. If it hadn’t been on Fedortsov’s Instagram account, we would have been compelled to believe that this was the by-product of a genetic engineering experiment that went horribly wrong. Imagine encountering it at sea… Gross.
6. Squid Sulcus
No, this isn’t Photoshopped. This is an actual deep-sea creature. And it’s scary as anything. Not many things are known about this creature that was first discovered in 2007. The animal is one-inch long, so it’s not supposed to be capable of any harm. As far as the human-like teeth go, they’re not really teeth. The mouth is made of circular folded lips, and a smaller beak is deep inside the mouth which is used to chew their prey.
5. Is That You, Nemo?
This weird crusty, bubbly looking fish looks like it has seen better days. For all the Finding Nemo fans, here’s our theory. Nemo got lost at sea and his father after a tedious journey was able to find him. They journeyed back home and decided to go on vacation to celebrate their reunion and new-found courage. But on their way, they were blasted with radiation and the ended up like this: radiated slimy fish that look like they have a tough time under water. Whatever their story, these are the sort of fish that would send anyone away from the sea for a month straight.
4. The Stonefish Lookalike
This fish straight up looks like it belongs to the crocodile family. It can possibly be the angriest little dude that looks super cute when he’s annoyed. By the looks of its skin, it looks like it has been designed to protect the fish hide from possible predators. The skin texture and color would perfectly blend in with the coral reefs. As you look closely, you can see its black eyes and its mouth. Maybe its related to the puffer fish? Or no? Well to us it resembles the puffer fish a little bit. Or maybe a kiwi fruit? Okay, we’re losing our stream of thought here.
3. Shells from The Deep
Wow! Now, these are frankly quite gross. These deep-water seashells look like props that just dropped straight off the set of the new Alien: Covenant film. It’s a hard, brown cone-shaped shell that contains a gooey creature, oozing out in a strange manner. The creature is a pale red with darker red spots on it. The jelly material is compact and seems to look like an octopus, as the end or the beginning of the creature has some kind of legs protruding from it. On the other hand, the skin or the outer shell seems to be for protection because whatever is inside comes off as fragile, something that would disperse in a million different directions should someone step on it. We’re really glad these things are stuck in the middle of the deep blue oceans and not crawling about our coveted Earth!
2. Yellow-Eyed Brown Fish
Now, this particular fish is interesting, less freaky and less scary but still not exactly what you might call aesthetically pleasing. A yellowish, brown body with black spotted marking all over, this wide-eyed creature is open-mouthed and looks very confused. The yellow eyes are bulging, which could be attributed to the change in pressure, but there’s no explanation for what those gross things sticking out of its mouth are. It’s half gaping mouth sports a collection of somewhat blunt, small teeth, some of which seem to have been dropped over the course of the deep-sea years it lived through.
1. The Alien Fish
That is what we would wish to call this creature that looks EXACTLY like the aliens from Alien. Just look at this thing! Who knew these blood sucking, flesh eating, human body inhabiting creatures actually existed? It seems as though you don’t have to travel all the way to another galaxy anymore to get marooned and attacked by ruthless, vicious alien species folks! All you need to do is stick your head right where the deep blue sea is. The worst and creepiest part happens to be the fact that this alien fish seems to be smiling. A crooked smile that speaks of blood and terror. We’re getting a bit carried away here but what can we say, the Alien films gave us nightmares as kids.
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