A follow up to this week’s Freak, courtesy of Catherine.
A follow up to this week’s Freak, courtesy of Catherine.
Today’s deep sea freaks are the horrible carnivorous sponges of the genus Chondrocladia. Merciless killers, they prefer to dine on fresh human and/or kitten, but generally settle for the tiny crustaceans more commonly found in deep sea trenches.
These sponges’ appendages are covered in tiny Velcro-like hooks which trap prey. Once a victim has been ensnared, the sponge will migrate its cells towards its prey and begin to digest it, gradually engulfing the captured animal.
Today’s Deep Sea Freak of the Week is the Anglerfish. Anglerfish are members of the order Lophiiformes, and are named for their characteristic method of predation. Anglerfishes typically have at least one long filament sprouting from the middle of the head, with some species emitting bioluminescence from the end of the filament to attract prey.
Anglerfish: unlikely to compete for the title of Miss Universe.
The internet explains the life of an male anglerfish far better than I ever could, so I’m going to hand my deep sea responsibilities over to this comic:
This week’s freak is the Striped Pyjama Squid (Sepioloidea lineolata), a cuttlefish from off the coast of eastern, southern and western Australia. The species is also known as the Striped Dumpling Squid, and - along with the blue-ringed octopus and the fabulously-named Pfeffer’s Flamboyant Cuttlefish- is one of the few species of cephalopods known to be poisonous.
A Striped Pyjama Squid allegedly named ‘Mark Norman’.
A Pfeffer’s Flamboyant Cuttlefish, flamboyanting it up.
In recognition of yesterday’s Canada Day, Deep Sea Freak of the Week presents this photograph from the Barkley Canyon, off the coast of British Columbia.
These attractive Canadian freaks are a brittle star (or ophiuroid) climbing on a sea pen.
Brittle stars are closely related to starfish, and have five whip-like arms, used for locomotion:
Sea pens are colony animals consisting of a number of polyps, each resembling a miniature sea anemone:
Today, Deep Sea Freak of the Week celebrates argonauts - a group of pelagic octopuses (also known as paper nautiluses).
Angry argonaut, ‘maneuevered’ by biologist Julian Finn.
Wired Science reported this week that biologists have discovered argonauts use trapped air within their shell cases to float at a comfortable depth. The discovery was apparently made after Melbourne scientist Julian Finn hassled some argonauts, causing them to flail wildly:
In the first reports from scuba observations of wild argonauts, Finn maneuvered Argonauta argo females so air escaped from their cases. The animals flailed as if struggling to maintain their orientation and quickly jetted to the water surface.
A fabulous piece of argonaut art from a sea freak enthusiast.
Today’s freak is the rare and disturbing Blobfish (Psychrolutes marcidus), an inhabitant of the deep waters off the coast of mainland Australia and Tasmania.
Blobfish live at depths where the pressure is several dozens of times higher than at sea level, which would likely make gas bladders inefficient for maintaining buoyancy. Instead, the flesh of the blobfish is primarily a gelatinous mass with a density slightly less than water; this allows the fish to float above the sea floor without expending energy on swimming. Its relative lack of muscle is not a disadvantage as it primarily swallows edible matter that floats by in front of it. - Wikipedia
As Helen is so busy I have been given the task of providing the Deep Sea Freak of the week….Enjoy. - Carlia, Executive Assistant to the Stars
Tasmanian scientists have discovered a new species of jellyfish in Hobart’s River Derwent and given it this sexy name. The species is only a few millimetres wide and scientists say it looks like a flying saucer with a cluster of
spunk tanks, or sex organs, on top.
Sporting a reproductive “skyline,” this new species of jellyfish is like nothing else known under the sea!!
Shaped like flying saucers, both males and females of the new jellyfish have goolies on the outsides of their bodies, unlike any of the approximately 3,000 other jellyfish species known to science. Incase you needed reminding Knackers are the reproductive glands that produce sperm in males and eggs in females.
Arranged in a ring atop the jellyfish, the gonads…..upon very close inspection, resemble “skyscrapers in a downtown business district,” WOW
Harmless to humans, the new jellyfish species measures just 1.5 to 2 millimeters (0.06 to 0.08 inch) across, not the smallest ever known, but clearly the most entertaining!!
