Top 10 Recently Discovered DEEP SEA Creatures
The deep blue sea… Often said to be Earth’s last great frontier, an estimated 85% of the world’s ocean remains undiscovered. That of course means we’re bound to stumble upon new species and incredible discoveries. These 10 findings of the past two years are just a small sampling of what’s really out there, waiting our prying eyes and acquiring minds.
As pretty cool as it would be, no, the ghost octopus is not the ethereal form of an octopus that succumbed to some underwater tragedy. It is, however, just another incredible look as to what dwells deep within our oceans. Earlier in March of 2016, this spooky octopus was discovered looming some 4,110 meters or about 13,500 feet in the Pacific Ocean around the Hawaiian coast. Deviating from other deep-sea octopi, the ghost octopus is within fins and sports one singular row of suckers on each arm. The discovery came during an unmanned expedition of the NOAA’s Okeanos Explorer.
Churros, they’re no longer just for eating. The xenoturbella churro is a new species of flatworm-like organism that was found in the Gulf of California, approximately 1,700 meters or roughly 5,600 feet below the surface. The pinkish critter, unfortunately nicknamed “pink sock,” came in at about 4-inches or 10-centimeters long, approximately half the size of the related xenoturbella monstrosa. Marine biologists like Greg Rouse from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego hope that inserting churro into the evolutionary model will assist in further filling in gaps in animal evolution.
The battle of which is better – pirates or ninjas – will continue on for ages; but a new species of shark is adding fuel to the “ninja” side of the argument. The Ninja Lanternshark sports a jet-black body, which warrants the Ninja in its name, and teeth that could ruin your day. Like other lanternshark, the Ninja Lanternshark also has light emitting organs, or photophores, though the presence of them is diminished, giving it a stealth-like quality. The initial discovery was found in Central America waters in 2010, but researchers placed it in temporary storage… where it sat for 5 years awaiting classification.
The anglerfish is known for being one of the more terrifying treasures of the deep blue, but in 2015, a new variety of terror was discovered. Found in the northern region of the Gulf of Mexico, the hunchback anglerfish has the same jagged teeth of its familial order, but what separates it is an extended appendage that is believed to work like a natural fishing pole. When its prey are attracted to the extended arm, the grotesque fish attacks. Of the more technical ways the new species was described is “a rotting old shoe with spikes, a scraggly mustache and a big mouth with bad teeth.” Descriptive… and quite accurate. Three female hunchbacks were located between 1,000 and 1,500 meters or roughly 3,200 and 5,000 feet.
Mariana Trench Jellyfish
Exploration of the Mariana Trench in April of 2016 proved to be fruitful when researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found themselves studying a new type of jellyfish, some 2.3 miles or 3.7 kilometers below the surface. A quick glance of this new species will make it difficult to distinguish between other members of the Crossta genus, but the brightly colored, neon creature was determined to be something completely new. It sports a long and short pair of tentacles, the long set allegedly being used to ambush prey, and red radial canals that look to connect to bright yellow gonads.
Dusky Snout Catshark
Named for its dusky-colored snout, the Dusky Snout Catshark may follow in the footsteps of sharks with pretty obvious names, but it does have its own series of qualities that differentiates it from its underwater brethren. Prominent, comb-like dermal denticles, absence of oral papillae, and uniform body color are more of the traits that help distinguish this small shark from the rest of the bythaelurus family. The 2015 discovery of this shark is said to have been at the hands of a fishing vessel, who happened to capture it within their “by-catch,” or essentially the fish that weren’t meant to be caught.
When we picture sharks, we often do so as oversized, man eating monstrosities. But that’s not always the case, especially in the case of the newly discovered deep-sea shark, the bythaelurus tenuicephalus or Narrow-head Catshark. Located in the Indian Ocean, just off of Tanzania and Mozambique, this dwarfed bythaelurus is believed to reach sexual maturity at a smaller size, allowing the species to breed at a younger age. Unlike other bythaelurus, like the celvai, the tenuicephalus has a shorter anterior nasal flap, longer caudal fin, shorter claspers, and a blotchy and colorful look.
Not technically an animal, the Sunburst was discovered during the same NOAA excursion that found the new ctenophore. Like a star in the sky, this clump of single-celled organisms illuminates in the deep blue, leaving one to wonder if they’re watching a video of a vibrant night sky. Made up of what is believed to be a formation of foraminifera, the organism twinkles underwater, much like a series of LED lights would, giving it its “starry” look. Though beautiful, the numerous tendrils initially make it look like a menacing new addition to the dark depths.
New Species of Ctenophore
Approximately 100 to 150 different species of ctenophore, or comb jellies, have been verified, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or the NOAA, laid claim to one of those in 2015. During an expedition in the Caribbean Sea off the coast of Puerto Rico, footage of a new ctenophore was captured at 13,000 feet or roughly 3,960 meters. This specific species is equipped with two long tentacles that are coated in a sticky substance to help capture food. Little is known about the new ctenophore, though it shares some of the more striking traits of its order, such as a semi-transparent body and what looks like hair fibers along its tentacles.
Unknown Sea Cucumber
This unpleasant looking echinoderm has been known for quite some time, but there’s always the possibility of the family growing; and in 2015, the manned submersible from China stumbled across an unusual critter that was initially believed to be a new species of sea cucumber. When removed from its habitat deep within the Indian Ocean, the transparent organism broke into three separate parts, perplexing scientists like Lu Bo with the Second Institute of Oceanography of the State Oceanic Administration. On speaking about the find, Lu Bo claimed it could be a “special kind of sea cucumber,” though the claim would require further analysis that has yet to be verified.