From the side, this mole only looks a bit odd, but seen head-on, it can be quite startling. It is considered by numerous people to be incredibly ugly with its odd tentacle-like nose. In reality, the 11 pairs of appendages on the snout are quite amazing. They contain over 25,000 sensory receptors which are called Eimer’s organs. This is the critter’s main sensory apparatus, and it is so fine-tuned that scientists believe it can detect seismic waves. There’s nothing really ugly about the star-nose mole. It’s just different, and its own weird way, quite cute.
Voted as the world’s ugliest animal, the blob fish is actually a pretty harmless creature…Don’t let the permanent, miserable scowl on its face fool you. Blob fish are found as deep as 300 meters or more, meaning that they can be subject to severe decompression when they are pulled out from the waters to the surface. Blobfish don’t have swim bladders but do have very soft bones. That makes sense for an animal that lives in the crushing pressures of the deep sea, allowing the fish to compress without cracking their bones. But up at the surface the fish seems jellylike and basically collapses, distorting its features.
Despite its reddish hue and cape-like webbing that may call Count Dracula to mind, Vampyroteuthis infernalis is harmless. This deep-dwelling species — typically living in 2,000 to 4,000 feet of water — can flip its webbing inside out as a form of protection, revealing rows of soft tooth-like spines called cirri. This scaredy-cat is a far cry from all other cephalopods, which hunt live animals.
The daintily named sea pig is actually a kind of locally abundant sea cucumber that inhabits the world’s abyssal plains up to 3.7 miles beneath the surface. It gets its name from a characteristic pink, eggplant-shaped body and bloated legs that give it a porcine appearance. Like their shallower cucumber cousins, sea pigs play an important role in marine ecosystems. They feed on detritus that falls to the seafloor from the rich waters above, whether plankton or a whale carcass. They walk along on a few large tube feet, using a combination of muscle contractions and body fluids. Modified pairs of legs can act as antennae to detect food.
×