10, June 2022
Our Weirdly Wonderful Oceans
Our oceans cover 70% of the Earth, contain 94% of the world's wildlife and yet we've still only mapped 5% of them. So what exactly is in them? Spoiler: if these weird beauties are anything to go by, we're looking forward to the next 95%. This World Oceans Day, let's celebrate this weirdly wonderful watery world.
THE BLOOD RED JELLYFISH
It’s thought that there are somewhere between hundreds of thousands to over 10 million unidentified species yet to be discovered. That’s a lot of new friends to be had. This one, the blood red jellyfish, was found last year by an ROV off the coast of Rhode Island. Lurking 2,300 ft deep, our new jellyfish acquaintance has a distinctive bell-like shape, 30 tentacles and a bright red glow. Nice to meet you.
REAL-LIFE SPONGEBOB AND PATRICK
From our small screens to the world of science, it turns out Spongebob Squarepants and Patrick Star really exist after all. The discovery of a bright yellow sponge and a pink starfish hanging out side by side caught the attention of marine scientists last year, as an ROV found them 6,184 ft below the surface of the Atlantic. Sadly though, unlike in the world of cartoons, these two aren’t actually friends – starfish like these tend to feed on sponges.
THE GLASS OCTOPUS
Formally known as Vitreledonella richardi (fancy), this rarely sighted, luminescent octopus can - if you’re lucky - be found in tropical and subtropical waters. And just like its name suggests, it’s mostly transparent, which means you can see right into its internal organs. But because they live in such hard-to-reach places, they’ve only been seen a handful of times – imagine all the things we’re yet to learn about these surreal cephalopods.
THE LEAFY SEADRAGON
With a name suited to a science fiction character, these incredible creatures look as otherworldly as you’d expect. They’re closely related to seahorses and pipefish, but it’s their distinctive leaf-like shape that sets them well apart. Like floating camouflage, these clever creatures evolved to stay hidden in the kelp and seaweed they’re surrounded by. Next time you’re in south Australia, keep a lookout for leafies.
THE RED HANDFISH
(Red) hands down, this is one of the weirdest fish around. Found in the waters of Tasmania, the now critically endangered Red Handfish is easily identified by, well, its bright red hand-like fins which it uses to ‘walk’ along the ocean floor.
THE WOBBEGONGYou’re looking at a shark. Yes, really. The Wobbegong is a type of Carpet Shark. An appropriate name, given its tassely, carpet-like appearance. You’ll find these bottom-dwelling creatures roaming around the floors of the western Pacific and Indian oceans. They use their natural camouflage and their flat, wide shape to blend in with surrounding rocks and catch unsuspecting prey as they swim on by.
Enjoy this? You might also like: