Forget those 'most dangerous' ocean animal lists you've seen a million times. The most interesting and alien creatures aren't always deadly. Instead of revisiting sharks and sea snakes, check out these seven monstrous animals you probably didn't know existed.
There's a good chance you'll never see a dragonfish outside of a photograph. Even if you regularly visit the ocean, these scary-looking fish live 5,000 feet beneath the surface. To attract and disorient its prey the dragonfish uses bioluminescence. Photophore organs produce light along the fish's sides and in the barbel protruding from its chin, much like the angler fish in Finding Nemo.
The swallower only grows to nine inches but its jaw and stomach allow it to eat prey twice its length and ten times its size, earning it the fitting name. Swallowers suffocate their prey during consumption and then the meal drops down into a transparent stomach. Researchers have found swallowers floating on the surface of the ocean, nine thousand feet away from their usual depth. Apparently these greedy eaters take in prey bigger than their stomachs can handle and the decomposition of the food releases gas within their stomach, causing them to rise.
Also known as the spook fish, the barreleye was first discovered in 1939 but the nets used to capture it tore the fragile and transparent head structure and the creature wasn't appreciated for its full appearance until 2004. The olfactory organs are commonly mistaken for eyes. The fish's eyes are actually those tube-shaped, green-lidded globes and are pointed upward to spot prey, which with its strong digestive system commonly includes small jellyfish.
This nightmarish creature of the 7,000-foot deep also has the ability to create light through bioluminescence, but unlike most animals with this super-feature, the black dragonfish can glow infrared light to assist its vision but stay invisible to predators, as most animals can't perceive infrared light. A sub-species of the dragonfish, males are smaller and don't have functioning digestive systems, teeth or the abilities of the female, making reproduction their only purpose.
Pink See-Through Fantasia
Although the fantasia looks like a jellyfish it's actually a sea cucumber. Found in the Celebes Sea, you can clearly see the animal's digestive tract within its translucent body.
The blobfish or fathead sculpin fish was discovered in 2003. Scientists loving nicknamed their find Mr. Blobby, a bottom-feeder without scales.
After this species floated to the surface in 2005, researchers sent a remote-piloted submersible down 8,500 feet to the hypothermal vents of East Scotia Ridge. There they discovered colonies of these crabs who feed on the bacteria collected in their impressive hair.