Beneath the few feet of waters easily accessible to us and scuba divers, there exists another world, one that even researchers are still fascinated by. The diversity of aquatic flora and fauna is just as much as the terrestrial one, perhaps even more so since 75% of our planet is covered in water.
Even in the bottomless pits of the ocean where no ray of sunlight can penetrate, there exists an ecosystem. But just like it is with the land, not all of them are cute dolphins waiting to be patted. Some are poisonous enough to kill you! Let’s find out about five lethal aquatic animals:
Is that a moss-grown stone lying in shallow waters? Be careful, it might be the most lethal fish on earth! With venomous sacs on each one of its 13 spines, it’s surprising to note that they catch their prey by the virtue of their speed. In fact, an entire attack – consisting of sneaking up on prey, quickly attacking and rushing back – may last only 0.015 seconds. However, they’re easy going swimmers who won’t go out of their way to attack anyone.
They pose a serious threat to deep-sea divers who fail to notice them and to fishermen in shallow waters who step on them unsuspectingly. They can also survive for up to 24 hours without water – a rather uncommon trait and one enough to put them on top of this list.
- Blue-ringed octopus
If the very fact that the blue ring octopus posses some of the most lethal venoms ever isn’t enough to scare you, let me also tell you that there is no antivenin for it. Barely four to six inches long, their venom may cause cute vomiting, nausea, feeling of suffocation, but interestingly keeps the heart beating until extreme asphyxia kills the recipient.
In some cases, victims may even be declared clinically dead because it causes their pupils to become fixed and dilated! Often, the victim’s have no idea that they have been attacked which caused scientists to wonder if it even needs to bite to transfer its venom which is believed to be in its saliva.
- Chironex or Box Jellyfish
The box jellyfish is the main cause for more deaths in Australia than shark and snake attacks combined. It only takes 2-3 minutes to kill a victim and is the most lethal jellyfish known to man. With tentacles up to 3m long, one jellyfish is enough to kill 60 people though most stings are mild. After a series of experiments, scientists found out that they seem to be repelled by the colour red, resulting in the government of Australia protecting their beaches by red mesh.
One of the most bizarre-looking and best-known creatures of the deep, Anglerfish have sharp shark-like teeth curved inwards and can be nearly invisible due to its soft, bioluminescent colour. They are found at a depth of over 3000ft however the newborns come to the surface to feed on plankton. Their curved teeth prevent prey from escaping, and their jaws and stomach can stretch to accommodate a prey almost twice their size. They can grow up to 1m long.
Round eyes and a mouth with jagged teeth, all on the top of its head – that’s how the Stargazer gets its name. Since they spend most of their time buried in the sand, waiting for unsuspecting prey to pass by, this is an effective evolution process.
They’re quite harmless while left alone but in cases of threats, they can deliver electric jolts which can result in death. Their effective camouflaging technique makes it difficult to discern them, but they’re mostly found at a depth of over 1200 ft. Newborns swim to the surface for food but return to the depths once they’re mature enough.
Despite most animals potentially trying to kill you, the underwater is a beautiful, vibrant place filled with life teeming in every corner. All the more reason to save our oceans.