5. Giant Japanese Spider Crab
Have you ever looked at a crab and thought, what could this thing do if it were 13 feet long? The giant Japanese spider crab has eight legs and two claws that look more like stilts than limbs. Although they’re technically arthropods, they look like giant underwater spiders with shells. Be careful if you’re swimming in the Pacific. When the females head up to spawn, they’re found as shallow as 165 feet deep.
4. Megamouth Shark
The megamouth shark was only discovered in 1976 and is so rare that only a few dozen have ever been confirmed. One of three filter-feeding sharks, the deep-sea dweller has a screen on its mouth to catch plankton and jellyfish, just like its larger relative, the whale shark. With tiny teeth in an enormous mouth, the giant is so weird that a whole new genus and family were created just for it. Recently, fishermen actually caught one in the Philippines that weighed more than a half ton. Despite the objections of scientists, they boiled it in coconut milk and ate it.
3. Dana Octopus Squid
Part animal, part spaceship, the Dana octopus squid can use the flashing lights on its body to attract mates or to distract prey. Recently caught on video for the first time, the eight-armed squid revealed itself when it tried to communicate with the torches on a deep-sea camera. If you happen to be 3,084 feet down and bump into one, be careful before you try to catch one for calamari. The scientists who filmed it confirmed that it is a swift, agile, aggressive hunter.
2. Umbrella Mouth Gulper Eel
Also called the pelican eel, the umbrella mouth gulper is a mouth with a tail that looks like it came out of a Tim Burton movie. Its mouth is larger than its body—yeah, take that in for a minute—and can unhinge like a snake’s jaw to gobble up super-sized meals. Don’t worry, it won’t get indigestion. Its stomach can stretch to accommodate anything it can swallow. The umbrella mouth munches on squid and crustaceans when it’s not being eaten itself by lancet fish.
1. Giant Isopod
Imagine a cockroach the size of a football—but uglier. You’ve just met the giant isopod. This egg-laying, shelled, carnivorous crustacean trolls the sea floor scavenging marine carcasses and hunting down anything slow enough to meet its unfortunate end in its buzz-saw mouth. Like many species that live in the depths, including his giant squid and giant sea worm neighbors, it is the largest of its kind. Not weird enough for you? The warm and cozy place it calls home is the ocean’s bathypelagic zone—it thrives as far as 7,020 feet under the surface.