The world's oceans are home to an incredible variety of life forms, from tiny plankton organisms to giant whales. And not all sea creatures are menacing or scary-looking. In fact, there are many cute and fascinating creatures that you may not have known before.
Which animals are these? More on that in a moment – please answer the following question first:
Opisthoteuthis californiana is a particularly lovable creature – it likes to curl up in its tentacles to hide itself and use its small fins, which look like ears, to get around, among other things. Its body resembles a pancake, earning it the name flapjack octopus. Some scientists are also considering naming it adorabilis because of how adorable it looks. It can be found off northern California, among other places, where it feeds on copepod and glass crabs.
The leaf nudibranch is a tiny marine slug, only up to one centimeter in size, found in the shallow waters off Japan, the Philippines and Indonesia. Thanks to her black eyes, cute antennae and physique, she looks amazingly similar to a sheep.
In fact, it also grazes in the sea: the cute little animal absorbs chloroplasts from seaweed and algae in order to produce energy from them. The leaf sheep snail can thus carry out photosynthesis itself and glows green.
What doesn't sound so delightful in German as a snail has an almost poetic name in English: "Sea Angel". The marine snails, which live in the cold to temperate parts of the seas, are known for their unique shape. The little creatures, which are just five centimeters tall, hover like an angel at a depth of up to 600 metres.
The vampire squid may sound terrifying, but with its 12-inch length and handsome face, it's unlikely to scare most people. He got his name because he has skins between his arms and it seems that he could wrap himself in a cloak. Residing in warm and tropical seas, the octopus is capable of ejecting luminous clouds of particles. In addition, its arms can light up to attract prey.
Ghost fish, also known as high-gazers, directly reveal what's in the upper part of the body because the top of their head is transparent.
They appear mystical, but also quite cute due to their large eyes, with which they can still see well in deep water. The loners only live at a depth of 400 to 2500 meters. There they are looking for zooplankton.
This deep red colored comb jellyfish creates a spectacular light show at a depth of up to 1500 meters: thanks to bioluminescence, stripes on the body light up to attract prey. Since the color red is almost invisible in the deep sea, Lampocteis cruentiventer can then hide its meals in its abdomen. Because if they can produce light themselves, there is a high risk that predators would become aware of it. From a marine biological point of view, it is not a real jellyfish because it lacks the typical nettle cells.
Big eyes and fringes on the head: a Neoclinus okazakii is a particularly cute representative of the pike blennies, of which there are 14 genera and 91 species worldwide. Most of them are quite small and at home in warm coastal regions. However, respect is required for some. The Neoclinus blanchardi, which is up to 30 centimeters tall, can open its mouth wide and show its teeth when it feels threatened.
In the deep sea there are also sea creatures that can send shivers down your spine:
"Aha! Ten minutes of everyday knowledge" is WELT's knowledge podcast. Every Tuesday and Thursday we answer everyday questions from the field of science. Subscribe to the podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Deezer, Amazon Music, among others, or directly via RSS feed.