We’ve read about people with some of the strangest names, like Batman bin Suparman.
In this final post of our trilogy series on strange sea life, we introduce 5 marine animals with equally mind-boggling names.
Old Wives are easily recognised by their deep body, concave forehead, silver-and-black stripes, and tall ‘spikey’ fins which double up as their self defense mechanism – the long spines supporting their dorsal fins are as venomous as bee stings.
Their unflattering name has nothing to do with their looks but rather the grating sound they make when caught, apparently the same sound old women (or wives) make when they grind their teeth.
With an elongated pig-like snout, large protractile mouth and a rooster’s comb, it’s easy to see where the Rooster Hogfish got its name from. Amazingly, they can live up to 11 years, weigh as much as 11kg and grow to almost 1m long. Learn more about this vulnerable species here
Sea Apple Cucumber
Found in Indo-Pacific waters, this colourful species of sea cucumber may be mostly red, blue, half and half or purple, but they always have yellow tube feet . Being filter feeders, their mouth-like cavity is surrounded by feathery tentacles which they use to capture plankton. When disturbed or stressed, they expel their internal organs and/or release a toxic saponin called holothurin into the water to deter predators. Their eggs are also toxic.
Crown of Thorns
One of the largest sea stars in the world, the Crown of Thorns earned its name from its venomous thorn-like spines which resemble the biblical crown of thorns. It is a voracious predator that feeds on living corals by spreading its stomach over them and secreting enzymes to liquefy the coral tissue. More about Crown of Thorns and other sea stars here
A native of the western Atlantic Ocean as well as the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, the French Grunt travels in schools that can reach thousands. Juveniles hide in seagrass beds and join adults in the reef when they reach maturity. When distressed or caught by an angler, these fish make a ‘grunting sound’ by grinding their teeth and amplifying it with their swim bladders.
If you enjoy discovering the bizarre marine world, be sure to check out these creatures at S.E.A. Aquarium.