It may be freaky to think about, but the ocean is full of slimy, scaly fish that we have yet to discover. Sure, that might be a little bit a of seaweed that brushed your foot while you were swimming, or maybe it was a spooky unidentified creature of the deep. Who's to say, really?
Mashable reports that researches on an expedition from Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) and Museum Victoria found a fish during their travels that seems like it was ripped straight from a nightmare because it has NO FACE.
Just add this lil' guy to your list of ocean anxieties right below sharks, rip tides, and encountering a rogue floating dirty diaper.
Dianne Bray, who is in the Vertebrate Zoology department at Museum Victoria, and is currently doing research aboard the Investigator vessel, spoke to Mashable about the crew's rare find.
"It's seriously out of the ordinary," said Bray. "It came up from a depth of about 4,000 metres off the Newcastle region of New South Wales, and we had no idea what it was. Literally, we couldn't see any kind of eyes on the outside."
Researches documented the fish by taking photos and tissue samples, and then discovered something almost as odd as the faceless creature itself: it was actually already identified by scientists nearly 150 years ago during the Challenger expedition of 1872-1876.
The fish is a "Typhlonus nasus," more commonly known as a "cusk eel" or "faceless cusk."
According to Mashable, the faceless cusk can be found all around the world in the Arabian Sea, the waters of Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Japan, and Hawaii.
Here is the cusk eel on picture day, tweeted by science and wildlife journalist Sarah Keartes:
You know, the more we look at this fish the cuter it gets. Just keep swimmin', you beautiful sea potato.
Although this faceless fish happened to already have been ID'ed, Bray explains that there are tons of sea creatures that have yet to be discovered.
"Australia's waters haven't really been surveyed. We really have no idea what's exists down there," says Bray. "We know some of the fish we'll get, but yesterday we pulled up five fish in the afternoon from a 4,000 metre station — and none of them have been recorded in Australia before."
Researchers would like to identify and study as many fish as possible as a conservation effort. The more they know about what lurks under the waves, the better scientists and conservationists can protect them from the impacts of climate change, pollution and more.
Just be prepared for these spooky creatures to haunt your nightmares.