Pink Sea-Through Fantasia
Its name makes it sound like a piece of sexy lingerie, but don't be fooled: The pink see-through fantasia is a sea cucumber, found about a mile and a half deep in the Celebes Sea in the western Pacific (east of Borneo).
Found in the Celebes Sea, this worm is, well ... this worm seems confused. Scientists call it a squidworm. (No, not Squidward.)
Christmas Tree Worm
Scientists found this strange creature at the Great Barrier Reef's Lizard Island and named it, aptly, the Christmas tree worm. One better might have been "fake plastic Christmas tree worm," but it's still a pretty good name. (Scientists also refer to it as Spirobranchus giganteus). The spiral "branches" are actually the worm's breathing and feeding apparatus. The worm itself lives in a tube, and it can withdraw its tree-like crowns if threatened.
We wouldn't be surprised to find that sea angels are in the same family as, say, the mythological Sirens. They're called angels, but are actually a predatory sea snail. This particular specimen, Platybrachium antarcticum, "flies through the deep Antarctic waters hunting the shelled pteropods (another type of snail) on which it feeds," according to the Marine Census of Life.
Bay of Cadiz Polyp
This new polyp species,Tubiclavoides striatum, was found on mud volcanoes, inactive carbonate chimneys, and cold-water strands in the Gulf of Cadiz (part of the Atlantic bordering Portugal, Spain and Morocco).
The acantharians are one of the four types of large amoebae that occur in marine open waters. "Large" in this case is relative, as this microscopic creature is have skeletons made of a single crystal of strontium sulfate that quickly dissolves in the ocean water after the cell dies. Together with other microscopic organisms, though, amoebas like this account for most of the biomass on Earth.
Like a multi-stage rocket, this bizarre microscopic creature, Marrus orthocanna is made up of multiple repeated units, including tentacles and multiple stomachs. Never heard of a physonect siphonophore? That's what this is. It's something like a jellyfish, and is more closely related to the Portugese man o'war. One interesting thing about it: Like ants, a colony made up of many individuals has attributes resembling a single organism.
A virus? An alien? Nope. It's a Munnopsis isopod crustacean, and even scientists haven't figured out more than that about this deep Southern Ocean denizen, yet. Isopods are ancient creatures (they've been on Earth, in one form or another, for 300 million years or so). They have seven pairs of legs and on land, you might be familiar with their cousins, the pill bugs. Nothing on land (and little in water) looks like this guy, though.
There's no other snail in the world armored like the Crysomallon squamiferum, which was found over a hydrothermal vent deep in the Indian Ocean. The multilayered structure of the shell is called "unlike any other known natural or synthetic engineered armor."
One of the few known octopods known to be bioluminescent (glow with its own light) this Stauroteuthis syrtensis octopus was found about a half mile deep in the Gulf of Maine. Photophores (light-emitting organs) may be positioned to fool prey into swimming right into the mouth of the hunter.
Flamingo Tongue Snail
With a name like Flamingo tongue snail, and the flamboyant coloration to match, you might think that this Cyphoma gibbosum has a shell worthy of collecting. Not so. All its color comes from the soft parts of its body, which envelope its shell unless it's threatened. This specimen was photographed feeding on soft corrals near Grand Cayman in the British West Indies.
It lives in Monterey Bay and is called the vampire squid (and it appears to deserve the name). What else do you need to know?
Found along the southwestern coast of Australia, the leafy seadragon, Phycodurus eques, uses its fins not only to propel it through the water, but as camouflage to resemble a piece of drifting seaweed.
Ceratonotus steiningeri Copepod
Scientists first discovered this tiny copepod, Ceratonotus steiningeri, in 2006, 17,700 feet deep in the Angola Basin, a portion of the south-central Atlantic Ocean. Then they found it again, in the southeastern Atlantic, and then again, 8,000 miles away in the central Pacific. Now, they're trying to figure out how such a tiny thing (half a millimeter long) could be so widespread, and yet have eluded detection for so long. Copepods are tiny crustaceans that form an important part of the marine food web: In other words, a lot of other creatures eat them.
