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Jackie Ryan / Her Campus

Unhinged Science: Scary-Ass Sea Creatures

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UWindsor chapter.

I’m sure everyone’s parents have said the following at one point: “Of course there are no monsters under your bed.” I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but these monsters exist, and while they may not be under your bed, they definitely are out there, lurking in the depths of the oceans. Some of these scary-ass sea creatures really creep me out, and for my own sake I will not be adding in pictures, but feel free to look up any of these weird fellows at your own risk. 

Starting off with a real bang, the deep-sea dragonfish  (scientific name Grammatostomias flagellibarba). These fish live in the deepest and darkest corners of the ocean, where not much lives (or at least nothing I’d ever like to encounter). However, they still need to eat, so they adapt. They have photophores that produce light to attract whatever prey they can find. Deep-sea dragonfish have fanged jaws, and a flexible spine that allows them to eat prey that’s a lot bigger than you probably think. 

Next up we have one of the many antagonists from “Finding Nemo”: the anglerfish  (scientific name Lophiiformes). This really scared me as a kid, I must admit, but they’re actually pretty neat deep sea fish. It attracts its prey in the dark with a lure that dangles above its head and emits light, drawing in other fish nearby. Anglerfish also have flexible jaws, and can consume prey twice their size! 

Not as creepy looking as the other two is the barreleye  (scientific name Opisthoproctidae). This Jell-O-looking fish doesn’t eat anything by attracting it with light or unhinge its jaws. It made the list because its eyes are located on the top of its head, encased in a weird Jell-O looking substance. The barreleye lives anywhere from 2,000-2,600ft deep, which in itself is pretty insane. 

I have horrible news, if you’re scared of spiders, the ocean isn’t much safer than the land. The sea spider  (scientific name Pycnogonida) lives in most coral reefs, and there are over 1,300 species of sea spiders. If you thought “oh these can’t be that big,” you couldn’t be more wrong. Some have legs that span over a foot, and I will never step foot in the ocean again after learning about them. 

Have you ever wondered what an entirely black squid would look like? Well good news for you, the vampire squid  (scientific name Vampyroteuthis infernalis) is entirely black and lives 3,000ft below the surface, where no light reaches. Each tentacle on these demonic little creatures are lined with spikes, and it can survive in waters with an oxygen saturation of 3%. Sadly, real vampires don’t exist, but the vampire squid is even more scary and I would not want to run into one, that’s for sure. 

Finally, onto what has to be my least favourite, the ghost shark  (scientific name Chimaeriformes). These creepy, veiny, possibly zombified animals are not even real sharks, and I’m not sure if that makes them better or worse. Their existence wasn’t even known until 2002, and they live in total darkness and sense movement in potential prey using vein-like sensory organs. If you ever find yourself at the bottom of the ocean (let’s hope that never happens) the ghost shark would know you were there before you even saw it. To make this even worse, unlike regular sharks they don’t shred their prey into pieces; they crush it with their teeth. 

To save you from any more terror of weird sea creatures, I’ll stop here, but some honourable mentions go the the sarcastic fringehead , the flying spaghetti monster siphonophore  , and the armored searobin . The depths of the ocean are a weird place, and the deeper you go the worse it gets. Another little fun fact: about 70% of the Earth is oceans, and approximately 80% remains unexplored, so really who knows what else is hiding down there.

Zelia Piasentin

UWindsor '25

Hi :) My name is Zelia Piasentin and I am a Psychology major at the University of Windsor! I haven't fully decided on my post-grad career, but I want to help others in any way I can. Some of my hobbies include reading, writing, painting, and creating letters for my pen pal. I also love camping and going for walks with my dog! You can find me on Instagram @zeliapiasentin, I'm always open to new friends!!