We are all fascinated by the strange creatures lurking in the deep sea, but as recreational scuba divers, we will probably never get the chance to encounter these creatures in real life. So in case you are suffering FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), we have compiled a list of 10 weird but cool marine life that can be found above the 40m mark, so that us recreational divers can marvel at some of these equally interesting sea creatures during our dives!
Keep an eye out on your dives for the elusive Frogfish. You have probably swum right past them many times, but they are so good at camouflaging you may have thought it was some colourful coral. There are about 50 different species of Frogfish and they get their name from the fact that their fins look like legs, giving them a frog-ish sort of look (although they don’t jump like frogs, but waddle along the ocean floor). The most amazing thing about the Frogfish is its ability to swallow prey as big as them! They have a lure on top of their head which sways in the water to attract their next meal (which may even be another frogfish). If you blink you will miss the frogfish capturing their prey, as they are one of the fastest eaters and will gulp their prey whole in 6 milliseconds! Frogfish live in warm tropical waters and the best place to see them is in Indonesia.
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"Cuttlefish are quite quirky, as far as biology goes. They are molluscs, like clams, but they have their shell on the inside (the shell is called a cuttlebone, and is made of the mineral aragonite). The cuttlebone allows them to control the ratio of liquid to gas inside their bodies, so they can float. Cuttlefish swim by flapping the skirt-like fin that runs around their body and controlling their buoyancy; in times when they need to move more quickly, they suck water in through their gills and squirt the water out of their siphon, a straw-like organ beneath the tentacles, to move by jet propulsion."⠀ -by Melissa Clason of Owlcation⠀ 🔁 Deepblu diver: amywu
Cuttlefish are one of the most fascinating marine animals. Not only can they change their colour, shape and texture dynamically to camouflage themselves, but did you know that they also have three hearts? One heart is used to pump blood around their body, while the other two are used to pump blood to the gills! As well as having 3 hearts, they also have blue/green blood due to the high amount of copper in their blood. Another unique fact about the Cuttlefish is that they belong to the same family as oysters and instead of having a shell on the outside, they have one inside which allows them to balance their liquid to gas ratio within their body which allows them to float! Cuttlefish are common to Asia and Australia and they prefer tropical and shallow waters. So next time you see one in the water you can marvel at how incredible these marine creatures are!
3. Pygmy Seahorse
Pygmy seahorse are so tiny, and camouflage themselves so well that they are very easy to miss. So don’t be surprised if you haven’t seen one before! They grow between 1.4-2.7cm and use their tail to anchor onto similar coloured coral. The most interesting thing about the seahorse, besides it’s small size, is like other seahorses the male is the one to become pregnant, and gives birth after 10-14 days! There are 9 different types of pygmy seahorse in a range of colours from pink, to purple, brown to yellow, and once you spot one no doubt you will want to take some photos! Note that they don’t have eyelids making their eyes very sensitive to light so make sure that camera flash is turned off. You will find these guys hanging 10-40m under the surface, and they are most likely found in South East Asian waters.
4. Port Jackson Shark
Port Jackson Sharks are probably the cutest and weirdest looking sharks around. They have small pointed teeth in the front and flat big teeth in the back, in a mouth that looks comically small for it’s head. Besides it’s strange looks, the Port Jackson Shark is unlike most sharks, as they can breathe and eat at the same time. These sharks grow between 75cm to 1.65m and are found in warmer tropical waters in Australia, with large numbers congregating in NSW between July and October for mating.
