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Ocean Conservation
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October 28, 2014

Happy Halloween: Five Scary Creatures of the Deep

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October 28, 2014
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Of all the scary monsters you see out and about on Halloween, there is very little representation of the creatures that inspire terror among sailors, divers and other ocean lovers.  Maybe it’s just too hard to make costumes of sea creatures, with their strange tentacles and fins!  Here are five real monsters of the deep that probably won’t come knocking on your door for treats, but may give you nightmares.  Happy Halloween, everyone!

1. Stone Fish.  You may remember that earlier this year, Gina stepped on a stonefish while surfing in Rincon.  What could be scarier than a fish that camouflages itself as a rock in shallow water and injects lethal poison upon contact? Here’s its cousin, the Reef Stonefish, in its natural habitat in the Indo-Pacific.

2. Giant Isopod. Not dangerous, but certainly very creepy! These can range in size from 7.5 to 14 inches and are carnivorous, scavenging for dead squid and whales. They can go for very long periods without food, and when they finally can grab a meal they tend to feast to the point of immobility.  Here’s a fascinating story about one giant isopod at the Toba Acquarium in Japan that refused to eat for five years.

giant isopod

3. Oarfish. These guys can grow up to 45 feet but they are rarely seen alive, and scientists have differing opinions as to their habits and environs. Some say they are deep water dwellers, others claims the float passively near the surface of the water. As the world’s largest bony fish, oarfish have no known natural predators, which is a good thing as they are apparently not very efficient swimmers. Late last year, two Oarfish (already dead) washed up in Southern California, which may give scientists a chance to learn a little more about them.

Oarfish

Catalina Island Marine Institute, via Associated Press

4. Giant Sea Worm. Now, these are dangerous – but mostly to other fish (though they can grow up to 10 feet long and attack prey much larger than themselves). Sometimes they stow away attached to rocks and make their way into aquariums and pet show.  Pet shop workers in England were wondering how and why so many of their fish were disappearing and it wasn’t until they took their 12 year-old salt water tank out for repair that they discovered the culprit.

giant sea worm

Photo: BPM MEDIA

5. Giant Pacific Octopus. Scarier than the size of this monster (they average about 15 feet in length and weigh about 110 lbs.) is the fact that it’s carnivorous, fearless and smart. They hunt at night, chowing down on shrimp, clams and lobsters, but giant octopi have been known to attack sharks and even birds, using their sharp mouths to tear at their prey’s flesh. In labs, these intelligent creatures have been observed learning how to open jars and solve maze puzzles.

Giant Pacific Octopus

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