7 Remarkably Strange Deep-Sea Creatures Discovered In 2021

If you’re looking for intriguing creatures that are new to science, there is no better place to look than the deep sea. Each year, scientists from around the world capture new alien-looking animals and strange new species living in the deep, and last year was no different. Here is our list of the top 10 remarkably strange deep-sea creatures discovered in 2021.

Giant Phantom Jellyfish

Scientists have only encountered this deep-sea creature less than 100 times. Although it is rarely spotted, the jelly has been found in the depths of every major ocean in the world. MBARI (Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute) released rare video footage of a giant phantom jellyfish (Stygiomedusa Gigantea). 

There is not much information about phantom jellyfish, but biologists believe it uses its arms, to ensnare unfortunate prey and winch them up to its mouth. This mysterious creature also propels itself through the pitch-black depths with periodic pulses from its faintly glowing bell.

Glass Octopus

This translucent octopus was first discovered last August 2021 during a 34-day expedition of the Central Pacific Ocean on board the SOI (Schmidt Ocean Institute) research vessel Falkor which spent a total of 182 hours scanning the seafloor off the coast of Phoenix Islands, an archipelago located more than 3,200 miles (5,100 km) northeast of Sydney, Australia.

Like other “glass” creatures, such as glass frogs and certain comb jellies, glass octopuses are almost completely transparent, with only their cylindrical eyes, optic nerve, and digestive tract appearing opaque.

Real-life SpongeBob and Patrick

Image source: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-9838681/Marine-scientists-spot-real-life-SpongeBob-SquarePants-Patrick-Star.html

In August, NOAA released a comical photo of the real-life counterparts of the cartoon best friends SpongeBob Squarepants and Patrick Star side-by-side on the seafloor.

The image of the square(ish) yellow sponge and five-pointed pink sea star was taken by an ROV on July 27, at a depth of 6,184 feet (1,885 m) during an expedition of the Retriever Seamount off the coast of New England. 

Blood-Red Jellyfish

The discovery of this blood-red jellyfish is something new in science. It most likely belongs to the genus Poralia, according to the researchers.

They were first spotted last July 28, 2021, using a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) at a depth of around 2,300 feet (700 meters) just off the coast of Newport, Rhode Island. Until now there is very little information about this elusive and mysterious jellyfish.

Barrel Eye Fish

Also known as “Spook Fish”, this bizarre creature has a translucent forehead, which it actually looks through using a pair of bulbous green eyes inside its head.

“The barreleye first appeared very small out in the blue distance, but I immediately knew what I was looking at. It couldn’t be mistaken for anything else,” Thomas Knowles, a senior aquarist at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, told Live Science.

Shape-Shifting Whalefish


There is also not much information about this bizarre fish because of the three drastically different appearances of the juveniles (tapetails), males (bignoses), and females (whalefish), hence the name “shifter”. The three forms looked totally different when scientists first thought they were three different species. The shape-shifting transformation from juvenile to mature females is believed to be one of the most extreme among any vertebrates.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) released the footage in August showing a bright orange, female whalefish (of the order Cetomimiformes) around 6,600 feet (2,013 m) deep offshore of Monterey Bay, California.

Emperor Dumbo

This adorable but bizarre creature was first discovered by accident in 2016 when they dragged it to the surface in a net while aboard the German research vessel “Sonne”. in the Bering Sea. 

Dumbo octopus species looks like an umbrella webbing, joining their tentacles and their cartoonishly ear-like fins that resemble the oversized ears on Disney’s famous elephant.

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