Scientists call this fish Psychrolutes microporos, but also, more directly, "Fathead."
Crossota Norvegica Jellyfish
Crossota norvegica, a jellyfish, collected from the deep Arctic Canada Basin.
Kiwa, God of Shellfish, Crab
This furry-clawed crab appeared so unusual when scientists discovered it 5,000-feet deep on a hydrothermal vent south of Easter Island that they designated it not only a new genus, Kiwa, but a new family, Kiwidae both named for the mythological Polynesian goddess of shellfish. It's likely blind and may use bacteria in its furry claws to de-toxify its food.
What do you get when a whale dies at sea? (It's not a joke or riddle.) You get a feast, if you're a polychaete worm like this newly discovered Vigtorniella found a about a half mile down on the floor of Sagami Bay, Japan.
Terrible Claw Lobster
Named Dinochelus ausubeli for its "terrible or fearful" (dinos in Greek) claws (chela) this new species of blind lobster joins a very small list of cousins in sthe genus Thaumastochelopsis. Only four other individuals, in two species, had been found previously, both in Australia. The specimen was collected during the Aurora mission in 2007 led by the U.S. and French natural history museums, and the Philippines Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources. That second part of its name, ausubeli is also significant: It's in honor of Jesse Ausubel, a co-founder of the Census of Marine Life.
Pycnogonid Sea Spider
Found in the Antarctic, this male pycnogonid spider (or a distant relative of a spider, anyway) is bearing its own eggs. See more bizarre Antarctic sea creatures.
The Dumbo Octopus
This Grimpoteuthis octopus found over the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, is affectionately called Dumbo because of the way it flaps its ear-like fins to swim.
This hydromedusa, Bathykorus bouilloni, is common in the deep waters of the Arctic, about 3,300-feet deep. No one knew it, until robotic submarines investigated, though.
Golden Lace Nudibranch
Something like a snail without a shell, nudibranch molluscs are known for their bright colors. This golden lace nudibranch, Halgerda terramtuentiss, was collected in the waters of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.
Hydrothermal Vent Snail
Another hydrothermal vent snail, this Alviniconcha snail was found at the Suiyo Seamount of the Tokyo Hydrothermal Vent. It's the only individual of its kind ever discovered.
Jewelled Umbrella Squid
This jewelled umbrella squid, Histioteuthis bonnellii, is found a mile deep or deeper above the mid-Atlantic Ridge.
Delicate Claw Crustacean
This newly discovered species of crustaceans known for its delicate claws, Leptocheliidae sensu lato, was found near the Great Barrier Reef's Lizard Island.
Lizard Island Octopus
Another striking specimen discovered by the Marine Census of Life at the Great Barrier Reef's Lizard Island was this octopus.
One of many new amphipods discovered by the Marine Census of Life, this Lysianassoid amphipod inhabits the waters near Elephant Island in the Antarctic. Like other tiny crustaceans, amphipods are a big source of food for larger creatures of the deep. See more bizarre Antarctic sea creatures.
This potentially new species of Metapseudes was found in abundance among the coral rubble at Ningaloo, Western Australia. What is it, exactly? Well, it's an arthropod, meaning it's somewhat related to insects, crustaceans, spiders, scorpions, and centipedes. Of course, that's not saying much, since there are more arthropod species on Earth than all other phyla combined.
You can't really beat the description of this creature from the Census of Marine Life: "Exceeding two meters in length, the Napoleon Wrasse (Cheilinus undulatus) is one of the largest reef fish found in the warm waters of the Indian and Pacific oceans. The intricate blue-green design that decorates the face resembles New Zealand Maori war paint, which is the root of its alternative name, the Maori Wrasse. The designs are also unique to each individual, much like fingerprints. A protogynous hermaphrodite, this wrasse can change its sex from female to male."
The image of swarms of sea nettles like these Chrysaora fuscescens in Monterey Bay, California, is so intense that they've been bred for aquariums. They do have a sting, though it's rarely a health risk for humans.