Think the fantastic fish of Finding Nemo were just fiction? The oceans are filled with creatures that defy imagination.
As a scuba diver, how many can you tick of the list?
Native to the tropical Western Pacific, mandarinfish are some of the flashiest fish species around. Their bright stripes and spots serve as a warning for bigger fish to keep away, as these fish secrete a toxic mucus.
Scorpionfish, besides being some of the most venomous fish species on earth, are also masters of camouflage. They may be pretty to look at, but don’t touch them — their spines secrete a venomous mucus that causes a stinging sensation.
Seadragons are one of the most bizarre types of fish, and in this already strange group, the leafy seadragon stands out as one of the strangest. Leaf-shaped appendages covering their bodies help these fish blend in with the surrounding seaweed. Naturally found along the southern coast of Australia.
The longhorn cowfish gets its name from the horn-like appendages protruding from its head. When they get hungry, they blow into the sand on the bottom of the ocean to uncover small prey.
Pipefish, related to seahorses and just as weird, have long tube-like snouts with a tiny mouth on the end. You’ll find more than 200 species in tropical coastal waters around the world.
The cube-shaped boxfish is just as cute as it is strange. Most species of these small saltwater fish rarely grow larger than a few inches, making them favorites for private aquarium collections.
Stonefish, a type of scorpionfish and the most venomous fish known, hides on the bottom of the ocean, waiting to ambush its prey. If you want to see one without the risk of stepping on it (ouch!).
Frogfish, another diver favorite, come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors — 45 species in total. They all have some weird attributes in common, including their ability to blend in with the surrounding environment, change their shape and hunt prey using a worm-like wriggling lure attached to their heads.
The wolf eel isn’t really an eel at all; it’s a species of wolffish. These typically docile fish have a nasty bite when provoked, and they can grow up to 8 feet long. This shy species prefers to hang out in caves and crevices.
Sunfish, or Mola Mola, are the world’s heaviest bony fish — and one of the strangest looking. These odd tail-less fish are often the highlight of scuba diving trips in the world’s tropical temperate waters.
Text curtsey of US Today