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The 8 Most Scary Fish in the Ocean

The ocean is one of the most terrifying places on our planet. Although splashing in the sea can be fun on a hot summer day, we must never forget just how cruel a mistress the deep blue can be. Not only is the ocean a cold, dark and mysterious place – but it can also be turbulent, chaotic and relentless filled with scary fish.

And what is more terrifying than the ocean itself, but the strange and monstrous creatures that inhabit it? 

Deep ocean water monster fish.

Many people forget just how big the ocean is, and how little of it humankind has seen and recorded. Because of this, there are still hundreds of underwater species that have yet to even register on our radar. This means that we still don’t know what truly lurks at the bottom of the deep, dark sea.

However, some slimy creatures have found their way into the public consciousness, fueling nightmares and horror stories wherever they go. 

So to help with your night terrors, we have decided to compile a list of the 8 most scary fish known to mankind. Some of these creepy critters may make your blood chill or make you think that you have witnessed the existence of a mythological sea monster.

The Scariest Fish

But we assure you that all these fish are very real and are waiting for you below the ocean’s depths. 

  1. Vampire Squid
  2. Blobfish
  3. Anglerfish
  4. Gulper Eel
  5. Sarcastic Fringehead
  6. Goblin Shark
  7. Mantis Shrimp
  8. Lamprey


The Vampire Squid

Despite its name, the vampire squid does not look outwardly terrifying – you may even say that the spongy red creature is cute. But that’s because you can’t see what’s hidden beneath all those tentacles.


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Considered a deep-sea cephalopod, this creature can be found in tropical waters around the world – where it thrives in dark and isolated environments. 

It is a common misconception that the vampire squid drinks the blood of its victims – which are mainly fish found at the bottom of the sea. But this isn’t true – the vampire squid does not even eat fish but instead consumes detritus.

The squid can even be somewhat beautiful in appearance – as the species is covered in photophores, organs capable of producing bio-luminescent light. 

But What Makes It Scary?

The vampire squid may look adorable on the outside, but this does not mean that the squid doesn’t come with its terrifying attributes. If you were to turn the vampire squid inside out, you would notice that each of its tentacles comes with a row of sharp, fang-like spines.

Not to mention the squid’s sharp beak, which would look menacing on even the cutest of creatures. 

The Blobfish

A few years ago, these hideous creatures found their way into the public consciousness – by becoming the subject of various memes and online videos. Considered the ugliest fish in the whole world, the blobfish is a sea creature that looks almost comical in its grotesque appearance.


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Known for sporting a droopy, almost human-like face – the blobfish also has no bones or swimming bladder. 

The blobfish can be found living in the warm waters of Australia and New Zealand, where it thrives in the darkest parts of the ocean. Because the blobfish inhabits such deep water, the species is left untouched by natural underwater predators.

However, this does not mean that the species is safe – as it is often threatened by curious fishermen who accidentally catch it in their nets. 

But What Makes It Scary?

The blobfish may be a hideous creature, but there is a reason for the fish’s ugliness. As we have previously mentioned the blobfish has no bones or muscle mass – which means that the fish’s anatomy is held together by the pressure of the sea.

Once the blobfish is removed from its environment, the fish begins to melt. This results in the blobfish’s signature frowning face, which is not the natural appearance of the species in the wild.

So the next time you see a picture of a blobfish, remember that the fish is melting and you’ll have good dreams all night – we promise!

The Anglerfish

Probably best known for trying to devour Marlin and Dory in Pixar’s Finding Nemo – there is no better sea monster than the ferocious anglerfish. This fearsome creature is known to lurk in the depths of the ocean, where it thrives in environments that are completely absent of warmth and light.


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The anglerfish is also known for its ghoulish appearance, which features wide eyes, a large mouth and sharp, needle-like fangs. 

The anglerfish is considered a predatory fish, and it can be found in the cold waters of the Atlantic and Antarctic oceans – with some varieties also being known to inhabit more tropical waters.

When hunting for its food, the anglerfish is capable of devouring its prey whole and can lure unsuspecting fish with its most terrifying feature. 

But What Makes It Scary?

Unlike other fish we have mentioned, the anglerfish is scary in almost every detail of its anatomy.

However, there is one feature that makes this fish one of the most terrifying creatures in the ocean – and that is the hook-like antennae that protrude from its forehead.

This fishing rod or angler can create a dull light, which the anglerfish then uses to lure innocent fish to its fanged mouth.

And with its hideous facial features, this is one fish you don’t want to see before you die. 

The Gulper Eel

Currently, there are over 800 species of eel known to mankind, with each variety being more hideous than the last. From the snake eel to the moray eel, the species is not known for its ability to ignite love in the hearts of the public.


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But did you know that there is an eel that truly embodies the essence of your nightmares? Well, there is and it is called the gulper eel. 

