As it’s Halloween today we have put together a light hearted list of some ‘Halloween horrors’ that can be found in the deep blue. Here is a countdown of some of our favourite ‘Horrors of the Deep’….
8. The Piranha
The Piranha is the subject of many a horror film and although a fresh water fish this feisty fish just couldn’t be left off our list. With many an urban legend, of how the Piranha can strip a human of all flesh in seconds it’s no wonder that these guys have a bad rep.
The fact is only certain types of Piranha – such as the Red Bellied Piranha are carnivorous and actually have the clichéd massive gnashers and sometimes cannibalistic tendencies. So we’ve put the Piranha at number 8 in our top.
7. The Goblin Shark
We usually don’t like to put sharks in the ‘Scary’ category as there are so many misleading ideas about Sharks already circulating. However this particularly shark certainly won’t win any beauty contests and is definitely scary looking enough to make our Top 8 Halloween Horrors of the Deep!
The Goblin shark, so named for its good looks, lives 100 meters down, in the depths of the ocean and is very rare species indeed. Rarely encountered by humans this character is certainly one of a kind. So we decided the Goblin Shark is at number 7.
6. The Vampire Squid
Halloween is after all our theme, so we couldn’t leave out our next contender. At number 6 is the Vampire Squid. Its latin name is Vampyroteuthis infernalis, literally translated as vampire squid from hell! Named for the dark red hue much like the colour of blood, the vampire squid from hell is actually a fairly docile creature feeding mainly on marine snow that falls from the upper layers of the ocean.
5. The Japanese Spider Crab
Number 5 in our scary sea creature countdown, living off the coast of Japan is the Japanese Spider Crab. It’s not so much as its evil way of catching pray, or where it lives that makes it scary, its more the fact that it is sometimes, (more appropriately in my mind), known as the GIANT SPIDER Crab.
The clue is in the name – enough said.
4. The Box Jelly Fish
The Box Jellyfish is next on our list, and in contrast to the Goblin Shark this jelly is quite pretty. So what makes it so scary? As well as pretty serious? The box jelly has a small cubed shaped body, but its tentacles are what you have to be aware of.
While the body is often only a few inches in length and width a Box Jelly fish tentacles can be meters long and they are highly venomous. In extreme cases their sting can kill if you were to become entangled.
3. Indian Walkman
At number 3 is the Indian Ocean Walkman (Inimicus didactylus) also known as the Demon Stinger fish, Scorpion fish, Devil Stinger fish or Bearded Ghoul. Wow! The names alone paint a picture of horror!
I say never trust someone with two first names. I would also say never trust someone with as many names as this fish. These guys can be found in the warmer waters of the Indo Pacific.
So how does this guy make it onto our ‘Scary Fish’ list?
Apart from being masters of camouflage they are also extremely venomous, kneel or stand on one of these guys by accident and you will sure know about it! They also have massive mouths that can eat prey that are over half the size of the walkman itself. And they are not particularly good looking either!
2. The Payara
There are creatures on this Earth so horrific that they strain the boundaries of human imagination. The Payara is so unearthly and shocking that it might be explained as Count Dracula in fish form, or an aquatic sabre toothed tiger.
Growing up to 4 feet in length and weighing up to 30 pounds, the little known Payara or ‘Vampire Characin’ possesses fangs up to 6 inches in length which it sinks into aquatic animals in ferocious lunging attacks, sensing the location of internal organs as it precisely drives in its fangs.
OK, so this one isn’t a sea creature as such, usually found in fresh water rivers, but we thought it was that ghoulish it would be rude not too be included!
But is the Payara the scariest monster of the deep? We think not, and the Payara comes in at number 2.
The monstrous looking, deep sea Anglerfish is a fish straight from your worst nightmare. Protruding from the head is almost literally a fishing line, made more alluring by its bright bioluminescent light. It can also shrink itself to make it appear to other fish as prey, so that when an unsuspecting victim stays close enough the anglerfish devours them whole.
The cavernous mouth extends right around the Anglerfish’s head, its jaws armed with long, pointed, inward-folding teeth that allow easy access to the stomach but no escape from the mouth. This machine-like predator can expand its jaw and stomach to a huge size, enabling it to gulp down prey even bigger than itself.
It’s probably a good thing for us that this fiend, also known as the ‘sea devil’, is found at depths of 3,300-6,600 ft. As far as we’re concerned, coming in at number 1 on the list, it can stay there..!!
And finally, just for fun (or not as the case may be) – The MEGALODON!
Author: Nina Horne (PADI DM #355693)