Do you think that the depths of the sea harbor only snout and solitary creatures? Well it's time to think again! Exploring the seabed with a little luck, you will encounter very funny animals, crabs disguised as fairies, pimply seahorses and squid with a cartoon face. A bit taciturn but all - or almost - funny and colorful. Ready to dive in? Start the dive …

Thin line and pointed carapace for this crab arrow (Stenorhynchus seticornis) photographed off the coast of the Netherlands Antilles. The stick-like legs three times the rest of the body make it similar to a clumsy "gambalunga spider" that walks quickly on the Caribbean seabed.

Texts and photographic research: Elisabetta Intini

Beauty is not everything and this boxed fish - or hood fish - (Ostracion cubicus) willingly sacrifices it to save its skin. Its parallelepiped shape is in fact due to a special exoskeleton that covers and protects the whole body, excluding fins. To complete the look of the younger specimens a decidedly "flamboyant" livery. To be admired from a distance, though: if disturbed, it secretes a toxic mucus through the skin.

Just take a look at this tentacled worm (Loimia jellyfish) to understand how its nickname is perfectly apt. Hidden in the sand the spaghetti worm ("worm"), an Hawaiian invertebrate with an elongated shape, extends the moving tentacles on the seabed in search of organic debris such as fragments of decomposing organisms. Also called "worm jellyfish" for the vague resemblance to the healty creatures: see also the slideshow dedicated to jellyfish

Why get excited so much for slamming fins when you can comfortably walk on the seabed? This very lazy frogfish (gen. Antennarius) of the Solomon Islands has clear ideas and to strenuous swims he prefers more relaxing walks on the sand, supported by sturdy pectoral fins. The rest of the time he passes it crouched among the corals waiting for prey. Discover his strange fishing technique

A polka dot balloon with the face of Dumbo: it is the glass squid (Cranchiidae family). The crystalline body, from which it takes its name, is a perfect disguise. The youngest specimens, in fact, live in surface waters illuminated by the sun, where their transparency makes them practically invisible. As the age progresses they change habitats, moving to deeper bottoms (even 2 thousand meters). Look also at the squid that smiles
And don't miss the photo gallery on transparent animals

To shelter from the light this pink shrimp (infraord. Caridea) hides on the bottom of an aquarium, in Florida. In order to escape predators, the small crustacean - about 3 centimeters of carapace - can go even deeper, leaving only small holes in the sand for eyes and antennae. See also a "dentist" shrimp

A goby (Trimma okinawae) peeps out from an anemone off the Solomon Islands. Some of these fish can change sex during growth. But most of them are born female and the males, responsible for the care of the eggs, have a great deal to do to look after the broods of all the companions with whom they mate.

Allergic to razors and waxes this sponges galatea (Lauriea siagiani) has made pink hair its strong point. Thus disguised the crustacean looks like a fairy, so much so that it is nicknamed fairy crab (fairy crab). It lives among the sponges where thanks to the thick fluff it passes almost completely unnoticed.

These giant Pacific octopuses (Enteroctopus dofleini) still enclosed in eggs are looked around confused. Shortly after hatching their exhausted and malnourished mother will die as is often the case with cephalopods. Once a year these creatures lay between 18, 000 and 100, 000 eggs the size of rice grains. Growing the little ones turn into the largest octopuses of the sea, with a sprawling opening that can reach 7 meters. Look at an adult specimen

Pimply by necessity the pygmy seahorse (Hippocampus bargibanti) camouflages itself with the gorgonians - the colonies of polyps where it lives - thanks to many small red "papillae". However, these imperfections do not hinder his love life. About 2 centimeters long, this little hippocampus is a loving partner and father. He personally takes care of the hatching by holding the eggs in a bag placed in the abdomen. The "panzone" in the picture is just a future dad.

Do not be fooled by that sympathetic air, this peacock canis (Odontodactylus scyllarus) hidden on the depths of Bali, Indonesia, is a cruel huntress. Once the prey has been conquered - crabs and other small crustaceans - it takes it "to barrel" with the legs to break the shell and eat the meat.

With the same violence, in some cases it can even break the glass of the aquariums!

The fact that even the fish had their football preferences really was not known: this male of triggerfish picasso (Rhinecanthus assasi), for example, seems to show proudly the colors of his team …

In reality, he is cautiously defending the eggs deposited by the female in a nest dug under the sand of the seabed. These fish aggregate only during reproduction, while for the rest of the year they roam solitary in the rocky bottoms of the western Indian Ocean areas.

Sulking and lumpy the sunfish (Mola mola) is named for its round shape and the color of the skin ranging from gray to white with iridescent shades.

Certainly not a featherweight - up to 2 tons of weight per 3 meters in length - the beast is liked as it is. And he loves showing off. One of his favorite activities is to swim on the surface and float on the water, as if he were sunbathing. That's why it's also called sunfish ("sun fish").