5. Mola Mola
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What's the name of this fish? 👀 ⠀ if you got it wrong, the right answer is below ⬇️⠀ Bonus: What's it called in your native language? In Taiwan, it's called the 翻車魚 which literally means "overturned car fish" 🤣⠀ ⠀ Repost @montereybayaquarium:⠀ .⠀ "That’s no moon—or wait, maybe it is?! Here at the Aquarium, we know Mola mola as “ocean sunfish,” but across the pond, molas moonlight as “moonfish” instead. Between the Apollo 11 anniversary and tonight’s full moon, now is the perfect time for sunfish lunatics to unite around these sealestial beings! 🌕🐟❤️"⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #montereybayaquarium #molamola #oceansunfish #uwphotography #deepbludivers #deepblu #marinelife #saveourseas #oceanconservation
The Mola Mola (also known as the sun fish) is a fish you won’t be able to miss! They can grow up to 3.5m long, weigh more than a car, and their teeth are fused together making it look like they have a birds beak! And if that isn’t imposing enough, these fish can jump out of the water! The sun fish can be found predominantly in Indonesia, Inner Hebrides, Oban, United Kingdom and Alboran Sea, Spain. They like warmer water and like to sunbathe (hence the nickname sun fish) so you will generally find them near the surface where it is warm.
6. Great Diving Beetle
Did you know that there is a beetle called the Great Diving Beetle that can essentially scuba dive? These beetles hang underwater and breathe using an air bubble which is stored under their wings, which acts as a similar function as gills would for a fish. Like us scuba divers, they can’t stay down indefinitely and need to head back to the surface to replenish their air supply. And if that’s not cool enough, they are also able to fly! They are usually located in lakes in Europe, North Asia and England where they are found feeding on fish and small tadpoles!
7. Chinese White Dolphins (pink dolphins)
Chinese White Dolphins, (which are also known as pink dolphins), are actually pink in colour. The pink colouring is due to blood vessels that are visible at the skin’s surface. What’s strange is, these dolphins aren’t born pink, but are grey and spotty at birth and as they mature they turn pink! You are most likely to see these guys in the waters around Hong Kong.
8. Red Lipped Bat Fish
As the name suggests, the Red Lipped Bat Fish is named after it’s bright red lips. It seriously looks like it is wearing lipstick! It is thought that they have these bright lips to attract the opposite sex for mating. The bat part of the name, is due to the fins which look like bat wings, but if you ask us, it looks more like a cross between a frog and a fish! Like the frogfish, Red Lipped Bat Fish tend to walk along the bottom rather than swim and can be found in the Galapagos Islands between 3-70m deep.
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The #Axolotl -known as a "walking fish", it is not a fish, but an amphibian. They are considered a "critically endangered "species.😧Today there are estimated to be between 700 and 1,200 axolotls in the wild. Learn about the endangered species and protect wildlife habitat💪💪💪Tag a friend to see this🙏 👉🏻Credit: @usausausaphoo Follow us @deepbludivers &upload your #Divelog #Diveon#Divedeepblu
The Axoloti, (also known as the Mexican walking fish), is one of the cutest animals you will find underwater. From it’s sweet face, to its fancy headdress, the Axoloti lives underwater by breathing through it’s gills. They are black, brown or sometimes white, and can grow up to 12 inches long. The most fascinating thing about the Axoloti however is their ability to regenerate severed limbs! Axoloti are found in the lakes and canals of Xochimilco near Mexico City, but unfortunately there are estimated to only be a few hundred left in the wild.
10. Skeleton Shrimp
Like a number of marine life in this article, Skeleton Shrimp are good at camouflage, so it will be hard to spot them. The name is a little deceiving as they are not a shrimp, but the skeleton part of the name is apt as they are very thin enabling them to blend into the background well. They look similar to a praying mantis, are 2-3cm long, have big front claws, come in a variety of colours, and some can even change colour. The strangest thing about the Skeleton Shrimp though, is after mating some females will kill the male! There are over 100 species of Skeleton Shrimp, and they can be found all around the world, often in the shallows.
So keep your eyes peeled next time you go diving, and remember that there are some pretty weird but cool marine life to see in the shallows! If you are looking for some more inspiration regarding unique animal dives, check out our article on 5 wild animals you didn’t know you could swim with!
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About the Author
Amanda and her husband Dean have been certified divers since 2009. Amanda has her advanced open water and Dean is a dive master. They have travelled the world and dived many sites in Australia, Asia, Central America and the Caribbean.
Amanda and Dean have a travel blog called Scatabout which details the fun and unique experiences they have had on their world travels. You can find them doing something adventurous like scuba diving, hiking or something strange like running down the side of a building.
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