From a shark that survived the Cretaceous period to the iconic penis fish, check out this list of bizarre creatures that inhabit the oceans.
Oceans are often called the “last unexplored frontier” and some of their inhabitants, the fishes, are among the weirdest vertebrates on the planet. They do not only live in the depths of the oceans, but are also found in rivers and lakes.
From the horrifying goblin shark to the heavy moonfish, meet 5 of the most bizarre fishes in the oceans.
Rarely found alive, it inhabits the seabed and has been found 1.2 kilometers deep in the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic oceans.
Despite the frightening appearance, he is quite lazy and feeds only on squid, shrimp, octopuses and other mollusks that also live on the seabed, without posing a risk to humans (a human would hardly survive such depth).
The moonfish is the largest and heaviest bony fish in the world, ranging from 247 kilograms (544lb) to 1 ton. Its main feature is the flat and round shape – hence its name.
The scientific name, Mola mola, derives from the Latin “mola”, which refers to the whetstone, because of the gray color, the rough texture and the round shape.
But two peculiarities stand out in this bizarre fish.
The first is the fact that they do not have rear fins, moving with the lateral and anal fins, in a slow and strange way.
Another interesting fact is that they are warm-blooded, which makes them able to keep their body temperature 12ºC above the water temperature. This helps them have more energy to navigate hundreds of miles away.
Moonfish are natural predators of small fish, larvae, mollusks, crustaceans and jellyfish, but they serve as food for sea lions, orcas and sharks. In regions such as Japan, Korea and Taiwan, they are consumed as a delicacy.
The penis fish (Urechis unicinctus) is a species of marine worm found on the coast of China, Korea and Japan. It is a cylindrical animal, measuring between 10 and 30 centimeters in length, with a brownish color.
The penis fish feed on debris deposited on the seafloor, moving backward and releasing a mucous net that sticks to objects. By a peristaltic contraction, the worm agitates the water, causing the debris to stick to the mucous. Then, he makes a new movement, this time forward, and swallows the net, ingesting the food.
Like many marine animals, the penis fish is also a delicacy in the region where it lives. Because of its similarity to the male genital organ, it is believed to have aphrodisiac properties.
In Korea, for example, it is customary to eat it raw, seasoned with salt, sesame oil and hot sauce. Its taste is salty and sweet at the same time, and it has a fleshy texture.
Apparently, the smooth-head blobfish or simply blobfish (Psychrolutes marcidus) is nothing unusual. It lives in deep waters, between 600 and 1200 meters, on the coasts of Australia and Tasmania, and usually measures about 30 centimeters.
At these depths, pressure renders the swimming bladder’s propulsion movement inefficient. Instead, to keep floating above the seafloor, the flesh of the blobfish is gelatinous, with a density close to that of water.
What makes blobfish bizarre is how they look when they are brought to the surface. Because of the gelatinous musculature, the pressure on the surface causes them to become flaccid, acquiring an almost human and at the same time grotesque appearance.
Fish with a human face
In 2019, a mysterious animal was recorded in a village in China and went viral on social media. An amateur video made by a tourist in the town of Kunming showed a fish with a human face rising to the surface of a lake.
Without delay, the internet started to create conspiracy theories: would human fish be the result of a genetic mutation caused by pollution or radiation?
The answer came days later, and many people were disappointed.
The human fish was a simple ghost carp, a variety of ornamental carp (Cyprinus carpio), the result of the cross between common carp and Koi carp. The human face was nothing more than the spots on the fish’s skin, which form complex patterns.