With its electric blue spots the blue-ringed octopus (Hapalochlaena lunulata) immediately attracts the attention of divers who dive into the Indo-Pacific seabed. Better not to get too close though: the 20 cm long cephalopod is one of the most poisonous animals in the world. One of his bites is enough to kill a man.

Have you ever seen an octopus opening a bottle of water?

Choose a color and the ornate ghost pipefish (Solenostomus paradoxus) will reproduce it perfectly. This tropical cousin of seahorses is so good at blending into the coral reef that it manages to escape even the most experienced divers. Also thanks to the thorny appendages that make it similar to a piece of coral.

Taken individually they would have little chance of surviving a predator's attack. But the union (and the coordination) make the strength to this bank of sardines, in front of the attack of a predator, it has assumed the conformation of a dolphin. The incredible underwater scene was photographed off the island of Cebu, in the Philippines. The behavior of shoals of fish has long been at the center of in-depth studies: there are those who hypothesize serve to push enemies to aim at the heap rather than concentrating on a single specimen, and those who think that in the counter, the fish have "a thousand eyes", that is many more possibilities of sighting an approaching predator. What is certain is that in groups it is easier to find food and, above all, find a companion.

Giant carnivorous plants, killer sponges, vampire fish and bombing worms: these are just some of the new species found in 2009 and entered the top 10 of the new discoveries recently published by the International Institute of Species Exploration of the University of Arizona, the international body that deals with the classification and the official assignment of names to all the new plants and animals that researchers encounter every day. And the officials of the Institute certainly do not lack work, given that only in 2008 they had to deal with the classification of 18, 225 new species (almost 50 per day). But what are the strangest discoveries of 2009? We tell you this in this curious photogallery.
Because it is in the top 10
: It belongs to the same family as the monkfish, but has an almost perfectly flat snout and a white and brown psychedelic coloring. Observed for the first time last year in the waters of Bali, Indonesia, this original fish can reach 15 centimeters in length. The pectoral fins, similar to the webbed feet of a frog, serve to move by walking on the bottom of the sea. It has no scales but is completely covered with protective mucus.

The name:
The suffix psychedelica clearly alludes to the pigmentation and to the designs that completely cover the body of the fish.
photo © David Hall /

"Rather skip dinner" think sharks, orcas and tuna when they come across this fish. And the porcupine fish (fam. Diodontidae) smiles satisfied: his tactic worked.

At the first sign of danger, in fact, the scoundrel captures as much water as possible, turning into a "water balloon" of thorns. While most predators do not consider it inviting, someone tries to swallow it anyway. But even if some of them manage to digest its thorns it will not survive the tetrodotoxin, a very toxic substance secreted by its liver.

Land spines (watch)
Another "thorny" fish

While waiting for the perfect shell - clean, spacious and with a view of the sea - this hermit crab (Paguroidea superfamily) has settled in a small plastic tube. To immortalize it along with his curious arrangement was a photographer on vacation in the island of Sipadan, Borneo (Malaysia). When it comes to changing accommodation because the previous one is now tight, hermit crabs follow a system that does not bother anyone. The largest specimen takes its place in the new shell, leaving its old house free for a medium-sized crab. He in turn surrenders his accommodation to an even smaller crustacean and so on. In this way no one remains without a "roof" over the head.

The funniest creatures of the abyss (watch)

The owner of this sulky snout is a plaice male (Pleuronectes platessa), a very common fish in the Mediterranean. After the eggs hatch, to avoid being swept away by the tides, the larvae of this animal use the so-called "semi-active transport": not being able to counteract the force of the opposing currents, they exploit their ability to move vertically to remain near the sandy bottom .

After about 2 months passed at the mercy of the currents, finally the larvae settle in a comfortable bed of sand and, after 10 days of metamorphosis, they arrive to assume the funny aspect of the adult specimens.

The Napoleon fish (Cheilinus undulatus) is the largest labride and reaches even three meters in length. It feeds on molluscs and crustaceans that it finds moving along the coral reefs of the Indo-Pacific area. But he is not the biggest fish in the world: in the Guinness Book of World Records this whale shark (Rhicodon typus) ranks. In 1949 a specimen was caught off the island of Baba (Pakistan) 12.6 meters long and with a maximum circumference of 7 meters. All for a total of 15-20 tons.

Pinna my little fish !!! If you think it's a cardboard … it's not like that! He is simply a celestial whimper … Not cute?

Photo by: floresofthecrows

It has a particularly square shape so as to deserve the nickname of "box fish" (Lactoria cornuta) and two horns protruding right above the eyes. On the body it has several bony spines that serve to defend itself from enemies, but when it is frightened it also emits a powerful toxin (ostracitoxina) which makes it inedible for predators.

