The ocean remains largely a mystery to humans, due to its depth and vastness. But from what we do know, there are a plethora of intriguing, colorful and incredibly strange marine organisms that make up its ecosystem.
Like any ecosystem, the ocean can be a perilous place for the creatures that dwell there. For many creatures, survival depends on being able to avoid becoming a meal for larger predators. Thus, there are many sea animal that have very special mechanisms of survival; some, for example, have the unusual property of being transparent—indeed you can see right through their bodies.
Of course, there are incredible and strange creatures roaming on land too; in the depths of the tropical rain-forests for example, there are many unusual see-through species of frogs and insects.
In this article we’ll explore a few of these fascinating specimens that dwell both above and below the water.
1. Translucent sea angel snail
Surreal and ethereal, it’s hard to believe these animals are simply slugs.
2. Salpa maggiore
Didn’t see this one coming? This clear salp can be found in the waters around New Zealand.
3. Juvenile cowfish
The ocean has so much variance in marine life. The strangeness of these obscure glowing creatures seems to defy our comprehension.
4. Ice fish
As the name suggests, they like it cold, and they have an antifreeze function so their blood doesn’t freeze in the frigid waters.
5. Transparent immortal jellyfish
This jellyfish has a few tricks up its ‘tentacles’; it has the ability to revert to a sexually immature stage instead of dying, so this jellyfish does not fear old age, and has hence been dubbed ‘immortal’. To attempt to put that into perspective, that’s like a butterfly turning back into a caterpillar, only to be reborn again as a butterfly.
6. Transparent juvenile surgeonfish
Although some say this little fish can’t be real, it is, and can be found swimming off the coast of New Zealand.
7. Ghost shrimp
This clear crustacean can float-by almost unnoticed among the ocean’s stands of seaweed. Despite its nearly transparent shell, its neon-yellow intestines are amazingly visible within.
8. Tortoise shell beetle
Appearing to be some sort of lady bug at first sight, tortoise shell beetles don a transparent shell with varying colors and patterns.
9. Snail with a translucent shell
This snail was only discovered in 2012 and would have remained hidden if it wasn’t for a biologist’s deep cave expedition—we’re talking depths of 743 to 1,392 m under the earth—in Croatia.