These 34 Rare Sea Animals Seem To Come From Another World

by Julia Lynn Rubin

We have only explored about 5% of our planet’s oceans, meaning there are still millions of rare sea animals left for us to discover.

It’s hard to believe there are so many creatures out there that scientists have never ever seen or heard of. Either way, there are tons of incredible animals out there for us to explore and learn more about each and every day.

Some creatures are cute and cuddly. Others are the stuff of nightmares! But no matter how comprehensive a collection we back up with, we’d only be scratching the surface (of the ocean). It would be impossible to know about every creature, but believe us, scientists never stop exploring.

A massive 95% of the world’s oceans have yet to be explored. There’s no telling what’s lurking in the rest of the waters that humankind has left to discover.

Here are some of the strangest, and the most beautiful alien-like creatures that seem to come from another world.


water bear sea animals

Also known as “water bears,” these incredible, microscopic animals can survive in all of the Earth’s extreme conditions, and even in outer space! They’re so indestructible they can even live in a pot of boiling water. These guys are so tiny, you’ll probably never see them.


siphonophore sea animals

Siphonophores are composed of medusoid and polypoid zooids. There are about 175 different species of these creatures. Some of them can grow up to 40 meters (130 feet) long. Incredible!

Frilled Shark

frilled shark sea animals

With its many primitive features, this rare shark is often called a “living fossil.” He certainly looks prehistoric! This creature gets his name for his puffed-up appearance and has most of his fins toward the back of his body.

Goose Barnacle

goose barnacle

No one seems to know what this is or where it came from, and it shocked vacationers when it washed up on the Gower Peninsula in Wales back in 2010. Six feet long and covered in shells, this goose barnacle is certainly a strange sight to behold. He’s a filter feeder, which makes him important for the environment.

Pink Sea-Through Fantasia

pink fantasia jellyfish

Only recently discovered, this incredible creature is a free-swimming sea cucumber found in the Celebes Sea, a remote area of the western Pacific Ocean. It’s completely transparent so you can see everything this guy has to offer. He has a gorgeous bright pink color, making him quite the deep sea sight. Float on, little guy. Float on.

Christmas Tree Worm

Christmas tree worm

These tube-building polychaete worms have multicolored spirals that serve as feeding and respiration structures. Definitely not as pretty as a Christmas tree, but still an amazing ocean find!

Marrus Orthocanna

marrus orthocanna

This colonial animal is composed of a complex arrangement of zooids, some of which are polyps and some medusae. At its front is an orange-colored, gas-filled float that looks like fire. As a whole, this creature almost resembles a bunch of grapes or blueberries.

Dumbo Octopus

dumbo octopus

An umbrella octopus that lives in the deep sea, the Dumbo octopus has ear-like fins and can live up to 23,000 feet below sea level. He uses his huge ears to propel him through the water. It’s pretty clear where his clever name comes from!



You wouldn’t want to run into this guy on a scuba diving trip! He’s a creepy deep sea creatures and one of the ocean’s fiercest predators. He uses fang-like teeth to immobilize prey. Yikes!

Australian Ghost Shark

ghost shark

Also known as an elephant fish, whitefish, or plownose chimaera, this shark is found off southern Australia, including Tasmania, and south of East Cape and Kaipara Harbour in New Zealand. He uses his snout to probe for food. He’s definitely one of the cuter guys on this list with his happy elephant smile.

Basket Star

basket star

These brittle stars generally are found in deep-sea habitats and can live up to 35 years in the wild. They are quite durable and an incredible sight to see. But like many of the other creatures on this list, they lurk well below the ocean’s surface, so you’re chances of an encounter are rare.

Vampire Squid

vampire squid

This small, deep-sea cephalopod lives in lightless depths up to 3,000 feet below sea level. He has a very soft body. This creature is able to live and breathe normally in a remote habitat known as the as the oxygen minimum zone.

Whale Shark

whale shark

This slow-moving filter feeder shark resembles a whale because he’s so round and huge. But he’s actually a fish, and can live up to 70 years in the wild. He’s pretty huge and noted as the largest living nonmammilian invertebrate.

Goblin Shark

goblin shark

These sharks are rare and poorly understood, with a fascinating lineage of around 125 million years. They only grow up to about 12 feet but their weight can be massive. They can weigh up to 460 pounds.

Torquaratoridae Hemichordata

Torquaratoridae Hemichordata

This deep-sea creature is part of the Ptychopteridae family. It often appears in gorgeous bright colors. It has a soft body and moves like a jellyfish.

