Even though we only managed to explore a fraction of the underwater world that lies beneath or seas and oceans, we did manage to uncover about 28,000 species of fish so far. Some fish species are definitely stranger than others though, and most of that strangeness can be mostly attributed to adaptation since survival at extreme depths is no easy feat. Today we’re going to present a list regarding 20 of the world’s weirdest fish, some of which have downright frightening appearances. Are you ready to go face to face with the likes of the Jawfish, Coffinfish and Fangtooth?
- 20. The Jawfish
- 19. The Wolffish
- 18. The Coffinfish
- 17. The Snakehead Fish
- 16. The Fangtooth
- 15. The Parrotfish
- 14. The Stonefish
- 13. The Goblin Shark
- 12. The Anglerfish
- 11. The Blobfish
- 10. The Oranda Goldfish
- 9. Paddlefish
- 8. Ocean Sunfish
- 7. Alligator Gar
- 6. Pointed Sawfish
- 5. Pacific Barreleye
- 4. Candiru
- 3. Freshwater Whipray
- 2. Axolotl
- 1. Frilled Shark
20. The Jawfish
Even though it might look like something out of a horror movie, the Jawfish actually feeds on plankton, which means that it’s not fond at all of human flesh. What makes this fish particularly interesting apart from its ghastly visage is that it hatches its eggs inside its own mouth for protection purposes. From what we’ve seen so far, it definitely has enough room to fulfill this purpose.
19. The Wolffish
The Wolffish has nothing in common with the famous predator, whether we’re talking about looks or personality. Even though it might grow up to 6.5 feet in length, the Wolffish is actually quite shy and has a habit of hiding in caves that can be found on the ocean bed. Its diet consists of clams and other hard-shelled invertebrates, which is probably why it has such scary teeth.
18. The Coffinfish
Native to the eastern coast of Australia, the Coffinfish has a rather unattractive name and an even more unattractive appearance. This fish enjoys living in the muddy spots on the ocean bed, probably because it can blend easily in its surroundings this way. Even though it’s not exactly a fish per se but rather a species of sea toad, the Coffinfish is undoubtedly one of the weirdest and most terrifying sea creatures in the world.
17. The Snakehead Fish
The Snakehead Fish is quite a popular little creature, since it was featured on numerous TV shows such as River Monsters or Frankenfish. These predatory fish are native to the waters of Africa and Asia, and even though they look quite scary, they are actually regarded as an important food source in Vietnam or Burna.
16. The Fangtooth
The Fangtooth’s sinister appearance is owed to the fact that it lives in the deep sea, where the extreme pressures and lack of light contribute to a rather inhospitable environment. Nonetheless, the Fanghtooth is perfectly adapted to live in these rough conditions, which is why it features a small, compact and tough body as well as a series of large fang-looking teeth.
15. The Parrotfish
The Parrotfish lives in shallow tropical and subtropical oceans, especially in the Indo-Pacific regions of our world. Aside from the fact that it has a weird habit of surrounding itself in a mucus cocoon before “going to bed”, the Parrotfish is actually one of the prettiest fish on our list because of its beautifully colored scales in blue, green turquoise, pink and orange. However, experts decided to name it as such because of its parrot-like beak, which is used to grasp algae from rocky surfaces or coral.
14. The Stonefish
This master of camouflage is called the Stonefish, and as you can probably imagine, it looks pretty much like an ordinary rock. The thing is, this particular fish is actually one of the most venomous creatures on the planet, so it goes without saying that if you happen to step on it by accident you’re going to have a rough day. The venom of the Stonefish can actually be fatal to humans if it is not treated in time.
13. The Goblin Shark
The Goblin Shark’s appearance is quite disturbing to say the least, not only because of its large mouth and sharp teeth but also because of its strange, flat snout that sticks right out of the top of its head. Also known as the “living fossil”, the Goblin Shark is actually an ancient species that traces its lineage to 125 million years ago.
12. The Anglerfish
The terrifying Anglerfish was named due to its unique way of catching its pray. This underwater creature flaunts a distinct fleshy growth that extends from its head and acts as a lure. Some species of Anglerfish are known to inhabit deep-sea waters, while some live on the continental shelf. These beastly carnivores come in either dark gray or dark brown shades, and their size varies from 8 inches to 3 feet long.
11. The Blobfish
The Blobfish is a deep-sea creature that inhabits the waters off the coast of Australia and Tasmania. Since the fish lives at depths between 2000 and 3900 feet, its body is actually made out of a gooey gelatinous mass that allows it to float effortlessly without swimming. Even though it was recently acknowledged as the ugliest fish in the world, we’re pretty sure that some of the other fish on our list surpass it by far.
