10 Real Sea Creatures Lifted Directly from Your Nightmares

Any fan of this site knows that the core of our mission statement is "Nature is terrifying and you should only leave the house if it's an emergency." But in the course of our relentless examination of horrifying insects and vicious predators, we have to say that consistently all of them pale in comparison to the stuff that lives in the water. The ocean is the earth's last frontier, and just as we always suspected, it's full of sea monsters. Like ...

#10. The Fish That Looks Like the Predator


Well, it has the Predator's mouth, anyway. In some ways, the sarcastic fringehead (yes, that's its actual name) is more horrifying, because before it opens its mouth, it just looks like a regular fish with old geezer jowls ...

The Featured Creature
If reincarnation is real, this is what Nixon's coming back as.

... before its entire face opens up into a gaping sprawl of predatory terror. Sarcastic fringeheads are incredibly territorial, by the way, and they use their enormous jaws to battle each other in a ritual that looks like two parachutes trying to make out:

And no, we don't know why they are called that. They don't look very sarcastic to us, but their name makes them seem less frightening and a lot more douchey.

"No, dude, totally, eat all my fries, I didn't pay for them or anything."

#9. The Venus Flytrap of the Sea


They look like something you'd find in a meteor impact crater, but really, predatory tunicates are a kind of sea squirt that live in deep-sea canyons off California. What sets them apart from their placid sea squirt cousins is that the predatory tunicate is like an underwater Venus flytrap -- it sits there, rooted in place, waiting for some unwitting prey to pass close to its gaping, incandescent mouth, and then snatches it up. With that kind of diet, they can't afford to be very picky.

All The Sea
"Zooplankton, again?"

In addition to looking like aliens from a SyFy movie about creatures that bite the dicks off passing swimmers, the tunicates can have sex with themselves if they can't find another to mate with. Which is helpful since, you know, they're stuck to the ground. What else are you going to do to fight the boredom?

#8. The Fish That Kills from Below


That monstrosity is called a northern stargazer. OK, whose goddamned idea was it to call it that? The word "stargazer" brings to mind some wispy fish with bright hippie colors and big cartoon eyes; this looks like the mud has spontaneously grown a face. Well, you know who else gazes up at the stars? The devil, from his throne in hell, apparently.

The northern stargazer is actually a kind of fish, if you can believe that. Most of it exists under the mud, so you can normally only see the horrible bits.

"Go ahead, Scooter, get a real close look. I dare you."

The northern stargazer has its eyes and mouth on top of its head due to its feeding strategy -- when it feels like a snack, it buries itself in the dirt in as little as four seconds flat, becoming nothing but a grimacing skull-face in the mud. When something tasty swims by overhead, the last thing it ever sees is something out of Jim Henson's nightmares.

The Featured Creature
"For the last time, I am not the Pumpkin King!"

Wait, did we say that last thing looked like a monster from a SyFy movie about a creature that bites the dicks off passing swimmers? Because we clearly spoke too soon. Look at the expression on that thing's face! It wants to eat your junk!

As if that wasn't bad enough, they apparently have organs above their eyes that can emit electrical shocks. Thanks, Nature!

"Don't mention it. Wait until you see the rape-sharks I'm cooking up."

#7. The Shark That Looks Like a Throw Rug

National Geographic

OK, what are we looking at here? Is that a plant? Whatever it is, it's coming unraveled around the edges.

That is the carpet shark, which also goes by the ridiculous name of tasseled wobbegong. It obviously gets its name from the fact that it looks like a throw rug, except that it's a throw rug full of jagged teeth that will eat the shit out of you. It's like a welcome mat for the ocean that also hates you. Here's one that's in the process of swallowing another shark whole, face-first:

National Geographic
It's basically a giant, mossy, amphibious condom.

When photographers came across this shark-on-shark action, at first they figured that there was only one shark on the scene, and that its head was somehow obscured from view. And it wasn't moving, so maybe it was asleep or something. Luckily, the reality is less frightening than their next thought, which was that the seabed had become sentient and rose up to swallow a shark whole.

"The shark eats you, I eat the shark, nothing in the goddamn ocean touches me. Circle of life."

#6. The 56-Foot-Long Fish


The giant oarfish, or "King of Herrings," as it's referred to by the lower-class herrings, is the world's longest bony fish. How long is it? Above is one being carried by a contingent of Navy SEALs, who probably had to do battle with it at some point. It's extremely rare, and most of the specimens found have been dead. But dead is exactly the way we like a monster that looks like it could deep-throat an oak tree.

At up to 56 feet long, scientists speculate that the giant oarfish may have been the source of the sea serpent legend -- hey, we told you sea monsters were real. And speaking of which ...

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