Crazy Creatures of the Deep
You probaby didn't know that the Gulf of Mexico is home to one of the most diverse collections of marine life on the planet. Check out some of the most unusual creatures found in the gulf.
Venus Fly-Trap Anemone: These anemone are named for their resemblance to the carnivorous plant. Found deep underwater (usually about 4,900 feet), the venus fly-trap anemone feed on small fish and other organisms that become entangled in their tentacles. Discovered in 1920, venus fly trap anemone are incredibly large; they can grow up to one food wide.
Transparent Sea Cucumber: Another spectactular creature of the deep, the transparent sea cucumber crawls along slowly--roughly two centimeters per minute. It feeds on sediment and detritus along the ocean floor. It was only recently discovered thanks to the Census of Marine Life, and scientists call it the "Pink Sea-Through Fantasia." This specimen was sighted a full 1.7 miles underwater.
Giant Oarfish: The giant oarfish was first filmed alive and well in 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico. Before that, giant oarfish had only been spotted dying near the water's surface or washed up on shore. They can wave their long dorsal fins to rapidly propel themselves both forward and backward. The fish can reach up to 17 meters long, and sailors often mistook them for sea serpents.
Flying Gurnard: Despite what the name of this fish may imply, the flying gurnard cannot actually fly. Instead, it uses its fins to "walk" along the seabed and to startle potential predators. The flying gurnard prods the ocean floor in search of crabs and other crustaceans.