10. The Viperfish
Viperfish range from 12 to 24 inches weighing about 5 lbs. Even if they enjoyed the occasional toe or finger, you can rest easy knowing the vipers inhabit the sea at depths of 1500 to 9000 ft. Whew!
9. The Stonefish
Though the diet of this unnoticeable creature consist of shrimp and small fish, it poses a threat to many more. A row of thirteen venomous spines line its back, protecting it from attacks by bottom-feeding sharks and rays. When pressure is applied to the spines, glands involuntarily expel venom in to victim. After a few weeks, the glands regenerate and recharge.
Stonefish are not harmful to us unless stepped on or caught. Wearing a thick soled shoe and treading lightly will help protect you, but the spines have the ability to pierce an average shoe easily! Once stung, excruciating pain and a great deal of swelling develops rapidly causing death to tissues. The depth of the penetration determines the severity of the symptoms which are; muscle weakness, temporary paralysis and shock, and death if not treated.
Watch your step!
8. The Basking Shark
The basking shark is a classic example of why you should never judge a book by its cover. The fierce look of this monster is the only thing that qualified it for the top ten creepiest fish. In fact, the basking shark poses no threat to humans at all if left alone. Established to be the second largest species of shark, and found all over the world, weighing in at up to 19 tons and as much as 40 ft long. It is also one of the three known species of filter-feeding sharks.
Unlike the other two filter-feeders, the basking shark does not have the ability to use suction and actively pump water in to their pharynxes. Instead it must rely solely on the passive flow of water, which is strained for food by gill rakers, at a rate of 2000 tons of water per hour. This heavyweight survives on invertebrates, small fish and zooplankton,
The basking shark was once a staple of fisheries because of previously abundant numbers, unaggressive nature, and slow swimming speed. In fact, basking sharks have been protected, and it's products restricted in many countries. Once considered a nuisance along the canadian Pacific coast, basking sharks were the target of a government eradication from 1945 to 1970. Now protected and monitored, they are an important draw to dive tourism in areas where they are common. Basking sharks are tolerant of boats and divers approaching, and may even circle curious divers.
7. The Blobfish
The low density flesh substitutes for a gas-filled swim bladder fish in waters less deep posses. However, at 300 ft depths, the pressure is about 80 times higher than sea level, so any gas would be too compressed to serve it's purpose. Blobfish are rarely seen by humans due to the inaccessibility of its habitat.
Fine by me!
6. The Snakehead Fish
After inhabiting a pond or lake, they eat every living creature in it. Without discrimination, a snakehead will eat everything from plankton and insects, to carp and mollusks. Once the food sources have been depleted, they jump out of the water and travel to new nearby bodies of water eating frogs, mice, rats, and small birds along the way! Most snakeheads grow to be 2 or 3 ft and weigh more than 15 pounds.
Without natural predators in their new environment, these invaders can degrade ecosystems, drive native fish to extinction, and cost billions of dollars every year for eradication.
Scarier still, is the reproduction rate of snakehead fish. Reaching sexual maturity between the ages of 2 and 3, each female can release up to 15,000 eggs at once and can mate up to five times a year! In just two years, each spawning-age female can release up to 150,000 eggs. I hope they taste good!
5. The Grenadier Fish
Usually about 2 ft long and weighing close to 10 lbs, this native of the atlantic can reach 4.9 ft and up to 60 lbs. On top of being one of the uglier fish in the ocean, grenadiers also have a very high level of TMAO giving them a powerful 'fishy' smell! Tic Tac anyone?
4. The Tigerfish
Generally growing to be 30 inches long, tiger fish weigh in at around 15 pounds. The largest ever caught was in Kariba in 1962, measuring 32 inches and weighing 34 pounds. For predators, tiger fish have a fairly low tolerance for poor water conditions. Spotting one is a good indication of clean water. Not much of a pro to that con in my book!
3. The Goblin Shark
Squid, crab and deep sea fishes are among the favorite dining choices of the goblin shark. Though human encounters with them have been rare, there does not seem to be a threat to their populations. There is a demand by some collectors for the skeletal jaws of the goblin shark, which sell at a rate of $1,400 - $4000 US. On average, the illusive creatures measure up to 13 feet long and weigh in at 660 pounds.
2. The Angler Fish
Typically, angler fish have three long filaments sprouting from the center of their head. The longest usually being the first protruding above the fish's eyes, and is movable in all directions and can be wiggled so as to resemble a prey animal to other predators. Once close enough, the angler fish can devour these predators whole withjaws that are triggered automatically by contact with its tentacle.
Occurring worldwide, angler fish can be found in open water, deep sea, bottom dwelling, and on the continental shelf. Some of the deep sea anglers can emit light from their esca. Both jaws that extend around the circumference of the head are armed with bands of long pointed teeth, inclining inward, which can be depressed in a way that won't prevent an object from gliding toward its stomach, but will prevent it's escape from the mouth. Angler fish are also able to stretch their jaws and stomachs to an enormous size, allowing it to swallow prey up to twice the size of it's entire body.
Bottom dwelling anglers have arm-like pectoral and ventural fins preforming as feet, enabling the fish to walk along the ocean floor where it generally hides in the sand or amongst seaweed for camouflage in areas abundant with prey. Typically about a foot long, angler fish can reach over 3 ft and weigh in at up to 110 lbs! That's the size of most Rottweilers!
1. Vandellia cirrhosa
Here they are!
Native to the Amazon River basins in South America, the vandellia lives in freshwater streams. Also known as the toothpick fish, this small slender nightmare is only about 2.5 cm long and 3.5 mm wide. Scaleless and translucent, it is nearly impossible to see in the water. vandella gill covers are covered with short, sharp spines. Why, you ask?
Normally a parasite of other fish, the vandellia will taste surrounding water then follow any stream of nitrogenous waste excreted from gills of fish. Once the host is located, the vandellia swims up and under the gill, expands the spines on its own gills to hold it in place, and begins sucking the blood of the host gill, gnawing a hole to the blood vessels which usually proves fatal to its victim.
The vandellia is feared among natives because it is attracted to blood and urine, and if a bather is nude it will swim into an orifice; the anus, vagina, or even the penis and deeper in the urethra! It then erects its spines and feeds on the blood and body tissue as it would the gills of a fish! The vandellia is then almost impossible to remove except through an operation, usually involving the amputation of the area!
A more expensive option is the use of two plants, the Xagua and the Buitach apple which are inserted into the affected area. The combination of these two plants will kill and dissolve the vandellia. Generally, the pain causes shock and death in the victim before the vandellia can be removed.
Who's up for skinny dipping?