This Venus fly-trap anemone, living 4,920 feet (1500 meters) below the surface waters of the Gulf of Mexico, is only one among thousands of photogenic species cataloged by the decade-long Census of Marine Life, which is drawing to a close this fall. Click through to see more.
A female copepod, a tiny, deep-water crustacean. Crustaceans claim top spot in the sheer number of varieties among the planet's ocean life, comprising almost a fifth of the known species.
A deep-water octopus. Mollusca, a phylum that encompasses leggy invertebrates like the squid and octopus, along with their less charismatic and more oozy brethren slugs, snails, clams comes in second only to crustaceans for sheer number of species inhabiting the Earth's oceans. 8,860 feet (2700 meters), Alaminos Canyon, Gulf of Mexico.
A deep-water amphipod, a kind of crustacean, Northern Gulf of Mexico.
Named after Dudley Foster, pilot of the US Navy submersible Alvin, who collected the first specimen, this tiny jelly is common near the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, an ocean-floor dividing line that separates the North American tectonic plate from the Eurasian, running south from Iceland down to the Azores.
The jeweled squid, Histioteuthis bonellii, swims above the Mid-Atlantic Ridge at freezing depths from 1,640 feet (500 meters) to 6,560 feet (2,000 meters). It passes its life in total darkness.
Deep-sea jellyfish. When attacked by a predator, it uses bioluminescence to "scream" for help. This amazing light show is known as a burglar alarm display. East of Japan's Izu-Oshina Island, 2,640 feet (805 meters) down, the picture was captured by a Remote Operating Vehicle, or ROV.
The Sargassum Fish (Histrio histrio) is a member of the frogfish family, a group of small, globular fishes with grasping, limb-like pectoral fins, a trapdoor-like mouth high on the head, and a "fishing lure" (formed by the first dorsal spine) on the snout. It typically lives in open waters. Although the Sargassum Fish is capable of swimming quite rapidly, it often crawls through the Sargassum Weed, using its pectoral fins like arms.
Elpidia belyaevi, a new species of sea cucumber from the Arctic deep sea.
Zombie worm (Osedax roseus). This worm roots itself deep inside whale bones and devours them as energy sources. All Osedax males are dwarfs and live captive inside a gelatinous tube that encases the females. The bizarre arrangement allows for swift and efficient fertilization of the female's eggs.
Red-lined paper bubble, off Japan's Cape Nomamisaki. This new species was discovered in a sperm whale carcass in the deep sea. Its tiny eyes, two black dots, are protected by wing-like folds.
Imagine living in the sea where it is permanently dark, cold, and food is scarce. Many animals at this depth may go weeks or months between meals. If you find something to eat, you have to hang on to it. This is why so many deep-sea fishes have lots of big teeth. This dragonfish even has teeth on its tongue! They would be terrifying animals if they weren't the size of a banana.
A Fathead (Psychrolutes microporos) trawled during the NORFANZ expeditions at a depth between 1013m and 1340m, on the Norfolk Ridge, north-west of New Zealand, June 2003.
Vampyroteuthis, or vampire squid, is a cephalopod that lives in the oxygen minimum zone of Monterey Bay, California, at depths of 600-900 meters.
Alviniconcha sp. (Hydrothermal vent snail) Suiyo Seamount. This snail inhabits deep-sea hydrothermal vents. This individual is probably a new species, and only a single specimen has been discovered to date. Where are its peers?
Male of the new species Leptocheliidae sensu lato, collected at Ningaloo (NW Australia)
A new species of hydromedusae, Bathykorus bouilloni, common below 3,280 feet (1000 meters). Hundreds of these creatures were observed by a remotely operated vehicle in the Arctic, showing that a new species can be common in a habitat.