Facts About Sea Creatures We Just Learned That Made Us Say 'Whoa'

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Vote up the facts about marine animals you totally didn't expect.

With so many species on the Earth, we are constantly learning new wild facts about nature. Because 71% of our planet is water, it makes sense that there's still a lot to uncover about marine animals. Many of the creatures in the ocean are so unique and mysterious that every new discovery surprises us. From the largest whales to the tiniest plankton, there's always more to learn about the big blue sea.

Here are some mind-blowing oceanic facts that sound made up but aren't. Even though some of this seems like it's straight out of a science fiction novel, these animals and their abilities really exist. It's incredible that we live on the same planet as some of these unbelievable species. Who knows what scientists will discover next?

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    76 VOTES

    Electric Eels Can Remotely Control Their Prey

    Electric eels can "shock" their prey without appearing to harm themselves, but as it turns out, they don't have to come into contact with prey to use that shock. A study showed that these members of the Electrophorus genus can control their prey remotely to make hunting tactics easier.

    In the study, researchers put an electric eel in the same tank as a fish. When the eel saw the fish, it released electric pulses that seemed to paralyze the fish and control its muscles. The leader of the study, Dr. Kenneth Catania, explained:

    When the eel's pulses slow down - when the eel gets tired at the end of its attack - you see individual fish twitches, with one twitch from every pulse. That tells us that the eel is reaching in to the prey's nervous system, controlling its muscles.

    It seems electric eels can use this bizarre skill to make nearby prey move, to reveal where it's hiding.

    76 votes
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    64 VOTES

    In The Century We've Known About The Bigfin Squid, There Have Only Been About 20 Sightings

    At first glance, the bigfin squid (Magnapinna genus) looks like an alien due to its stringy tentacles longer than the height of most humans. This unique sea creature was discovered more than 114 years ago, but sightings are rare. For a while, only 12 reported sightings existed for the elusive squid, but in November 2020, researchers made a shocking discovery.

    Five bigfin squids appeared thousands of feet below the surface near South Australia. It was the first time the cephalopods had been seen near Australia, and the first time they were spotted in a group. To this day, no more than 20 of these critters have been seen.

    As marine researcher Deborah Osterhage explained:

    I was stunned and excited when I first saw the bigfin squid in a photo collected by our camera. I recognized it immediately, with its distinctive large fins and extremely long and slender arms and tentacles.

    64 votes
  • Octopuses take reproduction very seriously, especially shallow-water species like the giant Pacific octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini), big blue octopus (Octopus cyanea), and common octopus (Octopus vulgaris). After a detailed mating process, both the male and female go into senescence, which is similar to dementia.

    The females will lay eggs and tend to the young while becoming senescent, while the males suffer alone, swimming aimlessly and becoming easy targets for predators. Both genders stop eating and lose much of their body weight. They are also prone to developing lesions that never heal. Within a few weeks, the animals die.

    92 votes
  • Even if animals don't speak to each other, they need ways to communicate to mate, alert others of danger, and defend themselves. For lobsters, that communication consists of peeing from their heads.

    Lobsters have bladders under their brains and release urine near their antennae; when it's sprayed, it can reach up to 7 feet. The most common reason lobsters release urine is to defend territory. If two males fight, they'll both release urine, and whichever lobster's urine contains more pheromones will be deemed stronger. Males also release urine to attract females. 

    73 votes
  • When thinking of evolution, crabs probably aren't one of the first creatures to come to mind. Yet at least five different species have evolved into crabs, including king crabs and porcelain crabs, despite the fact they don't belong to the Brachyura infraorder, to which "true crabs" belong.

    All the species studied did not start out with crab-liked characteristics, but eventually went on to have hardened shells and flat shapes. In addition to external appearances, the creatures also evolved to share similar vascular and nervous systems as crabs.

    Because it has happened more than expected, it now has a scientific name: carcinization. It essentially means "crabifying a species." Scientists are still puzzled by the exact reasons relating to these evolutions, but they suspect it's related to physical factors like temperature and gravity.

    70 votes
  • Megalodons (Otodus megalodon) are known as the largest sharks ever, measuring between 36 and 131 feet long. These massive creatures were thought to resemble great white sharks, but they may not look like sharks at all.

    Sharks are mostly made of cartilage rather than bone. So, most megalodon remains haven't survived the 3.6 million years following their extinction. Any guesses scientists have made about the extinct shark's appearance are based only on its teeth and vertebrae. This leaves many of its physical characteristics up to the imagination.

    A team of researchers led by biologist Phillip Sternes concluded:

    The reality is that there are presently no scientific means to support or refute the accuracy of any of the previously published body forms of O. megalodon.

    64 votes