Among the aquatic animals with sharp "weapons" there is also a cetacean, the narwhal (Monodon monoceros) whose male has a tooth, very long and pronounced, which resembles a horn. (See the photo gallery on bestial smiles )

A whale shark (Rhincodon typus) intent on swallowing a bank of minnows? Not exactly. What you see is yes one of the most impressive giants of the oceans (can exceed 10 meters in length), but photographed during a session of … dental cleaning. The hygienists in this case are a group of small cardinal fish (fam. Apogonidae) that sweep from the predator's jaws - similar to a giant vacuum cleaner - every trace of plankton. Without fear of losing the skin, it is in fact a mutualistic relationship (that is, a peer exchange). The beast gets a very clean grin, the little dentists make up for it for dinner.

Don't miss the photo gallery on the big sea meals

Come and meet the funniest fish of the abyss!


There is no minnow in marriageable age who does not dream of getting married with him. The jawfish (in English "jaw fish"), like all the males of his family - that of the Opistognathidae - is a perfect "house man".

To begin with, he takes care of the unborn, hatching the eggs in his big mouth (see photo) until the time of hatching. The paternal maxilla remains a safe haven for the young even after birth, in the event of attack by predators.

Then, between one brood and another, this model father takes care of the housework. With his strong jaws he digs tunnels on the Atlantic and Pacific seabeds, where he lives, and at the first hint of danger he takes refuge with all his family.

Another model father (look)

Nature has made it really ugly. And as if an awkward big face weren't enough, evolution has thought to make it even bad and dangerous. In fact, this tropical fish, a close relative of our Lucerne, is equipped with several venomous spines positioned on its back. It is not mortal but to run into the spines of Uranoscopus sulphurous, this is its scientific name, causes strong pains. So, look at where you put your feet because this fish spends its time well hidden in the sand protected by its camouflage livery; only the eyes appear that allow him to see, unseen, his prey approaching. And it would be better not to be one of them.

How much can a bad reputation weigh? In the case of the piranha (Pygocentrus nattereri), much: it has always been considered one of the most ferocious and fearsome fish in nature. But he also has enemies and is not invulnerable. After carefully studying their behavior, scientists at St Andrews University (in Scotland) concluded that piranhas are forced to associate in stalls for fear of being eaten. And the peculiarity of the behavior is that within the group - therefore in the safest position - are the piranhas in reproductive age. So that those who can carry on the species have more chances to survive.

These fish, so feared, are in fact the favorite snack of caimans, dolphins and large fish.

New research published by the authoritative weekly Nature has highlighted a bizarre behavior of fish when they are involved in the symbiotic cleansing ritual in which the cleaner fish feeds on ectoparasites, food residues and host skin.

The latter would observe the quality of the cleaning of the sweepfish before choosing to take advantage of its "services". In turn, the cleaner tries to make a good impression to impress the potential customer (and lunch).

Who knows what the tiny Indo-Pacific shrimp (Lysmata amboinensis) will have to do to clean the dangerous jaws (but not for him) of a leopard moray (Gymnothorax flavimarginatus).

An April Fool? Mistaken. The beast you see really exists and fortunately lives far from here, in the waters of the Congo river, in Africa. The tiger fish Golia (Hydrocynus goliath) in the picture weighs 44 kilos and is about one and a half meters long. It has sharp teeth that can reach 5 centimeters in length and a bag filled with gas in its body that it uses as a sound receiver. He is thus able to pick up any prey in the vicinity through the vibrations in the water and prepare for the attack. The man next to the big predator is British biologist and documentarist Jeremy Wade, who came across the tiger fish while he was shooting some episodes about the most aggressive freshwater fish for Discovery Channel.

Don't miss the video of the 5 most sensational April Fools
Many other photos and curiosities about sea and river fish

If this picture makes you smile, imagine being a fish that is about to be eaten by a penguin: this would be the last thing you would see. Put like this, the image takes on an aspect that is nothing short of terrifying. In this case, however, being attacked by the audacious penguin Papua (Pygoscelis papua) was the GoPro camera of a traveler in Antarctica with G Adventures. The self-timer was promptly shared on M / S Expedition's Twitter account.

Speaking of online selfies, don't miss the most extreme of Instagram.

The March of the Penguins.

You might also like: A tube house An invertebrate with superpowers Ready … training! Discovering the abyss with your personal submarine Merry Christmas from the bottom of the sea Do you think that the depths of the sea are home only to solitary and muzzle creatures? Well it's time to think again! Exploring the seabed with a little luck, you will encounter very funny animals, crabs disguised as fairies, pimply seahorses and squid with a cartoon face. A bit taciturn but all - or almost - funny and colorful. Ready to dive in? Start the dive …
Thin line and pointed carapace for this crab arrow (Stenorhynchus seticornis) photographed off the coast of the Netherlands Antilles. The stick-like legs three times the rest of the body make it similar to a clumsy "gambalunga spider" that walks quickly on the Caribbean seabed.
Texts and photographic research: Elisabetta Intini