Aug 4th 2010 By Simon Crisp
We already knew there was some pretty weird stuff in the sea (Fishzilla, anyone?
), but it turns out we didn't quite appreciate just how much there really is ... or how weird it could be.
A 10-year study of marine life around the world involving 360 scientists recently ended, resulting in a "Census of Marine Life." In it, experts log the 230,000 species estimated to exist in our oceans and claim that, for every known species, there are another four
yet to be discovered.
And going on the ones already recorded, the undiscovered ones could be fairly freaky. Just look at the dragon fish from Australia (above), which lives in permanent darkness and has teeth in its tongue
After the jump, we've got a deep sea Japanese jellyfish that literally "screams" for help.
The experts say only 12 percent of identified marine species are fish, while crustaceans account for about 20 percent and mollusks 17 percent. Micro-organisms are 10 percent of sea life and segmented worms 7 percent. Much of the rest are said to be things like corals, jellyfish and sea urchins.
But before you get too excited and run into the sea off the Jersey shore looking for sea monsters
, it's worth noting that Australian and Japanese waters are said to be the most biodiverse, though the Mediterranean is also a hotspot.
Deep-sea jellyfish: When attacked by a predator, it uses bioluminescence to "scream" for help.
Venus flytrap, Actinoscyphia
species, in the Gulf of Mexico at a depth of 5,000 feet.
A brittle star often associated with sea pens, off Sanriku, Japan, over a mile deep.
This red-lined paper bubble was discovered in a sperm whale carcass in the deep sea. Its tiny eyes are protected by cephalic shields.
Below, a member of the frogfish family, a group of small, globular fishes with stalked, grasping, limb-like pectoral fins with small gill openings behind the base, a trapdoor-like mouth high on the head and a "fishing lure" (formed by the first dorsal spine) on the snout.