Weirdest deep-sea animals

Lurking beneath the waves of the earth's oceans are a range of creatures so terrifying and strange you'd think they'd been created in the pages of a science fiction novel.
Think mammals with flippers, furry crabs and big-fanged fish and an octopus that can change its appearance. Some are gentle giants, others are small and venomous, but all are extraordinary looking. Most live deep down in the depths of the ocean and many have rarely been seen in the flesh by humans.

 The giant scale worm is native to the Antarctic and has the ability to roll its throat and jaws out of its mouth when it wants to feed

The giant scale worm looks like something imagined for fiction, but this diminutive species is alive and kicking under the sea
The stargazer fish, found in the Red Sea and the Atlantic Ocean as well as waters surrounding Indonesia, is so called because of its eyes, which are perched on top of its head.  Burying themselves beneath the sand on the ocean floor before ambushing their prey makes the stargazer a formidable, ruthless predator

The fangtooth is a deep ocean predator. Its long teeth make sure it does not miss a meal of fishes, squid or shrimp. It can be found throughout the world in temperate and tropical ocean regions including the waters off the coast of Australia

The flamingo tongue snail is a common feature of many Caribbean and Atlantic coral reefs. Its vivid appearance makes it much-coveted by shell collectors although in fact the shell itself is white - it's the animal within that produces the distinctive pattern and colour

The manatee - or sea cow - is a peaceful marine mammal that lives in the shallow coastal waters of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, West Africa and the Amazon Basin. It uses thick paddle-shaped flippers to move about

The frilled shark is the stuff of nightmares and exists widely across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, however, given that it has rarely been seen alive at the ocean's surface you're unlikely to encounter its frighteningly sharp teeth in person

This pancake urchin, found across the Atlantic Ocean, boasts eight paddle-like spines as well as countless slimmer needles. These urchins are very fragile and when taken out of the sea will collapse flat

The blobfish, found in Australia and New Zealand, has been voted the 'world's ugliest animal' by Britain's Ugly Animal Preservation Society

The deadly blue ringed octopus contains enough venom to kill 26 adult humans within minutes, despite only measuring between 12 and 26cm. They are found in the tide pools and coral reefs of the Pacific and Indian Oceans

The Napoleon wrasse is so-called on account of the lump of flesh on its head in the shape of a Napoleon hat. It is a huge reef fish which can grow to over six feet in length, however despite its size this is a gentle, friendly species. It is found in oceans all over the world, but is especially common in the Red Sea and the Maldives

 Found along the southern and western coasts of Australia, the leafy sea dragon is named after the leaf-like protrusions that grow on its body as camouflage. Growing to between 20 and 24cm, it is a little larger than most seahorses

 The viperfish lives in the North Atlantic. It has fangs so large they don't even fit in its mouth, making it a deadly predator

The hatchetfish gets its name from its distinctive hatchet-shape. Found in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans, they are one of the many deep sea creatures that have the ability to create their own light through a process known as bioluminescence

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