As technology keeps getting better, rare photos of undersea creatures are making their way to the surface. These baffling and sometimes terrifying pictures are exciting the scientific community worldwide. The realm that exists in our dark, deep oceans is way more of a mystery than most care to admit. Ocean animals already mystify us - from their strange genitalia to their even stranger mating rituals - and those underneath the surface have captivated the masses for centuries.
Some estimated that modern science has only seen and studied roughly 1 percent of the ocean’s floor. The few things we know about what lies between the ocean's surface pales in comparison to what we don’t, and each new discovery of aquatic animals that are rarely seen is exciting. Creatures people had no idea existed are now being discovered thanks to the flash of a camera. Sometimes they are photographed accidentally by a passing oil rig. Other times they are photographed under the suspicion they are a different ocean animal entirely. Still, some of the best photos emerge when teams of adventurers spend years in the water waiting to snap that signature shot of mysterious undersea creatures.
Here’s a look at some of the first ever photographs of maritime monsters in all of their glory.
The Vampire Squid
What could be more horrific than coming eye-to-eye with one of the giant squids of folklore and finding out they’re real and highly carnivorous? If that sent a chill down your spine, hopefully you never meet a vampire squid. This newly discovered member of the squid family is not only gigantic, but also has mucus secreting suckers that aid in teh ability to package its food. It's scientific name - Vampyroteuthis infernalis - literally translates to vampire squid from hell in English.
The sheer depth at which these creatures lived made it nearly impossible to find, much less photograph. That is until deep sea specialists traveled 3,000 feet beneath the ocean's surface and captured the creature on film in 2005. The photographs suggest this squid exhibits regenerative traits and has the ability to appear invisible in the depths of the ocean. Further studies led to an even more astonishing find - unlike other momentous squid, this creature is not an aggressive predator, but rather, he is a scavenger feeding on drifting corpses rather than reeking havoc on the living.
The giant squid is one of the most elusive creatures known to humankind. Once believed to be a myth conjured up by fishermen and pirates as a trophy of adventure, at the turn of hte 21st Century scientists began to uncover evidence suggesting the giant squid did, in fact, exist. The mammoth maritime creature is as dangerous as he is large. A natural born predator with a razor sharp tongue that shreds its prey between the mouth and tentacles, it is one of the few Earthly creatures that exhibits cannibalistic traits in extreme circumstances. In other words, given the right moment, a squid will eat a fellow squid, so just imagine what he would do to a human.
The very first live image of the giant squid was captured in 2002 in Japan. Afterward, the National Science Museum of Japan set out to snap shots of a live giant squid in its natural habitat and, for the first time in history, the mission was successful. The squid they photographed was 26 feet in length and 18 of those feet were tentacles! Since then, several television networks have brought forth video footage of these mammoth creatures which are found in virtually every ocean in the world. The famed 2004 photograph that now adorns the walls of science museums was the result of two years of labor and 500 snapshots. From the photos, scientists gathered information related to how they hunt for and devour prey. Previously thought to be docile, gentle giants, drifting through the ocean on a whim and eating whatever carcasses float past, it is now evident that these creatures are every bit as aggressive and blood thirsty as the fishermen once claimed they were. Their hunting tactics are highly developed and ruthless.
The Glow In The Dark Turtle
In 2015, scientists were able to photography the first ever glow in the dark turtle. This miraculous maritime monster continues to astound the scientific community with its biofluorescence - a light reflecting ability tha causes a glow in the dark effect. One of the main reasons this sea creature went undiscovered for so long is because it is critically endangered. These turtles serve as a reminder of the earth-shattering effects of ocean pollution and other human-caused damages to the ocean.
Infant Pygmy Blue Whale
The pygmy blue whale has been photographed before but not as an infant, which makes this an important photograph indeed. As marine biologists have pointed out, this particular species of whale was once deemed critically endangered with only a handful spotted along the coast of New Zealand. This footage points to these whales making a comeback, and it also contains details that could aid in conservation efforts.
With the brand new footage - captured in 2015 - marine biologists have been able to obtain much needed information about the way these sea creatures feed and care for their young.