December 12, 2018

As humankind continually pushes the frontiers of exploration with plans for the first-ever manned trip to Mars in the works, 95 percent of our oceans remain a vast and unexplored domain—even though they cover a full 71 percent of our own planet, Earth. Indeed, there are many strange and wonderful inhabitants that live there.

Our coastal waters have been explored fairly extensively (at least to a depth of around 170 meters), yet the ocean’s average depth is a whopping 4,000 meters, approximately, (with the deepest parts lying as low as 11,000 meters under the surface). Thus, many of these vast, deeper regions are still shrouded in mystery.

And it turns out, such areas are not barren as we once thought but are, in fact, filled with strange, otherworldly life.

Deep-sea regions are home to a whole ecosystem of fish and organisms. However, their adaptations to the extreme environment—total darkness and incredible pressure levels—result in some peculiar or bizarre-looking traits.

Very little sunlight can reach depths of 200 meters, while regions deeper than 1,000 meters get no sunlight at all. Also, crushing underwater pressures range from a few hundred psi, nearer the surface, to around 16,000 psi at the deepest parts of the ocean.

Lifeforms have, thus, adapted with such features as bioluminescence and swim bladders meant to withstand incredible pressures.

Roman Fedortsov is a trawler from Murmansk, Russia, whose unprecedented access to the deep sea regularly brings him face to face with its unusual inhabitants while they are trawling.

For Fedortsov, photographing these strange organisms has become a side project, which he shares on various online platforms for the whole world to see. To date, the Russian fisherman has garnered an impressive 375,000 followers on his Instagram site.

The strange organisms he photographs are freaky, fascinating, and sometimes downright unsettling to behold, occasionally appearing as if from an alien planet. Here is just a small sampling of Fedortsov’s more recent catches as well as some of his remarkable past specimens. Enjoy!

Pale toadfish, “Sad unusual fish,” Fedortsov commented.

Courtesy of Roman Fedortsov

Remora, “with shoe’s sole on it’s head,” Fedortsov commented.

Courtesy of Roman Fedortsov

Parrot fish, (according to one Instagram commentor)

Courtesy of Roman Fedortsov

“An alien egg?” commented one Instagram user.

Courtesy of Roman Fedortsov

Black sea devil, a.k.a. melanocetidae

Courtesy of Roman Fedortsov

“Look in those sad eyes,” wrote Fedortsov.

Courtesy of Roman Fedortsov

“What do you think about this creature?” Fedortsov wrote. “May be sea cucumber, maybe …”

Courtesy of Roman Fedortsov

Baby black devil fish, a.k.a anglerfish, according to Instagram commentors

Lumpfish, “[A] very interesting fish,” says Fedortsov.

Courtesy of Roman Fedortsov

Promachoteuthis sulcus “is a rare squid which appears to have human-looking teeth—although they are actually just flaps of skin,” wrote Fedortsov.

Courtesy of Roman Fedortsov

Deep-sea dragonfish, found at a depth below 500–1,500 meters, a “cool creature,” said Fedortsov.

Courtesy of Roman Fedortsov

Frill shark, “Yesterday Biologists has caught a frilled shark off the coast of Portugal,” Fedortsov wrote.

Courtesy of Roman Fedortsov

Monkfish, “Hello! I’m smiling fish … and I’m hungry,” wrote Fedortsov.

Courtesy of Roman Fedortsov

Lumpfish, “Fantastic four,” Fedortsov wrote.

Courtesy of Roman Fedortsov

Sea spider, “My wife knows how I’m afraid of spiders,” Fedortsov commented. “This spider [is] from the depths.”

Courtesy of Roman Fedortsov

Linophryne brevibarbata, “[…] commonly called the ‘Bearded SeaDevils, ’” wrote Fedortsov. “This is a female. Male [is] much smaller than female.”

Courtesy of Roman Fedortsov

Psolus phantapus, the same order as sea cucumbers (dendrochirotida), according to Fedortsov.

Courtesy of Roman Fedortsov

“I hope you’re not eating at this moment,” Fedortsov joked.

Courtesy of Roman Fedortsov

For me, they are very reminiscent of the dwarves of the ‘Lord of the Rings,’” Fedortsov commented.

Courtesy of Roman Fedortsov

“ScaryBeauty on my hands,” wrote Fedortsov.

Courtesy of Roman Fedortsov

Sunfish, “Fishing in Atlantic Ocean, near Morocco,” wrote Fedortsov.

Courtesy of Roman Fedortsov

We hope you enjoyed the voyage, farewell!

Courtesy of Roman Fedortsov