The deep sea is one of the most fascinating places on earth. Light stops coming through the ocean at a depth of 300 feet. After this, the deep sea begins and lasts until the ocean floor. The animals that live here never see the light of day, let alone humans. We know very little about them and there are species discovered in the deep sea every day.
Instead of a head, this pink anemone has a ring of tentacles that forms a mouth. The food that gets stuck there is pulled down into the body cavity and digested. One of the largest anemones in the sea, the apple anemone isn't stuck to rocks and coral like its relatives. When in danger, the apple anemone can pull off its rock and swim to safety.
There are more bristlemouth fishes in the world than any other fish. The reason may be that they are so good at camouflage. A bristlemouth looking up sees other fish as shadows against the light. Instead of appearing as a shadow to hungry fish below them, bristlemouth fish light up their bellies and disappear.
Brittle stars have a center body and five long, spiny arms. They look less like a star and more like a group of five spiky worms. They either live on coral or directly on the sea floor, feeding on particles in the water or deposits on the ground. They range in color from brown to red and there are over 2,000 species in existence.
The ugly fanfin anglerfish has long fins and a lure, like a fishing rod, hanging off its nose. The lure contains light-emitting bacteria and once a shrimp goes for the lure, the anglerfish's mouth isn't far behind. Most deep sea animals have limited vision, so the anglerfish feels currents and movements around its body with the long fins up and down its back.
Even though this fish is only 6 inches long, the fangtooth is dangerous. They have two enormous rows of fangs that act like a cage. When prey swims too close, the fangtooth snaps its mouth around it and the fish or shrimp cannot get free.
A mysid is a shrimp-like creature that lives in deep water. It can grow up to 12 inches long and is bright red in color. When it needs to get out of a sticky situation, a giant red mysid spits out a glowing liquid much like a squid spits out ink, and the flash of light distracts a hungry predator.
The giant siphonophore is a long chain of specialized parts. One link in the chain digests while another one catches prey. This animal swims by waving up and down, like a jump rope. While the siphonophore is only the width of a broomstick, it can grow to lengths of 130 feet, which is longer than Earth's largest animal - the blue whale.
Since its stomach is elastic and its jaw unhinges, the gulper eel can eat fish as large as itself. Its teeth are small, but its jaw forms a net and the eel can easily feast on anything that drifts inside. For the darkness of the deep sea, gulper eels have a light on the tip of their tail that helps them recognize other eels.
The midwater jellyfish is a jellyfish that lives in the deep sea. When the jellyfish is threatened, the tentacles glow blue and red. If a hunter gets too close, its tentacles drop off, just like lizard tails. It feeds by waiting for a fish or smaller jellyfish to swim into range. When prey is close, the midwater jelly springs on them and enjoys its lunch!
Lampfish look like ordinary silver fish until they get into dark enough waters. Then their "photophores," or organs that produce light, much like the tails of fireflies, start working. Even though they live in the deep ocean, they migrate nightly to the surface to feed.
Poor shrimp, squid and fish get caught the viperfish's sharp teeth. It then unhinges its jaws, much like a snake, to swallow its prey. These fish can grow up to 12 inches in length and live up to eight years. Luckily, their primary habitat is in the Monterey Bay, so shrimp and fish around the world can feel a little safer.
Red sea fans look a lot like plants, but they're actually animals closely related to coral. An entire sea fan is a colony of smaller animals all working together. Much like anemones, these animals use sticky tentacles to capture plankton floating by. Since they're made up for many parts, red sea fans are flexible and can survive in even the strongest currents.
Sea cucumbers are sticky, muscular tubes that move along the ocean floor with tiny feet or by a series of muscle contractions. They eat anything that floats in their way and when they're being chased, they can "eviscerate," or shed their internal organs to confuse the predator. This isn't sea cucumber suicide, though - the organs soon grow back.
The spiny king crab lives on the bottom of the deep sea floor, almost 2,400 feet from the surface. He prowls for live sea stars and other crabs. He never worries about running out of food since there are always dead animals floating down from above. This guy is one tough cookie: his entire body is covered with sharp spikes for protection.