It’s Halloween, and who doesn’t love being creeped out by the totally weird and disgusting animal wonders that evolution has blessed us with? So here’s a collection of disturbing members of the animal kingdom to feast your eyes upon.
Here’s Promachoteuthis sulcus, a squid with a freakishly human-like set of dentures that are actually folded lips. It’s only known from one specimen, which was found lurking in the great depths of the south Atlantic Ocean. It’s equipped with three rows of suckers on each arm.
Straight up out of your nightmares, these terrifying dudes are marine hatchetfish. Don’t look into their dead eyes; they’ll surely suck out your soul.
Some 40 species of marine hatchetfish have been discovered so far, which belong to the family Sternoptychidae. To conceal themselves from predators, their bellies are lined with tiny light-emitting organs called photophores. The glow produced by these features matches the ambient light, masking them from the eyes of hungry stalkers.
Meet the Venezuelan Poodle Moth, the insect that looks somewhat like a hybrid between a Yeti and an angry fly. Some might describe it as cuddly, but I would describe it as freaking creepy. Its impressive mane is not made up of hairs, but bristles called setae. Venezuela is a tropical country, far from being cold, so these aren’t for temperature regulation like the hairs on mammals. Instead, it’s thought that they might be a defense mechanism to protect them from being eaten by predators.
This angry looking yoda impersonator that’s pulling a slightly constipated face is the recently discovered tube-nosed fruit bat. These guys were first documented in 2009 during a fruitful scientific expedition to Papua New Guinea. It’s thought that its tube-shaped nostrils may be an adaptation to its feeding habits, or perhaps even assist in sound production.
Ay, that Aye-Aye sure looks scary. These rare animals are actually primates, and they are only found on Madagascar. They are easily recognizable from their witch-like fingers and piercing eyes, but they also have a bushy tail that’s bigger than their entire body. They also have opposable big toes which allow them to dangle from trees, and they’re thought to be the only primates that use echolocation to search for prey.
Frank Vassen, via Flickr. CC by 2.0
Amblypygids, which make up a group of some 150 arachnid species, are sophisticated predators that can even snatch flying prey out of the air. One guy was actually spotted feasting on prawns that it had plucked out of a river. They’re equipped with spined appendages, called pedipalps, which are adapted for grasping prey. After latching on to a tasty morsel, they tear it open with their sharp mouthparts and sip up the oozing body fluids. Sounds delightful.
Rootruth, via Wikimedia Commons.
Most of you probably know about these guys, but they’re so terrifying that we thought we would include them anyway. Anglerfish are deep sea inhabitants found in both the Atlantic and Antarctic oceans, up to a mile below the surface. They can actually reach a meter in total length, yikes. Their name comes from the fact that females dangle a piece of dorsal spine above their mouths that’s coated in luminous flesh, acting like a fishing rod. Another interesting fact about these animals is that the males, which are much smaller than the females, are actually parasitic. They grab onto their mate using their teeth, permanently fusing together over time. Eventually, he will lose all of his internal organs except his testes. Unlucky.
Bruce Robinson/Corbis, via National Geographic.