5 marine animals you may not have known existed.

Here’s your daily dose of weird facts:

The Sea Pig

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Scotoplanes are a type of deep-sea holothurian echinoderm often referred to as the Sea Pig because of their tubular, leg-like feet as well as their large, plump body shape.

Each Sea Pig measures approximately 15cm in length and thrives on deep ocean bottoms at depths typically ranging from 3000-5000 meters which explains why you’ve probably never seen or heard of one prior to reading this article.

They are commonly found on the abyssal plain within the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Ocean, although the Antarctic is also home to a number of related species.

All Scotoplanes are deposit feeders, meaning they retrieve their food by selectively extracting organic matter from deep sea mud and are frequently found in rather large groups on the sea floor.

Blue Dragon

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The Glaucus atlanticus, a species of small blue sea slug also known as blue dragon, blue angel and sea swallow, is found throughout the world’s oceans, mostly in warmer, temperate and tropical waters throughout Europe, Australia as well as east and south coasts of Africa.

The small, shell-less gastropod measures 3cm in length at the peak of its maturity and lives the majority of its life on the open ocean, despite accidentally washing ashore every once in a while.

After hearing ‘sea slug’, you may presume the Blue dragon is a resident of the sea floor much like alternate species of sea slug, however the G. atlanticus floats upside down, camouflaged on the surface of the water where it is carried along by wind and ocean currents.

It is known to feed on other marine creatures like itself as well as the deadly Portuguese man o’ war jellyfish and may look harmless at first sight, but the stinging nematocysts it stores within its body have the potential to deliver an extremely painful and potentially dangerous sting to those handling it.

Red-lipped batfish

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Ogcocephalus darwini, commonly known as the red-lipped batfish or the Galapagos batfish, is a strange type of fish located in the Pacific Ocean amongst the Galapagos Islands and off the coast of Peru at depths between 3 and 76 metres. This species of batfish is easily distinguishable, partly because of their red lips, but also because of their oddly shaped body, unusual features and bizarre habits, different to those of other marine animals.

They are mostly bottom dwellers, having adapted with leg-like pectoral fins allowing them to walk across the ocean floor instead of swimming.

Once mature, the red-lipped batfish can measure up to 20.3 cm in length and develops bodily structures to attract and lure prey- in terms of its prey, it consumes small fish as well as crustaceans (shrimps and molluscs).

Blobfish

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Psychrolutes marcidus, more often known as the hideous looking Blobfish or the “Worlds Ugliest Animal”, is a deep sea fish known to inhabit deep waters of the coasts of Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand.

They measure less than 30 cm in length and are known to live nearer the sea floor at depths ranging from 600 to 1200 metres where the pressure is 60 – 120 times greater than that at sea level.

Because of the immense pressure exerted on the Blobfish’s body at such depths, its body mainly consists of gelatinous mass with a lower density than the water surrounding it, consequently allowing the fish to float above the seabed.

Its diet mainly consists of deep-ocean crustaceans, swallowed as it floats above the seabed using very little energy indeed.

Flamingo tongue snail

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The flamingo tongue snail (Cyphoma gibbosum) is a common species of small, vividly coloured sea snail found in the tropical waters of the Western Atlantic Ocean, spanning from North Carolina to the northern coast of Brazil, the Bermuda, the Caribbean Sea as well as the Gulf of Mexico.

The species is relatively small in size, measuring 25-35 mm on average, and lives at depths between 0 and 29 metres, feeding on the living tissues provided by the soft coral on which it lives.

In recent years, the species has declined in areas heavily visited by tourists and holidaymakers as snorkelers and scuba divers pick up and disturb the brightly coloured shells.

 

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