The ocean is full of crazy-looking creatures. Here are 16 weird animals you could encounter on your next dive:
1. Red-lipped batfish
Not only do red-lipped batfish have a unique look, but they also have a unique behavior, using their pectoral fins to “walk” across the seafloor.
2. Atlantic wolffish
With large, canine-like teeth, the Atlantic wolffish is one of the ocean’s spookier creatures. But, in actuality, they’re docile and slow-moving, pose little to no threat to divers.
3. Leafy sea dragon
Beautiful as they are elusive, leafy sea dragons are only found along the southern and western coasts of Australia. Their plantlike looks help them blend in with seaweed.
4. Wobbegong shark
They may look quite different from their sleek grey relatives, but rest assured wobbegongs are indeed sharks. They belong to a group called carpet sharks.
5. Mantis shrimp
A colorful critter that can pack a punch. The mantis shrimp’s naturally spring-loaded arms allow them to hit prey with the force of a .22-caliber bullet.
Although unicornfish are named for the bony “horn” that protrudes from their foreheads, scientists actually haven’t found a function for the appendage.
What do you get when you cross a lizard and a fish? These reptile-resemblers are also known as “grinners” because of their mouths full of teeth — which they even have on their tongues.
8. Velella velella
These free-floating hydrozoan float on the surface of the water, traversing the open ocean as wind catches their “sails.”
9. Red Indianfish
With a dorsal fin stretching the entire length of its body, Red Indianfish are unmistakable. These fish also have skin instead of scales, and they periodically shed their skin in one complete piece.
10. Weedy scorpionfish
Weedy scorpionfish are masters of disguise, developing elaborate appendages to mimic their reef surroundings. They’re amazing creatures to see on a dive — if you can spot them.
11. Ornate ghost pipefish
Their elongated snouts, slender bodies, and small filaments that resemble spikes give ornate ghost pipefish a signature look.
12. Shaun the sheep nudibranch
It doesn’t get much more adorable than this tiny nudibranch, which was named for its resemblance to a sheep.
13. Port Jackson Shark
Another odd shark to see on a dive is the Port Jackson. These southern-Australia dwellers have crushing plates and molar-like teeth instead of rows of sharp choppers.
14. Common marbled shrimp
Mixing patterns may be a fashion faux pas for humans, but the common marbled shrimp isn’t afraid to sport both stripes and spots.
15. Mola mola
With their nearly flat bodies, massive fins, and enormous size — they can weigh more than two tons — the mola mola is undoubtedly one of the oceans most interesting fish.
16. Flamingo tongue snail
The markings on these unusual-looking snails aren’t actually on their shells. The pattern is on the snail’s soft tissue, which is almost always wrapped around the outside of the shell.