Good lord! To be fair, it’s possible that I’m mistaking “ugly” for “terrifying” with this one. Is that a sword on its head? Will it kill me? Probably not, actually. It lives too deep in the ocean to have any interactions with humans. That
head-sword long snout is covered with little electroreceptors called ampullae of Lorenzini that allow it to sense tiny electrical fields emitted by its prey. When prey is detected, the goblin shark pops its jaw out and chomps.
Seriously. Nothing should be able to do that.
The anglerfish might be scary or just curious, depending on where you meet it. If you meet it at an aquarium, no problem. If you meet it in its natural habitat… Well, you might pee your pants. Okay, I might pee my pants. Look at it, all glowy and terrifying.
You might guess why the anglerfish is named so; it’s because of how it hunts. The anglerfish grows a long spine (it’s actually a modified dorsal fin) with a fleshy growth on the end. The fish wiggles that around the water so it looks like another animal’s prey. Once the anglerfish’s prey is within reach, chomp! Fool me once, you get eaten by an anglerfish, I guess.
Can we agree that, for all its virtues, the hagfish is one of the grossest things on the planet? It’s otherwise known as a slime eel for a reason. Even though it’s super gross, the slime the hagfish produces is actually a pretty good defense strategy. When it’s captured or held, the 100 glands that run along its body spring into action and produce a viscous mucus. When combined with water, this snot can expand to over five gallons. Yeah. Five gallons of snot in the ocean. Oh man, I’m so grossed out.
If the deluge of mucus doesn’t result in their freedom, the hagfish have another trick up their sleeve. They can tie themselves in a knot, which scraps off the slime and frees them from their captor.
Here’s to the ugly animals! You are deceptively awesome.
Photo Credit: NOAA
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