Cock-Eyed Squid, Ice Cream Cone Worm Are Names Of Marine Species

The deep sea is an incredibly mysterious place: little or no light penetrates this part of the ocean, making it easy to assume that life is sparse in these seemingly uninhabitable waters.

But a team of Singaporean and Indonesian researchers have proven that the deep sea is actually teeming with life.

As part of the 14-day South Java Deep-Sea Biodiversity Expedition 2018, they went deep into the waters off the southern coast of West Java.

These relatively unexplored parts are home to thousands of marine species.

Explorers collected more than 12,000 specimens from 800 different species. Of these, more than a dozen were never-before-seen species of crustaceans.


And because deep-sea residents of such a special part of Earth, conventional names like Peter and Mary just would not do.

Or so researchers thought.

So they conjured up names like City Of Glass and Dumbo Octopus, making the deep sea sound a lot more exciting.

Let’s extend a warm welcome to our 14 oddly-named deep-sea buddies.

1. Darth Vader Isopod


Although not a new discovery per se, scientists did not know that it lived in the waters off Indonesia.

But what is it?

No, this isn’t an albino cockroach. Like the others on the list, this is a variety of giant isopod, a crustacean distantly related to shrimp and crabs.

At 30cm, the crustacean is much larger than its shallow-water counterparts, which can be as tiny as 0.8cm.

Perhaps it’s a case of deep sea gigantism, which could be a result of the high pressure and colder temperatures common deep underwater.

Depth: 800m below sea level

2. Cock-Eyed Squid


The squid’s name makes a lot more sense once you realise that one of its eyeballs is significantly bigger than the other.

The larger eye focuses on finding food, while the smaller eye peers upwards, possibly on the lookout for predators.

Don’t laugh at it’s name, it’s able to watch out for its own back — something that we can’t do.

Depth: 300m below sea level

3. Dumbo Octopus


Indeed, the beloved Disney elephant character was the inspiration behind this species’ name

The two flaps on its head aren’t ears — the creature use it to swim.

At just 15-20cm, it’s an adorably-sized octopus that is coloured a striking dark purple — oddly similar to the description of a gummy bear.

Depth: 3,000 to 4,000 metres below sea level

4. Fang Tooth


It kinda resembles the angler fish from Finding Nemo, but without the light ‘bulb’, doesn’t it?

With such malicious-looking teeth to ensure that it’s lunch — typically shrimp or fish — wouldn’t escape its grasp, you’d better be swimming as fast as Joseph Schooling if you ever antagonise one of these.

Thankfully, the possibility of fatal injury is low, considering how they are 10cm in length.


Depth: 500m below sea level

5. Deep Sea Decorator


Despite their name, these tiny crabs aren’t the interior designers of the ocean.

Instead, they get their name from their habit of hiding from predators by disguising themselves with whatever material they can find.

They may be only 5cm in width, but don’t underestimate their intelligence.

Depth: 400m to 800m below sea level

6. Oddball Hermit


The discovery that this tiny hermit crab lives in a solitary coral is groundbreaking.

That’s because scientists previously thought that solitary coral only had symbiotic relationships with a type of worm.

Scientists’ discovery could strengthen the understanding of how sea creatures depend on one another for survival.

Or perhaps the hermit crab was just chilling there? #plottwist

Depth: 200m below sea level

7. Deep Sea Daisies


They aren’t flowers, but instead near-immobile animals that live on sunken wood.

The small, flattened disc-like creatures have no stomach or anus.

Like the Darth Vader Isopod, they aren’t new but their discovery in Javanese waters is.

Depth: 500m below sea level

8. Ice Cream Cone Worm


This 6cm-long tube-like worm is not for licking, although it looks like a Fear Factor-esque challenge.

Interestingly, the worm builds a protective tube around itself, using its tentacles to glue soft sediment grains to form a conical structure.

Depth: 300m below sea level

9. City Of Glass


Not to be confused for a dried tulip, this 1m-long sponge is actually made up of intertwined glass fibres rooted to the seabed.

The sponge sways with the current, filtering the seawater for organic matter which it consumes.

A convenient way to get food. Lazy people: take note.

Depth: 300m to 2000m below sea level

10. Chainsaw Lobster


The chainsaw would be referring to its right claw.

Just look at it, it could be used as a prop in Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Fortunately, the crab doesn’t have sinister, murderous intentions.

Instead, it uses the claw as a sieve to catch small animals for consumption, which is especially useful since it is blind.

Depth: 500m and deeper

11. Snow White


Mirror mirror on the wall, this is definitely the whitest of them all.

This 4cm-long animal comes from the family of squat lobsters, a super family with more than 900 species to date.

Like deep sea daisies, these tiny lobsters live among sunken, rotting wood usually from trees or timber from ship wrecks.

Depth: 800m below sea level

12. Swimming Sea Cucumber


Swimming cucumbers aren’t the kind you put on your eyes for relaxation or those found in your sandwich.

This athletic species swims all day using the huge tongue-like protrusion on the back of its mouth in search of richer feeding grounds.

Who says animals living in the deepest depths of the sea are all stagnant and sluggish?

Depth: 800m below sea level

13. Most Peculiar Scallop


Don’t let this tiny creature’s docile nature fool you.

The 2-3cm scallop is actually quite the carnivore, preying on very small animals.

Depth: 500m below sea level

14. Tripod Wonder


Kind of looks like one of the fishes you see in the wet market, doesn’t it?

But look closely: its eyes are missing retina lenses, making it unable to focus on objects.

This species is one of the handful that are hermaphrodites: exhibiting biological traits of both male and female simultaneously.

Because it might be hard to find a mate when one cannot see clearly in the dark, right?

Depth: 900m below sea level

*Bonus* 15. Trash

One man’s trash is another crustacean’s treasure.

A hermit crab was discovered hiding in discarded underwear.

Guess it feels more comfortable with the lights off — and its underwear on.

But in all seriousness, it goes to show that marine trash is a problem — and one we can help fight by reducing our plastic usage.

Now tell me, do you really need that plastic bag?

Strange but hilarious

Thankfully the people who named these creatures didn’t pick my name, or I would be signing off as Enthusiastic Two-Legged Writer or something.

Congratulations to the exploration crew on their ground-breaking discoveries!

What a weird and wonderful world we live in.


Featured image from Pusat Penelitian Oseanografi – LIPI