The peanut worm (Sipuncula) is a deep-sea worm resembling a phallus. When threatened, they can contract their long head inwards and look more like a peanut. They can reproduce both sexually and asexually.
These incredible glass sponges have a skeleton made of a lattice of silica filaments, some of which can be up to a metre long. They feed by sifting bacteria and other single-celled organisms from the water gently passing over their delicate glass housing.
This nasty little bioluminescent shark, with its neatly arranged serrated teeth, inhabits the oceanic “twilight zone” in depths of up to 1,000 metres. It preys on big fishes, whales, dolphins and the occasional unfortunate swimmer, latching onto them before gouging out cookie-sized chunks of flesh.
This bright red spiny crab sports an armour of spikes which protect it from the dangers of the deep. These are not actually true crabs but related more to hermit crabs – although this hermit has traded in its shell for gnarly spikes.
This blob fish was collected from a depth of 2.5 kilometres off New South Wales. It has soft watery flesh and is an ambush predator that lies very still on the bottom, waiting for unsuspecting prey to pass by.
With no eyes, the “faceless” fish was found four kilometres below the surface. The species was first collected in the northern Coral Sea more than 140 years ago during the voyage of HMS Challenger, the world’s first round-the-world oceanographic expedition. It has been rediscovered in Australia after more than a century.
Zombie worms (Osedax) are commonly found in the decaying remains of whales on the ocean floor, burrowing into their bones to reach the sustenance within. With no functioning mouths, guts or anuses, they have bacteria that digest the grisly remains for them.
These alien lifeforms are not actually spiders at all but one of the oldest arthropods to grace planet Earth. Simplicity is their motto, being little more than a tube within a tube. Many sea spiders have legs that glow in the dark.
These cute little pink pigs, found in the Freycinet Marine Reserve off Tasmania, are the ocean’s vacuum cleaners, using their tube-like feet to move across the abyssal mud and hoovering up micro-organisms.
These iconic abyssal fishes, often called spiderfishes, prop high off the sea floor on their stilt-like fins. Like all fishes in the spiderfish family, they have very reduced eyes. To feed, they face into the current, extending their elongated pectoral fins forward and “feel” their prey items drifting by.