Mystery Creature

Mystery Creature

This creature looks incredible, but it hasn’t yet been identified or classified. It’s amazing how many unknown creatures are lurking in the deep blue sea.

Deep Sea Jellyfish

deep sea jellyfish

Deep sea jellyfish come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, and are found in every ocean in the world. Still, this deep sea version is pretty hard to come by because they live way down deep. Scientists love to catch a glimpse of them because the colors are so bright and gorgeous.

Phronima Sedentaria

Phronima sedentaria

Known as as a pram bug, this species of amphipod crustacean lives in depths of up to 3,000 feet. He’s see-though and totally weird. And gross. He carves him home from the guts of another animal.


2 narwals

The narwhal is a really interesting creature. And no, they’re not swimming unicorns, but they certainly look like they could be! Those long, nerve-filled tusks help the narwhal better sense its environment. They look a bit odd, but they’re super important to helping him get around.

Mantis Shrimp

mantis shrimp

These bizarre and colorful-looking shrimp have 12 color receptors in their eyes, as compared to the three we humans possess. It’s a gorgeous and creepy-looking animal. But you’ll probably never see one because he resides too deep in the ocean.

Promachoteuthis Sulcus


Yes, those are chompers you’re seeing on this deep sea squid, which was found 6,000 feet below sea level. It was discovered by a German research vessel in the southern Atlantic Ocean. He’s a pretty frightening guy — he looks hungry, too … pretty much all the time.

Roughback Batfish

Roughback Batfish

My, what lovely lips you have! The roughback batfish lives in the western Atlantic Ocean, including off the Eastern Coast of the US, and grows up to 3.9 inches in length. He looks a bit like a bat but he doesn’t fly. He creeps across the ocean floor.

Pigbutt Worm

Pigbutt Worm

This charming fellow that grows to about the size of a marble lives 3,000 feet below sea level. His name is kind of obvious but it comes from the fact that he resembles, well, a butt. He’s also sometimes called a “flying buttocks.”


With a face only a mother could love, the blobfish is a lazy blob of a fish that eats whatever swims by. It makes sense that it was dubbed the “World’s Ugliest Animal” in 2013. No, he’s really not cute — he almost appears to be melting.

Mola Mola

Also known as the ocean sunfish, this terrifying animal weighs an average of a whopping 2,200 pounds. Holy Mola! You probably won’t lay an eye on one, though even though they are huge. They live way deep down in the depths of the ocean.

Barreleye Fish

barreleye fish

This spooky fish can completely rotate its eyes within its head. It’s head, by the way, is totally transparent. Yes, you can see its brain. Kind of cool. Kind of creepy.

Sarcastic Fringehead

It’s name comes from the fact that is has such a big mouth. Ha! Despite its goofy name, there’s nothing funny about this fish. He uses his massive, gaping mouth to wrestle with other fish over territory.


anglerfish illustration

This scary guy is not fun to look at. He’s the same guy who terrorized youngsters in a memorable scene from Finding Nemo. He uses his light-producing organ to lure in prey. The males lose their digestive systems and attach to the females, which they feed off of, like parasites.

Northern Stargazer

northern stargazer

This living nightmare burrows in the sand and hides awaiting his prey. He will electrocute fish and crustaceans that happen to pass by, and then swallow them whole. Imagine coming across that thing! Hopefully you won’t, but they reside around the Atlantic coast from North Carolina to New York.

Giant Isopod

This “cockroach of the ocean” is not actually a bug. They aren’t not related to cockroaches, either. The Giant Isopod can grow up to 16 inches long in deep waters due to a phenomenon known as “deep sea gigantism.”

Tongue-Eating Louse

tongue eating louse

This horrifying monstrosity that enters fish is the stuff of nightmares. They enter through the gills of fish and sucks all of the blood from their tongues until the tongue falls out. Then, they actually replace the tongue with their own body. Gross!

Terrible Claw Lobster

terrible claw lobster

These technicolor lobsters were only discovered in 2007. They creep around the deepest depths of the ocean, crawling across the ocean floor. They aren’t harmful to people, but still are pretty terrible, using their claws to capture prey.

Pacific Blackdragon

pacific blackdragon

This monster lives deep in the depths of the ocean. The underworld creature can grow up to 2 feet long, but only the females. The males only grow only 3 inches long and die immediately after mating.


Also aptly known as the ghost shark or spookfish, these guys are believed to be the oldest known fish in existence. They split from sharks nearly 400 million years ago. They’re definitely spooky with their slimy bodies and their captivating slink!