From ghost sharks to bearded sea devils, Roman Fedortsov has photographed some of the craziest deep-sea creatures you'll ever see.
“We know more about the surface of Mars than the ocean floor.” You’ve probably stumbled across this factoid before, and while marine researchers are getting closer to understanding the mysteries of the deep, there is still much to be discovered.
One thing is for certain though: If it’s weird creatures you’re after, then you best take a dip deep below the surface. The deep sea is a veritable treasure trove of nightmarish soul-suckers and eye-bulging monsters that are as bizarre as they are fascinating.
Nobody knows this better than fisherman Roman Fedortsov. The Russian trawler’s social media accounts are odes to the weirdness of the deep ocean. As a trawlerman working near the port city of Murmansk in northwest Russia, Roman Fedorotsov has seen and photographed countless deep-sea species that have been hauled up accidentally while his vessel trawls for commercial catch.
From ghost sharks and one-eyed fish, to bearded sea devils and anglerfish, he’s seen it all. “No need to invent ‘Monsters.’ Nature has already done it,” Fedortsov once wrote on Twitter.
Of course, these “monsters” probably only look alien to us as they have adapted to life in the cold, dark depths of the ocean. Take their black and red appearance, for example. Many of the species that Roman Fedortsov has dredged from the deep are black or red in color, and it’s an adaptation that allows them to remain virtually invisible to predators.
Most of these animals live in the Mesopelagic zone of the ocean which stretches from a depth of 200 metres to 1,000 metres (roughly 660 to 3,300 feet). There is minimal light at these depths and, as the US National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) explains: “The black animals absorb all colours of light available, and the red animals appear black as well; there is no red light to reflect and their bodies absorb all other available wavelengths of light. Thus red and black animals predominate.”
It’s also important to note that these fish likely take on an even more grotesque appearance as soon as they are removed from their natural environments. Many deep-sea dwellers have swim bladders (gas-filled organs that allow fish to control their buoyancy) built to withstand the intense pressure of the ocean abyss. As soon as these fish are brought to the surface, the drop in pressure can cause their swim bladders to blow up resulting in eye-bulging and body contortions.
We’ve scoured Roman Fedortsov’s Instagram in order to track down some of the weirdest of the weird creatures. Obviously, we’d prefer if these animals did not wind up in a fisherman’s net, however, the images do provide a unique glimpse into what lurks in the ocean abyss, and the images may just help secure funding for some eager scientist to dive in and study these denizens of the deep.
After this look at Roman Fedortsov’s most unbelievable photos, check out some of the other bizarre ocean creatures swimming deep below the surface. Then, see some other creepy deep sea creatures courtesy of Roman Fedortsov.