Oceans cover more than 70% of the earth’s environment. This fact makes understanding the habitual situations of the creatures that reside there all the more inevitable. We, humans, claim that we know so much about the world and the creatures that call this place home. But that is so not true. Our knowledge about our earth is insubstantial. We might have subdued the terrestrial ecosystems, but we are far from claiming that we know all of it.
Know about the Deep Sea more closely
The search for the unknown is deep-rooted inside the human brain. Deep-sea is one such region that is majorly unknown to the human race. This zone has always piqued the curiosity in humans and yet there is little to no information about this region.
The absence of sunlight, low temperatures, and painfully high water pressures are some of the highlights of how tough life is under the darkest shades of blue. At a depth of approximately 1000 m, when even the sunrays fail to penetrate the water column, the existence of life becomes questionable, but not for these creatures. Imagine a pressure of three subways being laid on you that is the type of pressure that we are talking about. Amazing, right?!
Today we will be taking a ride to one of the darkest, resilient, and largely absent from the human eye region that is still a mystery to the human mind.
Mysterious creatures that live in the depth of the sea
Life is such a mysterious thing, and so is the power of survival. The need to survive is something that is beautifully executed even by the largely unknown creatures that reside in depths of oceans fighting against all the odds. Let us have a look at some of these creatures that are living under these conditions with an unflinching power of adaptability.
1. Zombie Worms
They get their name because of their hunger. Even the world’s most enormous creatures, such as whales, are not prone to their appetite. The males tend to live as parasites on the females and are microscopic. These zombie worms are highly efficient because they clean the habitat.
2. Deep-Sea Dragonfish
At a length of about 15 cm, these dragonfish are tough to beat in the gloomy water. Their skin is slippery and slimy. If all this wasn’t enough, they even have fangs that do not let the prey fall out of the grip.
3. Goblin Shark
It’s in the name, isn’t it? This shark has highly protrusible jaws that make it a tough predator to escape from in a dark environment. Moreover, another feature that makes it different from the crowd is the presence of a long, elongated snout that is flat in appearance.
4. Pelican Eel
This creature has rarely made an appearance before the human eyes and remains a mystery to many. The name is given to this species because of its large mouth that resembles a pelican.
It is due to its large mouth opening that this sea creature can feed on prey that is double in size. Another tactic that is used by this creature is that its tail generates a pink glow.
5. Seadevil Anglerfish
If you thought that the great Mona Lisa is a wonder, hold that thought. This creature that lives in those odd situations is no less than a wonder. This fish has a special flashy growth on its head that plays a key role in trapping the prey. Many species exist and in some, the males are very small than the females. The females can be about 20 cm long, while the males are not that fortunate when it comes to size. They are just 2.5 cm long.
World Most Mysterious Habitat; What Makes It Habitable
We have been studying the same things that water, sun, and continuous breathing are what keeps us alive. Have you ever wondered that under the depth of oceans when all the aforementioned characteristics of life are minimal, How do these creatures live there? Adaptability is the one word that comes to mind whenever we are talking about these creatures. What is the extent of their adaptability, and what are the odds that are fighting off every day? Let us discuss them in detail.
High Water Pressures are Bearable for them
If we are to follow the rules of physics that are applied to us all, then high pressure can crush us. But the case here is quite different. When these creatures breathe, they get rid of 90% of the air in their lungs and keep only 10%. The existence of these creatures under these harsh environments is largely based on their dependence on limited oxygen. Given below are some of their famous tactics to existing even in low oxygen supply.
Hold that Breath
This feature is the most prominent. We humans cannot even exist in the terrestrial environment without holding our breath for just a minute. But several pieces of research have found that deep-sea creatures like elephant seals can hold their breath for hours. Isn’t it fascinating?
Flexible Lungs to the Rescue
Lungs are one of the flexible organs in the body of animals. In the case of deep creatures, the flexibility is on another level. One classic example of such flexibility is highly visible in deep-sea crustaceans. Their lungs tend to collapse under all the pressure which causes the gas to flow out of the lungs into the bloodstream. The muscles become more familiar with the storage of myoglobin than hemoglobin. All these measures make existence under such tough conditions a piece of cake.
The Heart Beats Slow
Another feature that deserves a standing ovation is that the heartbeat is slowed. In Weddel seal, for example, the heartbeat is reduced to 4 beats per minute. Some prefer to stop their beating when they are diving. The heart rate of diving Blue Whales oscillates between two extremes as it sinks and rises; very fast and very slow! It can beat as slow as only two beats per minute!
Idly sitting can be Good
A sedentary lifestyle can lead to the onset of chronic disease. But not when it comes to surviving in the depths of the sea. When we move all the stored energy is converted, and we tend to feel the urge to eat. These deep creatures prefer to do things differently. They will glide rather than swimming. This stores a humongous amount of oxygen in their bodies.
Metabolic Activity is Not Allowed
Remember the fight and flight response. When we are under a stressful condition, our body does not allow metabolic activities to happen. So when these creatures have to live in one of the stressful habitats of the world it is organic for them to pause all their metabolic activities.
No for Nitrogen
When the rate of nitrogen has lowered the chances of decomposition, narcosis, and sickness are severely reduced.
Swim bladders Are the Real Heroes
It is a magnificent thing to allow your body to survive at tough barometric pressures. Lung-like swim bladders are a blessing in disguise for these deep-sea creatures. These organs are responsible for controlling buoyancy. The heart rate of diving Blue Whales oscillates between two extremes as it sinks and rises; very fast and very slow! It can beat as slow as only two beats per minute!
Deep-sea is a tough habitat to survive, but it is a place that the deep-sea creatures proudly call their home. Under the nose of several challenges, these creatures are thriving and owning their habitat. From the less use of oxygen to the controlled mechanism of slowed metabolism, these are some of the tactics that are used by these creatures to up their survival game.
Nida Riaz is a freelance blogger based in Pakistan. She started writing about her passion for the environment when the world came to a stop in early 2020.