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 a mystery. Ocean animals already mystify us - from mesmerizing physical features to odd mating rituals - and those deep underneath the surface have captivated the masses for centuries.
Some have estimated scientists have only studied a small percentage of the ocean floor. The little known about what lurks deep in the ocean pales in comparison to what there is to learn, which is why each discovery of aquatic animals that are rarely seen is exciting. Never-before-seen creatures incur even more curiosity about what other mysterious undersea beings may dwell beneath the waves.
Here’s a look at some of the first ever photographs of maritime monsters in all their glory.
What could be more horrific than an encounter with one of the giant squids of folklore only to find 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 to help package its food. Its scientific name - Vampyroteuthis infernalis - literally translates to vampire squid from hell in English.
The sheer depth at which these creatures dwell has long 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 can appear invisible in the depths of the sea.
Further studies led to an even more astonishing find. Unlike other types of squid, this creature is not an aggressive predator, but rather, is a scavenger feeding on readily available food.
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, modern scientists uncovered evidence suggesting the giant squid does exist. A natural predator with a sharp tongue to easily shred its prey, it is one of the few sea creatures to exhibit cannibalistic traits. In other words, given the right moment, a squid will eat one of its kind.
The very first live image of the giant squid was captured in 2002 in Japan. Afterward, the National Science Museum of Japan displayed images of a live giant squid in its natural habitat. The squid spanned 26 feet in length - 18 of which were tentacles. Since then, giant squid have been captured on video by other organizations, giving more insight into these massive creatures, which live in virtually every ocean in the world.
The famed initial photograph of this animal 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 anything floating past, it is now evident these creatures are every bit as aggressive as their well-deserved reputation stated.
In 2015, scientists photographed a glow-in-the-dark turtle. This miraculous maritime monster continues to astound the scientific community with its biofluorescence - a light-reflecting ability that 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 negative impacts of human-related interference in the natural balance of the world's oceans.
The pygmy blue whale has been photographed before, but never as an infant. 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 shows that these whales may be making a comeback, which would buoy conservation efforts.
With the brand new footage - captured in 2015 - marine biologists gained critical knowledge about the way these whales feed and care for their young.