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The Creepy Creatures Who Live In The Mariana Trench

Updated December 16, 2019 147.9k views17 items

If you're looking for some of the creepiest deep sea creatures on the planet, look no further than the Mariana Trench, located in the Pacific Ocean directly east of the Philippines. Neither these scary-looking sea monsters nor the trench itself — largely considered one of the creepiest places in the ocean — are for the faint of heart.

The deepest part of any of Earth's oceans, the Mariana Trench is five times longer than the Grand Canyon and would be 7,000 feet deeper than Mount Everest if the peak was submerged there. There is no sunlight at 3,280 feet below the surface; the pressure at the bottom is 1,000 times greater than at sea level; and the temperature hovers just above freezing. Any living animals swimming in its murky depths require specialized adaptations, such as bioluminescence — AKA the ability to glow in the dark — or glowing photophores, bodily organs that emit light, to survive.

The creatures that live in the Mariana Trench have adapted, but they've adopted terrifying appearances in exchange. Scientists and filmmakers continue to study the largely unexplored area, but who are these creepy Mariana Trench creatures, and what makes them special? 

  • Dumbo Octopus

    Dumbo octopuses look like characters straight out of a Disney movie. In fact, they got their name from the Disney elephant with similar long, floppy ears. On the octopus, these floppy "ears" are actually fins, but, like Dumbo's, they are used to fly — in this case, through the water.

    The Dumbo octopus has a semi-translucent body and a squat shape, growing up to 12 inches long. Of all octopus species, they are the deepest living, some inhabit the depths as low as 23,000 feet.

  • Fangtooth Fish

    These fish could be straight out of a horror movie and are named after their scary teeth that, in relation to their body size, are the largest in the ocean. In fact, their teeth are so long, the roof of their mouths have special pockets in which to store them when their jaws are closed. Fangtooth fish do not have good eyesight, and they are believed to hunt by literally bumping into their prey, sensing vibrations and movement in the water.

  • Comb Jelly

    Video: YouTube

    Comb jellies are the ravers of the sea. Their transparent bodies are adorned with tiny bioluminescent combs that refract light as they move, giving them the appearance of shimmering rainbows. They have no bones or shells and are made up of more than 95% water. Comb jellies have two tentacles that they use to pull food into their mouths. These jellies are also cannibals, even eating comb jellies bigger than themselves.

  • Telescope Octopus

    Video: YouTube

    This creepy creature is transparent and practically colorless, so it can easily hide its ghost-like appearance from predators in the murky depths. Telescope octopuses are found between 500 and 6,500 feet below sea level and can reach up to eight inches long. It gets its name from its tubular eyes, which are able to rotate. To hunt their prey, they simply hide in the dark and move their eyes around like tentacles.