There are many bizarre animals in the world, but none as strange as the creatures in the Mariana Trench, the deepest (you guessed it) trench in the world, located in the Philippine Sea. One of these is the blobfish. Another fascinating creature is the dumbo octopus. The third and final animal is the frilled shark. Of course, there are many others living in the deep, but the focus of this article will be on these three. The Mariana Trench has many bizarre creatures that are sure to surprise you.
In 2013, the blobfish became infamous after being voted “world’s ugliest animal”, but most people have no idea why it looks so, well, ugly. blobfish might be basically goop on land, but in its habitat this goopiness is necessary. Blobfish live about 2,800 meters, or 9,200 feet below sea level. For comparison, the Empire State Building is 1,454 feet tall. Swimming to where blobfish live would be like scaling the Empire State Building nine times! That deep, there would be 1,086 bars of pressure. This is more than 1,000 times the pressure humans live in. These animals have many adaptations for dealing with the intense pressure of their home. Their soft bones are less susceptible to cracking under the weight of the ocean. This pressure is the reason for the aforementioned ‘goopiness’. Blobfish do not have a swim bladder, a gas-filled sac in many types of fish used to maintain buoyancy, since changes in pressure could cause the swim bladder to expand, pushing the other organs out the mouth. Blobfish have to instead rely on their flesh to stay floating. This means there is no danger of barfing out insides for blobfish. This advantage for blobfish underwater immediately dissipates when brought to the surface. There is little to none built-in support for the blobfish, so they are only held together by the deep-sea pressure. The adaptations of the blobfish for deep-sea life are what causes the blobfishes’ unflattering appearance.
The dumbo octopus is by far the cutest animal that resides in the Mariana Trench. The scientific name for the dumbo octopus is the Grimpoteuthis. As this adorable, semi-translucent octopus moves through the water, it flaps its ear-like fins just like the famous Disney character, Dumbo. The dumbo octopus is a part of the pelagic umbrella octopus family. The biggest dumbo octopus that’s been found was 5.9 feet long, and it weighed 13 pounds! The average size and weight of a normal octopus is 33 pounds and are 9-16 feet long, so dumbo octopuses are very small. This octopus can change color, but it can’t produce any ink (unlike many other species of octopus). Just like the blobfish, dumbo octopuses shrink when they are brought outside of the water because there isn’t enough pressure to keep them together. Since this cute octopus lives in the deepest part of the ocean, you probably won’t ever encounter them in the wild, so you’ll have to be content with looking at pictures.
The most terrifying animal on our list is the frilled shark. Surprisingly, the frilled shark looks more like an eel than a shark. Although it looks like one, researchers believe that the placement of a frilled shark’s organs would make it impossible for these sharks to swim or hunt like eels. Instead, it is assumed that they move as well as attack their prey like a snake. The frilled shark has also evolved with a unique way of trapping their food. Scarily, inside their mouths are 300 trident-shaped teeth in about 25 rows. These 300 teeth are incredibly thin as well as razor-sharp. They curve inwards, trapping whatever’s unlucky enough to find itself inside the frilled shark’s mouth with only one way to go: down.
Although there are many incredible creatures in the Mariana Trench, this article was only able to focus on the three we thought were the most interesting (and the least horrible to look at). The blobfish, though hideous on land, is able to survive and thrive in the depth. The dumbo octopus has similar adaptations to the latter, as well as its infinite cuteness. Unlike the dumbo octopus, the frilled shark is nowhere near cute. Actually, it’s downright terrifying. Some animals have blobby flesh, while others are strong, but all the creatures in the Mariana Trench have adapted to survive.