Strange, bizarre, unusual, and yes, down-right weird creatures live in the ocean, and now you can add a new one to the list: the flabby whalefish. According to a National Geographic article this (and many other “unique” sea creatures) were captured when the New Zealand National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) pulled a trawl net through the ocean’s depths ranging from 1.3 to 1.7 miles deep. It should come as no surprise that new species were discovered during this expedition, especially when one considers the wide range of crazy-looking critters that can be found right on the ocean’s surface—just take a look at this ocean sunfish (mola), for example.

a mola on the surface of the atlantic ocean

The ocean sunfish, also called a mola. This one was lounging on the surface of the ocean, right next to our boat. Strange-looking? You betcha.

We boaters spend a lot of time on the water, and many of us are bound to encounter unusual creatures like these. At least, we’re going to see those that live at or near the water’s interface with the air. But deep-water expeditions like this one by NIWA are important, to say the least. The deep ocean remains one of the last unexplored places on Planet Earth, and it’s sure to hold many wonders which we have yet to discover. Finding out about creatures like this will help us understand those oddballs that have a more concrete impact on our lives, like the Frankenfish, which has recently invaded the east coast of America. So keep at it, science guys, we’re staying tuned—even if we're just a little freaked out.

-Lenny Rudow