8 Weird Sea Creatures

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More and more often, humans are discovering weird marine life that would tax even Dr. Suess' imagination. These were found in places ranging from oil fields to tropical waters to Antarctica and even aquariums!

1. Barreleye Fish

Macropinna microstoma, or the barreleye fish has a transparent head and eyes that can roll around inside to see in all directions. The green domes are its eyes; the bits that look like eyes are organs more like nostrils.  See a video of this fish in action.

2. Psychedlic Frogfish

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Histiophryne psychedilica is the new name of the frogfish discovered in the waters off Indonesia. This weird-looking fish hops along the bottom of the ocean using his fins as legs and his gills as a jet-propulsion unit. See a video here.

3. Solar Sea Slug

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Elysia chlorotica pushes the limits of what is plant and what is animal. This sea slug harnesses the power of the sun by eating algae and then incorporating the alga's chlorophyll into its own system. After two weeks of ingesting algae, the slug can go without eating anything for a year -as long as it's exposed to sunlight.

4. Dracula Fish

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Danionella dracula, or dracula fish is a new species discovered by accident when a shipment of aquarium fish were found to be very different from what the Natural History Museum in London expected. When the fish died, autopsies revealed that instead of teeth, the Dracula fish has bone spike protruding from its jaws! They are native to one particular stream in Burma, but may be lurking in other aquariums all over the world.

5. Trilobitoides

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Ceratoserolis trilobitoides is an isopod that resembles a prehistoric trilobite. This one was found during an international Antarctic expedition last year called the Census of Marine Life.

6. Tunicates

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The Collaborative East Antarctic Marine Census sent three ships on a two-month mission to Antarctica to study marine life in late 2007. Among the weird species they found were these tunicates that look like tulips growing out of the sea floor. They are actually animals that feed by pumping sea water through their stems. They grow up to a meter tall.

7. Magnapinna

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The rarely seen Magnapinna squid was recorded on video in 2007 by a Shell Oil remotely-controlled exploration vehicle at a depth of 7800 feet in the Gulf of Mexico. Scientists can't tell which exact species it is, either M. atlantica or M. pacifica, both of which inhabit the Gulf of Mexico.

8. Vampire Squid from Hell

Vampyroteuthis infernalis literally means "vampire squid from hell". Though technically neither a squid nor an octopus, this cephalopod shares traits with both. It lives up to 3,000 feet deep in the ocean. It has good control over its photospheres, spots that produce light. It can pull its arms over its head like an umbrella to hide from attackers, but if some other creature bites an arm off, it will regenerate. Instead of ink, the vampire squid can expel a cloud of bioluminescent mucus. But you won't know how truly weird it is until you see it in action in this video.

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March 12, 2009 - 4:25am
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