It’s an extreme habitat—cold, dark and under tremendous pressure from the weight of the water above. But the deep sea is home to diverse habitats where life has found ways to thrive, and the deeper you go, the weirder it gets...
Three-quarters of a mile down
Here you might find a vampire squid, which confuses its predators by ejecting a sticky, bioluminescent mucus that glows for up to 10 minutes.
This squid feeds on marine detritus, including (wait for it) fecal pellets.
The beautiful blobfish also likes to hang out at this depth.
Its minimal muscles and skeletal structure allow it to survive the intense pressure thousands of feet below the ocean’s surface.
One mile down
Deep-sea anglerfish live about this far down.
They’re festooned with spiny teeth in huge jaws, and a bioluminescent lure created from a fleshy protuberance of their own bodies.
1.3 miles down
The largest sea sponge on record—approximately the size of a minivan—was recently discovered at this depth near the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.
Sponges are animals, not plants, and this one could be 1,000 years old.
1.5 miles down
Here lurks a fish called the chimaera, also known as a ghost shark.
Distantly related to sharks and rays, this fish has no bones at all; its skeleton is made entirely of cartilage.
To learn more about the deep sea’s many oddities, listen to this week’s A Blue View: