- Why look for aliens in space when you can find them much closer to home?
Although they’re right there, we know so little about Earth’s oceans that they might as well be deep space. It’s only fitting, then, that there are aliens down there.
Or that’s what they sure look like. Marine biologists and other scientists have encountered only a fraction of all the estimated forms of life lurking in the depths
Some of them are so bizarre that it’s hard to believe they’re from the same planet as us.
Here are 10 sea creatures so utterly alien that you could easily mistake them for extraterrestrials.
The squidworm isn’t very big — only around three inches long — but each of those inches is packed with weird. This sea worm was discovered in 2007 and we can only imagine it left the researchers scratching their heads.
The free-swimming worm uses its bristle-like “fins” to propel itself through the water. Instead of a face, it has 10 flexible tentacles sticking out of its head.
The squidworm uses its appendages to catch and eat “marine snow” — dead matter falling to the bottom from the waters closer to the surface.
2. Christmas Tree Worm
You might mistake the Christmas tree worm for some kind of a plant or anemone, but it is a worm. You just can’t see it — the worm is safely hidden in a buried tube.
The parts you can see are the worm’s breathing and feeding appendages. We have to say, the name “Christmas tree worm” really is an accurate one.
Like the squidworm, it catches random detritus in its whiskers and pulls them into the tube to eat its catch. If the worm’s glorious ‘stache notices something dangerous, it will quickly retreat into its hidey-hole.
3. Pelican Eel
You can see why this fish is called a pelican eel. Its over-sized face really looks like a pelican’s beak.
But it’s also called a gulper eel — and for a good reason. The fish can open its jaws so wide that it can swallow prey many times its own size.
And that’s big prey because the eel itself can be up to six feet long. We’re unsure we want to know what it’s eating in the dark depths.
4. Red-Lipped Batfish
Wonder how this fish got its name. It couldn’t possibly be the bright red lips, could it?
But that’s not the weirdest thing about the red-lipped batfish. Look at it! It has legs!
Or that’s what it seems. The fish actually has hardened fins that it can use to drag itself along the sea floor.
But hey, give evolution a few thousand years and maybe it’ll develop actual legs.
Dinochelus translates to English as “terrible claw.” Once you see this lobster, you’ll quickly understand why it’s called that.
This small lobster’s claws are extremely long and serrated. The creature is so rare that scientists aren’t sure what it uses those terrible claws for, but we can probably assume it’s nothing pleasant.
We’re just lucky the dinochelus is only an inch long. We could easily see a much bigger version of it crawl ashore in a monster movie.
6. Sea Spider
Don’t worry, arachnophobes — sea spiders aren’t actually spiders. So you have no reason to fear these bizarre arthropods.
Sea spiders come in many shapes and sizes, but practically all of them have one thing in common. They have tiny abdomens and very long legs, the largest of them having the same leg span as a tarantula.
The creatures are harmless to humans, mostly because they live in depths most of us will never reach. But they do look like something you might see crawling along the wall on an alien planet.
Imagine you’re diving on a shallow tropical beach. Suddenly, you face a grotesque caricature of a human skull grimacing at you from the sand.
It’s okay, though — it’s not a skull. It’s just a venomous (or sometimes electric) stargazer fish waiting for something edible to come by.
Seriously, this fish is just made to play the part of the monster in an Aliens ripoff. That face is just human enough to make you cringe uncomfortably.
8. Blue Goo
Just last year, marine biologists discovered the blue goo in the Caribbean Sea. But what actually is it?
Your guess is as good as theirs. All the researchers could say upon announcing their find was that they knew it wasn’t a rock.
The blue goo could be some kind of a weird animal, or it might just be an egg sac or… Something. Until we find more of them, it’ll remain as alien as it looks.
Imagine you’re flying a spaceship through deep space and suddenly you notice a miles-long, glowing creature floating in the void. That’s probably how a scuba diver feels upon noticing a siphonophore.
These creatures can grow to be more than 100 feet long — longer than a blue whale. But the strangest thing about them is that it’s not one animal, but several.
Siphonophores are a group of jellyfish-like organisms that crowd together to form one gigantic colony. So, yeah, they’re pretty much aliens.
10. Sea Sapphire
Sea sapphires are the most beautiful animals you’ve never seen. They’re tiny, shrimp-like creatures that are so flat and translucent that they’re normally almost completely invisible.
But sometimes they flare up with a brilliant blue light. When many sea sapphires crowd together, it can seem like a bunch of tiny jewels floating in the water.
We don’t yet know why the sea sapphires sparkle. It could be that the flashing lights are their way to attract potential mates.
But whatever the reason, we’re glad that they are there to twinkle in the seas.