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5 Real-Life Deep-Sea Monsters - Explore

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Sierra Daily

06/19/2012

5 Real-Life Deep-Sea Monsters

Creatures of the deepForget being afraid of the dark — there aren't any monsters under the bed. They're all lurking under the sea, miles below the surface, waiting for whatever unfortunate food falls victim to their razor teeth and sticky tentacles. These rarely-seen, prehistoric looking creatures are both terrifying and fascinating, and little is known about their alien ways. 

Meet five deep-sea species that make spooky nighttime ghouls and zombies look as scary as Sesame Street's Cookie Monster. 

 

 

1. Deepstaria Jellyfish

In May, this video (below) of a mysterious deep sea creature circulated the internet. As the billowy being drifts across the underwater camera at a startling depth of 5,044 feet, we catch a glimpse of the unknown. Is it an alien? A jellyfish? A trash bag? Scientists later confirmed that this ghost-like creature is, in fact, a rarely seen jellyfish called deepstaria enigmatica, first discovered in 1967. 

 

2. Pelican Eel

 

The pelican, or gulper eel has a hinged jaw and wide mouth that opens to snatch fish far larger than its own body. According to seasky.org, this mouthy creature is between three and six feet long, but has small teeth, which leads us to assume it probably snacks on small crustaceans. While humans aren't on the menu, we're still glad that the gulper eel hangs out far below us, between 500 and 6,000 feet deep. 

 

3. Long-Armed Squid

Filmed at a drilling site almost 8,000 feet below the ocean's surface, this elbowed, spindly Magnapinna is no alien, even though it looks like it came from another galaxy. 


 

4. Goblin Shark 

Retractable jaws? Ten feet long? This prehistoric-looking predator may be rare, but it is not shy. Owning the waters well past 1,000 feet deep, the goblin shark waits in the dark until some unsuspecting fish swims by, and snap! Dinner. 

 

5. Long-Nosed Chimaera 

In Greek mythology, "chimera" means "monster." This monster of the deep has a long snout full of nerve endings and a venomous dorsal fin on its spine that is fatal to humans. We can only find the long-nosed chimaera in temperate waters below 200 feet. Not that we mind...

 

Bonus: Check out our photo gallery of strange and beautiful underwater creatures.  

--Allison Montroy is an editorial intern for Sierra and a journalism student at California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo. 

--image by istockphoto/PeeBee23

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