Top Six Weirdest Sea Creatures to Wash up Ashore
Many beachgoers were perplexed when they came upon a stranded animal!
The oceans are full of strange, interesting, and frightening creatures of all sizes and shapes. The weirdest species tend to lurk deep below the waters, but they occasionally wash up on the beach to haunt everyone’s nightmares.
For those who enjoy a good scare, here is a closer look at the top six weirdest sea creatures to wash ashore.
1. Angler fish
At the top of the list is something straight out of an alien invasion movie. The anglerfish is arguably the creepiest fish in the water, thanks to its sharp teeth and a head topped with a bioluminescent bulb. Over 200 species of anglerfish exist, but the Pacific Football Fish is the sub-species that receive the most attention.
The male members of the species only grow to about an inch long while the female football fish can reach up to two feet long and about 24 pounds(10 kg). One specimen recently washed ashore at Crystal Cove State Park in Orange County, California.
Staff at the state park were shocked, as intact anglerfish rarely end up on the shore. Most people were likely terrified or fascinated after witnessing such a strange creature.
2. Giant Squid
As the name suggests, the giant squid is a large species of squid. It is found throughout all the world’s oceans and has washed ashore on numerous occasions. A fully intact baby giant squid washed up in South Africa in 2020. The longest tentacle measured 14 feet, but the specimen was only a year or two old.
Scientists estimate that female giant squids can reach up to 43 feet (13 m) in length. Males may grow to 33 feet from the top of the posterior fins to the tip of the two long tentacles. After coming across the baby giant squid on the beach, one woman’s first thought was to help it back into the ocean. Upon further review, she could tell that it was dead.
The oarfish has an elongated body, reaching up to 26 feet (8 m) in length. These strange fish may also be the origin of various sea serpent tales, as they tend to surface when dying. Oarfish belong to the lampriform family of ray-finned fish and are found
in tropical waters. They mostly live at depths of 200 to 1000 meters and are considered the longest bony fish alive.
In 2020, a group of beachgoers discovered a 20-foot oarfish on the shore of a Mexican beach. It was the second sighting in six weeks. The travelers were excited to find the fish and posed for pictures with their discovery.
4. Fat Innkeeper Worm
Orechis unicinctus, known as the fat innkeeper worm, is a species of marine spoon worm found in the waters of East Asia. The fat innkeeper worm is also known as the pe**s fish due to its long, cylindrical shape and bulbed proboscis. Unlike the previous creatures, the fat innkeeper worm only reaches up to 12 inches (30.5 centimeters).
Yet, seeing a group of these worms on the beach is likely to cause a fright. Groups of fat innkeeper worms occasionally wash ashore on the coasts of Japan. However, one of the largest sightings occurred on a California beach. Photos of thousands of worms stretching across the beach quickly spread across the Internet.
5. Heart Urchins
Heart urchins, or sea potatoes, are a type of sea urchin found in sub-tidal regions of the Northeast Atlantic Ocean. They are heart-shaped and covered in a mat of yellowish spines. The spines can grow long enough to make the urchins resemble deep-sea furballs.
Heart urchins are typically found on the sandy seafloor at depths of about 230 meters. They also burrow up to 15 centimeters into the sand. When the urchins die, their spines gradually fall away, leaving a dried-up shell. The shells occasionally wash ashore, such as when hundreds of heart urchins appeared on a beach in Cornwall, England. Locals were baffled and alarmed by the strange creatures.
Lancetfish have one of the strangest profiles of any fish. The mouth is wide and extends to the back of the eye. It also has a slender body with an extremely tall dorsal fin. Lancetfish are also among the largest bathypelagic species, which includes species that live in waters 3300 to 9800 feet below the surface.
While lancetfish live thousands of feet below the water, they sometimes wash ashore. Residents of Washington and Oregon along the West Coast may occasionally see lancetfish on the beaches. People in the Pacific Northwest have found lancetfish measuring up to seven feet long and weighing up to 20 pounds (9 kg).
You have now explored six of the weirdest creatures of the deep sea, but keep in mind that millions more may exist. Scientists have identified over 240,000 species in the ocean. They also suspect that over two million species have yet to be discovered.
The next time you dive into the ocean, try not to think too hard about the creatures on this list. The ocean is also full of cute fish, such as clownfish or damselfish.