Roman Fedortsov is a fisherman hailing from Murmansk, Russia, a city near the Barents Sea. Roman works on a fishing boat, more accurately on a trawler, which uses a large net to catch fish. Trawler’s nets can pull deep sea denizens from time to time, and they are nothing short of bizarre. Let’s look at some of the strangest fish he shared on Twitter.

A frilled shark looks like it came from some strange dream. With its large yellow and black eyes, menacing teeth, and dark coating make the fish look like out of this world.

The strange features found on the deep sea dwellers are made in order to adapt to harsh environments. Some fish are black, some are translucent, and some have weird combinations of color because down in the mesopelagic zone (depths between 200 and 1000 meters) there is no light coming from the surface, and with the water being extremely cold and dark, the looks are there to protect them. If they are hard to spot, they are hard to hunt down, increasing their chances of survival.

A female deep-sea anglerfish known as a “sea devil”

All-black color featured on some predator fishes serves the purpose of hiding away prey the fish has eaten, since many deep sea animals are bioluminescent, glowing with light. Black coating hides the prey, like a thick black curtain, so that the next meal can’t spot deep-sea predators.

Large, sharp, and pointy teeth are there because down below in those dark depths every meal is precious and losing it after catching it is not an option. Predator fish found in dark depths hunt by waiting in one spot and then as soon as the prey comes by, they snag it in less than a second, swallowing it whole. As John Sparks, a curator in the ichthyology department at the American Museum of Natural History in New York said “It’s a stealth environment. You don’t have to be streamlined and fast. You can be a lie-and-wait ball of flesh with a big gap and dagger-like teeth. If you have a big jaw that unhinges — almost 180 degrees — no matter what prey you encounter, you can grasp it with your teeth.”

A grenadier or rattail in the Macrouridae family. It is a deep sea gadid — a type of cod

Also, many deep sea fish have large eyes. This helps them in catching and reflecting tiny amounts of light found at dark depths. The eyes diversity found in the deep sea is extremely wide. Sparks also noted that “The thinking used to be that because the deep sea is a very homogeneous environment in terms of temperature and salinity, that there were just a few species but that they were very widespread.”

Recent findings showed that diversity found at the bottom of the sea is much larger than previously thought. “But when we looked more closely at the morphology and genetic data, diversity was higher than we thought. It’s a very species-rich environment — the question is, how are they diversifying?”

For more pictures of weird deep sea dwellers, visit Federotsov’s Twitter and Instagram accounts.

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