Please note - Information contained above may not be factual.
Super Nudibranch Frenzy Friday!
Today’s Deep Sea Freak of the Week celebrates the nudibranch family of sea slugs. Nudibranches are hermaphroditic, largely carnivorous and often spectacular in appearance.
Vulnerable Deep Sea Freaks
One of my snitches has informed me that me that a local resources services firm is doing work to facilitate the dredging of deep sea hydrothermal vents. On average a new deep sea species has been discovered every 10 days since vent ecosystems were first discovered in 1977, yet deep sea ecosystems remain relatively unprotected with no global legal framework for high seas management. The World Wildlife Fund is currently working to establish unprecedented deep sea marine protected areas (MPAs) in a number of jurisdictions, including deep sea vent fields.
Deep Sea Freaks Archive
Wow, deep sea freaks come on the internet now! http://deepseafreakoftheweek.tumblr.com/ Yes, this is how I make up for missing two weeks of freak-posting. All the DSFotW archives, just for you.
Italian and Danish scientists have discovered the first multicellcular deep sea freaks to live entirely without oxygen - a tiny new species called Loricifera.
This raises hopes of encountering Off-Planet Freaks of the Week, in low or zero oxygen environments. (If Off-Planet Freaks are found, there will be a weekly mailout every Tuesday in their honour, so as not to displace Friday’s Deep Sea Freaks.)
From Science Magazine:
"The creatures reside deep in one of the harshest environments on earth: the Mediterranean Ocean’s L’Atalante basin, which contains salt brine so dense that it doesn’t mix with the oxygen-containing waters above. Previous samples taken from the water and sediments in the basin showed that single-celled life was present, but a new study published this week in BMC Biology has identified multi-cellular animals that apparently live and reproduce in the sediments under the salt brine. Italian and Danish researchers describe three new species of tiny animals called Loricifera. The animals took up radioactively tagged leucine (an amino acid), and a fluorescent probe that labels living cells, evidence that they were alive when they were collected.
The researchers also found examples of individuals that contained eggs and evidence of apparent molting, which led them to conclude that the animals spend their whole lives in the harsh sediments. The creature’s cells apparently lack mitochondria, the organelles that use oxygen to power a cell. Instead they are rich in what seem to be hydrogenosomes, organelles that can do a similar job in anaerobic (or oxygen free) environments. The find could help scientists understand what life might have looked like in the earth’s early oceans, which also had very little oxygen.”
Today’s freak, a Giant Isopod, was found attached to a robotic submersible at a depth of 8,500ft.
Giant Isopods are scavengers who feed on dead whales, fish and squid, and may also prey on slow moving sea cucumbers and sponges. Like [divisional name redacted -ed] staff at a quarterly function, when a significant source of food is encountered, giant isopods gorge themselves to the point of compromising their locomotive ability.
Here are some Giant Isopods engaging with a packet of Doritos during Friday drinks:
Happy Friday! Today’s freak is the freaky Sea Spider. In Antarctica, they are said to grow ‘exceptionally large’, according to Some Guy Called Norbert From The Internet.
“Most pycnogonids or sea spiders are just 1-10mm long, but in Antarctica, they can grow to the size of a human hand. In the extreme cold, where metabolisms are slow and there are relatively few predators, many invertebrates grow exceptionally large and live years longer than similar species in warmer waters.”
“Many of the 1,000 or so pycnogonid species worldwide feed on encrusting animals such as corals, anemones, bryozoans, and sponges. Their bodies are miniscule, and their gut and reproductive organs extend almost to the tip of each limb.” -Norbert Wu
Today’s freak, is Elysia chlorotica, a species of green sea slug.
Some facts about this freak:
Here are some pictures of the slug cruising around, looking hungry and hanging about against a dark backdrop:
It’s been so long between Deep Sea Freak of the Week emails that some of us have never even experienced one, and for this I humbly apologise.
Today’s freak, provided for the enhancement of your Friday afternoon, is a newly discovered species of deep sea worm.
Last year, researchers in the Gulf of Mexico lifted the creature from 990m below sea level, only to discover crude oil streaming both from the worm and the open hole. The worm had been feeding on chemicals from decomposing oil, reported scientists in a press statement.
Oil Eating Worm Freak