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At the bottom of the sea there are almost a million animal species, but so far only 230,000 could be classified.
On Animal Day we remember to hug our closest pets, but there are others with less diffusion or knowledge, without a doubt also less friendly, but equally beautiful – or even fearsome – and surprising. According to an investigation by the Higher Council for Scientific Research, in which 270 taxonomists – specialists in classifying species- from 32 countries participated, the ocean is a vastness still unknown and, above all, overpopulated. The CSIC counted 972,000 different species of the animal kingdom that inhabit the seabed. However, “only” they were able to recognize and classify 230 thousand of that almost million living beings. Their findings were published in the journal Current Biology. Our knowledge of marine animals is so vast that few have heard of The Mariana Trench, the deepest oceanic point on Earth. This crescent-shaped depression, which with its ends would imaginary unite Japan with Papua New Guinea, is 2550 kilometers long by 69 kilometers wide. All in all, the most interesting thing is its depth: from what it has been possible to measure so far, it reaches 11,034 meters on the point called Challenger’s Abyss.
Of course, what can be found in the bed of that almost frozen blackness, enduring such water pressure, is an enigma that only science fiction could answer for now. Still, some data is already known, certainly creepy. Without going so far – or so far, actually – in those waters of the northwestern Pacific the Sea Devil lives, a small fish with a misshapen body, with teeth so terrible that they allow him to devour animals larger than himself. By a curious evolutionary turn, the males – much smaller than the females – merge into the body of a female and live eternally like this, like a parasite, depositing their sperm for life in it. They are united by misfortune. If you hadn’t met him before, Ridley Scott might have been inspired by the goblin shark to imagine Alien. Slimy, toothy and slimy, it can be up to six meters long. Calm! It is highly unlikely that we will find it, since it was only seen below 914 meters deep. What could be said of the dumbo octopus, so called because of its friendly appearance and its huge ears, but which is not to be trusted: it eats its prey alive.
Speaking of terrifying animals, we should mention the vampire squid – also named Hell Squid. It is black, red and with tentacles that seem to have the fangs of Count Dracula . It measures no more than 30 centimeters and lives a thousand meters below the surface of the water. Curious is the case of the bull fish , which when stressed releases a toxin that poisons everything around it. In the ranking of the chilling abyssal bugs, there should also be the lophiiforme. In addition to being ugly, he carries a kind of arm that hangs over his head, which is nothing more than a luminous lure to attract unsuspecting prey. Speaking of ugliness, biologists agreed to give the first prize to the fish blot, expressionless, gelatinous and amorphous body. Only when he is at home, at 1,600 meters depth, the water pressure “beautifies” him somewhat. The list could be almost endless: the 300-tooth eel shark, a perfect killer; the fangtooth or comillo fish -you will imagine why-; the pycnogonids , more like spiders than fish; the Idiacanthus atlanticus aka black dragon fish , which could be described as a hairy, jet-colored snake with balloon eyes; the humpback anglerfish, a variant with bóxer face, eyes blue and long, sharp teeth. The panda skelleton or fish squirt is a skeleton that swims: it has no meat. And in the case of the bobbit worm ( Eunice aphroditois ) and theghost shark (Rhinochimaera ) I think there are plenty of clarifications.
If there are still doubts, you could take a look on twitter, where there is enough material, some more adventurous than others with greater credibility. Such is the case of the publications of the marine biologist who calls himself Captain Kalgosh, and who from Cádiz published a series of images worthy of a gallery of terror. As his followers say, there is nothing like bathing on the seashore. In any case, the oceans also harbor immeasurable beauties, such as that of the manta octopus, with fins that join together forming luminescent cloths ( see video in this note ) or that of the foliaceous sea dragon , a curious animal from the southern coast of Australia. that to mislead its predators, it takes the form of a plant. It is a relative of the seahorse and when the female becomes pregnant, it is the male who carries the eggs until they hatch. The world is full of surprises.