Pun intended: it does look like nothing until you approach really close, then it springs at you (morphs at you, intimidates and astounds you, you pick the right verb) Here is a video that most tellingly shows how some unassuming clump of weed on a rock can grow tentacles in a matter of moments:
Blue-ringed Octopus is well-known to be one of the "deadliest animal on Earth" (read about others who qualify) Here is a good info page about this species. "Although the painless bite can kill an adult, injuries have only occurred when an octopus has been picked out of its pool and provoked or stepped on. There is no known antidote. Symptoms include:
- Onset of nausea. - Hazy Vision. ( Within seconds you are blind.) - Loss of sense of touch, speech and the ability to swallow. - Within 3 minutes, paralysis sets in and your body goes into respiratory arrest.
See it live crawling around (and learn to distinguish it from harmless fish and surroundings) - click to watch video. At the end of the video it looks just like a little brown fish innocently swimming by!
Some octopi (like legendary Houdini himself) can hide in a most improbable spaces, making themselves seemingly as small as they wish to be. Here is one hiding inside a shell! and another one trying to hide behind a leaf:
All tucked in (inside a shell), and even has a pillow! -
When they unfold and get out in the open, they are formidable animals indeed: (a diver gets acquainted with one old and wise specimen in the Japan Sea, Primorie, Russia - a 23-foot Giant Pacific Octopus Doflein)
(photos by Andrei Shpatak)
Choose Your Alien
Squids are just as outlandish as octopi. Here are some miniature transparent beauties: Teuthowenia pellucida, Deep Sea Glass Squid -
The Colossal Squid is significantly scarier than a giant squid (we are past the "giant" scale now, into the "colossal") - it not only has suckers lined with small teeth on its arms and tentacles, but it also has hooks: sharp, three-pointed kind of hooks, wicked and wickedly efficient.
The colossal squid can get as big as 20 meters, which is more than two school buses put together. Their other name is the "Giant Cranch" (I'd say, it's pretty graphic...), they have the largest eyes in the animal kingdom and enjoy swimming in the ice-cold Antarctic deep waters.
"This animal, armed as it is with the hooks and the beak that it has, not only is colossal in size but is going to be a phenomenal predator and something you are not going to want to meet in the water." (source and more info)
Mesonychoteuthis Hamiltoni are ridiculously quick, equipped with the lethal hooks, with their size most likely understated by reports (judging by the size of colossal squid parts found inside whales, much larger specimens could be existing in the icy murk)
Vampyroteuthis infernalis looks and behaves like it jumped from the fervent concept art portfolio of some CGI studio - for starters, it is able to turn itself inside out (to the utmost confusion of its pursuer). It also perfectly mastered the stealth mode: red color in the pitch blackness of the depths is invisible.
Its body is covered with light-producing photophores, so it can also "light up" like a christmas tree. Its arms and tentacles are covered with.... you guessed it, teeth, razor-sharp spikes. And it's made out of "jelly" rather like a jellyfish, not a normal squid.
Now see if you can give it a license to dwell on Earth... wait, it already has all that, and loves to haunt our oceanic abyss, preferring depths up to 3000 feet. What lives deeper than that? More cephalopods!. Perhaps you've already seen the video of Magnapinna squid, the crooked, elbowed Hieronymus Bosch nightmare:
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