10. The Oranda Goldfish
The Oranda Goldfish is probably one of the most normal-looking fish on our list, but there is one aspect in particular that sets it apart from its peers. The Oranda flaunts a fleshy outgrowth that can be found on the upper side of its head and on half of its face. This fish can grow up to 12 inches in length normally, but there was the particular case of a goldfish named Bruce that reached 15 inches.
Much like the Goblin Shark, the Paddlefish’s long snout helps it detect weak electrical fields, which can definitely come in handy when they’re searching for food. The Paddlefish has a rather menacing appearance, but it actually feeds on small zooplankton exclusively. With a maximum length of 5 feet and a weight of 100 pounds, the Paddlefish can be found in multiple rivers in the USA.
8. Ocean Sunfish
Boasting an average adult weight of 2,200 pounds, the Ocean Sunfish is officially known as the world’s heaviest bony fish. This fish feeds mainly on jellyfish, and as you can imagine, it needs quite a lot of them in order to satisfy its massive hunger. The Ocean Sunfish swims mainly in tropical waters, and it features a flattened body that can be as tall as it is long when its ventral and dorsal fins are completely extended.
7. Alligator Gar
The Alligator Gar looks nothing like an alligator at a glance, but it does feature a double row of large teeth on the upper side of its jaw. This massive, ancient fish can reach a weight of 300 pounds as well as a length of 8 feet. This means that it isn’t particularly easy to catch by anglers, since its toughness and resilience are actually quite legendary. The Alligator Gar feeds by hiding in reeds and ambushing its prey, and even though there have been some reports of attacks on humans, none of them were actually confirmed officially.
6. Pointed Sawfish
The Pointed Sawfish is definitely one of the most menacing fish in the sea, since it is equipped with a very potent weapon. Its long rostrum flaunts between 18 and 22 sets of lateral teeth, which are used to slash and kill the unfortunate prey that happens to appear in its crosshairs. Furthermore, the saw is also used to track and identify prey with the help of a series of ampullary pores that detect electrical fields. The Pointed Sawfish is definitely well equipped for combat, that’s for sure.
5. Pacific Barreleye
The Pacific Barreleye is strange but not in a creepy way. This fish might appear quite normal on a glance, but a closer look actually reveals that its head is completely transparent. In a twisted turn of evolution, the Pacific Barreleye ended up having its eyes facing upwards while encased in a protective fluid within the head. These eyes are very sensible to light and are used to detect silhouettes directly above the fish. When it needs to view the prey ahead, the Pacific Barreleye switches to a vertical position, while its eyes rotate and fix on the target in sight.
Even though it may not look like much, the Candiru fish is undoubtedly a dangerous little creature that can definitely ruin your day. And that’s because the Candiru has an acquired taste for blood, and it feeds by entering the gill chamber of certain fish through streams of water. The problem is that it sometimes mistakes those streams of water with the water jets produced by men or women who are urinating in its waters, which causes it to quickly jump ahead and lodge itself in the urethra. To make things worse, once inside, the Candiru brings out a few short spines from its gill in order to stand in place, while its small teeth make an incision from which it can feed at will.
3. Freshwater Whipray
The Freshwater Whipray is huge! Measuring about 16.5 feet in length, this massive fish inhabits the sandy riverbeds of northern Australia, New Guinea, Borneo and Thailand, and it also uses a special electrosensory system in order to find and kill its prey. That being said, there’s not a whole lot we currently know about this stunning creature, and so scientists are currently trying to solve its mysteries so that we may protect it in the future.
Also known as the Mexican walking fish or the Mexican salamander, the Axolotl is technically a neotenic salamander, which is an amphibian, not a fish. Sadly, due to increasing pollution and the expansion of Mexico’s cities, the Axolotl is currently a critically endangered species, which is bad news for scientists who often use them in studies thanks to their ability to regenerate their limbs. These fascinating water dwellers can reach a common length of about 9 inches, and they are native exclusively to Lake Xochimilco and Lake Chalco in central Mexico.
1. Frilled Shark
The Frilled Shark is a rare and near threatened species that inhabits the depths of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Living at depths of up to 5,150 feet, this “living fossil” can reach up to 6.6 feet in length and features an elongated, dark brown body. Since it is rarely seen alive in its natural habitat, the Frilled Shark is not at all dangerous to humans, but it still looks quite scary nonetheless, wouldn’t you agree?