Spookiest Deep Sea Sights of the 2019 Nautilus Expedition

The darkest depths of the world’s oceans are home to some of the most bizarrely creepy features and creatures on this planet. From gurgling hydrothermal vents to cannibalistic lingcod, we’ve put together a compilation of the spookiest deep-sea moments seen during our 2019 season and let’s just say you may want to have a night light handy.

Nightmare warning: while diving at the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary we came across dozens of octopuses mercilessly devouring the 4- to 5-meter-long skeletal remains – including some internal organs – of what is believed to be a baleen whale. Large scavengers like eelpouts were seen stripping the skeleton of its blubber while bone-eating Osedax worms were hard at work consuming lipids, or fats, from the bones.

Not spooked yet? Check out these slithering sea stars moving along the seafloor via thousands of tube feet located on the bottoms of their bodies. As if that wasn’t enough to get your adrenaline pumping, wait until you see one slurping down a fish more than half of its size. Yeah, it’s the stuff of nightmares.

Lurking from the depths, we also saw a billowing dumbo octopus using cape-like fins to propel its way through the ocean like a vampire dashing out of a cave. Eeks!

But we’ve saved the best for last. Perhaps most terrifying was the ghostly Deepstaria jelly that our team saw hovering in front of the Hercules cam. This haunting cnidarian unfurled its translucent bag-like bell to reveal a geometric mesh pattern it uses to feed itself nutrients. A bright red isopod can be seen taking up residence inside of the scyphozoan bell. The exact relationship of these two species is not known, but it is likely the small crustacean consumes pieces of the jelly while remaining hidden from predators. Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up.

Happy Halloween, from the Nautilus team! (Now go grab that night light.)