The Scariest Monsters of the Deep
A spook-tacular Halloween treat: Zombies, goblins, and ghoulish marine creatures galore.
On Halloween we delight in getting a fright from zombies, goblins, and vampires—all the while knowing that they aren’t real. Yet if we were to descend deep beneath ocean’s surface, we’d discover that nature has produced some spook-tacular creatures of her own. Some have numerous jaws, the better to chop up their prey. Others attack their victims with acid. Many have ghoulish sexual appetites.
There are a couple of reasons we don’t need to worry about a run-in with these organisms. For one thing, we’d never survive the frigid waters hundreds to thousands of feet deep that they inhabit. The pressure would kill us, but, “The pressure isn't really a problem for the organisms that live there—they are mostly water and essentially incompressible,” says Will White, a marine biology professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. And though an extreme environment, it’s not a variable one. “In contrast to, say, rocky intertidal or coral reef habitats, these are very stable habitats with some of the most consistent conditions—temperature, salinity, oxygen, [lack of] light—of any ocean waters on the planet.”
Another reason not to worry is that, as ferocious as these creatures may appear, most are quite small. “There's not much food down there, and the deep sea is not a very productive habitat,” says White. “So, there is not enough energy to sustain a large-bodied predator.”
Here’s a sampling of the scariest-looking monsters that lurk in the deep.