This particular species of eel is known to inhabit the Pacific ocean, where it is capable of thriving in the aphotic zone, approximately 500-1800 feet beneath the surface of the sea.

Similar to anglerfish, the gulper eel is both a predatory and bioluminescent creature, which uses a light-producing organ at the end of its tail to lure unsuspecting prey. However, there is still one more feature that makes this eel one of the most terrifying creatures in the ocean. 

But What Makes It Scary?

When spotted in the wild, the gulper eel may look like any common species – with the eel sporting the traditional snake-like appearance of its cousins.

However, there is one feature that distinguishes the gulper eel from other eel species found in the ocean, and that feature is the gulper eel’s mouth.

Unlike other eels, the gulper eel sports a large jaw that can unfold from its body when devouring food. Once the jaw has unfolded, the eel’s mouth expands to a great size, giving it a gaping and vacuous quality.

This mouth is where the term ‘gulper’ actually comes from, and the eel uses it to swallow fish that are much larger than itself.  If you see this slimy creature in your dreams tonight, then we are truly sorry. 

The Sarcastic Fringehead

This grumpy looking creature is a sarcastic fringehead, a small salt-water fish that can be found lurking in the dark waters of the Pacific Ocean.


The fringehead is a tube blenny, which means it will often make its home in crevices or shells – although some have also been found living inside man-made products such as shoes and soda cans.

Although they may look harmless, the fringehead is a very territorial fish that can be quite aggressive when provoked. 

The sarcastic fringehead is capable of growing up to 30 centimetres in length and they are known to be traditionally brown in color. During the mating season, the female fringehead will lay her eggs in burrows beneath rocks or clamshells, before leaving them in the care and protection of her mate.

The male fringehead will then guard the eggs until they hatch, enduring they are safe from danger.  But how does a little fish accomplish this? Well, that’s the reason these fish made it onto our list in the first place. 

But What Makes Them Scary?

When the sarcastic fringehead feels endangered or provoked, it will splay open its mouth in a manner similar to that of the creature from Predator.

This terrifying transformation is also used by the sarcastic fringehead to devour its prey whole, which can include anything from humble crustaceans to fully-grown octopi.

Male fringeheads also use these gigantic mouths to fight each other during the mating season – the male with the largest mouth often being considered the dominant specimen.

With its ferocious nature and splayed jaw, the fringehead is one fish that you don’t want to spot lurking in the waters of your favorite beach. 

The Goblin Shark

The goblin shark might just be the most hideous shark on the planet! Not only do these sharks have a nasty appearance, but they are also known to be vicious and cold-blooded killers.


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The species of shark is often distinguished by its appearance, which includes a mouth brimming with razor-sharp teeth, fleshy pink skin and a large horn protruding from the centre of its head.


This horrific creature can be found inhabiting various oceans across the world, where it prefers to make its home in seamounts and underwater canyons. 

This particular specimen also ranks as one of the largest species on our list, with the largest goblin shark growing to a heart-wrenching length of 20 feet. The goblin shark truly is the fish of nightmares, combining various sea monster elements with the cold, harsh sting of reality.

Sometimes it is hard to believe that sea monsters like this one truly exist in our natural world. 

But What Makes It Scary?

If you can believe it, there is still one aspect of the goblin shark that makes it a truly terrifying sea monster – and that is how it hunts its prey.

The goblin shark is a slow swimmer, and it does not chase down its prey when it is hungry. Instead, the shark is known to drift eerily through the dark water until it spots a fish swimming towards it.

When the fish is close enough, the goblin shark will then snap out its jaw like a catapult, until it has caught the fish in its mouth. The image is so horrific and alien, that it only helps to make the goblin shark into a more terrifying and monstrous foe.

This is not the shark you want to encounter during your nightly swim – or any swim for that matter! 

The Mantis Shrimp 

From one of the largest species on our list to one of the smallest. The mantis shrimp is a small and inquisitive crustacean that can be found inhabiting the subtropical shallows of the Pacific and Indian oceans.


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Although the species is called the mantis shrimp, it is not a shrimp but a species of Stomatopoda – meaning a crustacean with more insect-like attributes.

The mantis shrimp can grow to a length of 10 centimeters and it is primarily distinguished by its vibrant and colorful carapace – which refers to the protective armour that covers both the head and rear of the shrimp’s body. 

Beyond its size and flamboyant appearance, the mantis shrimp is considered to have the most complex eyesight of any animal on the planet. Born with trinocular vision, the mantis shrimp can gauge depth and distance by focusing on objects with three different regions.

The shrimp is also the only creature on the planet capable of detecting polarized light, which means its eyes share a strong resemblance to the technology used in making DVDs.

Although we have information regarding the mantis shrimp at our disposal, the creature remains greatly misunderstood, as it spends most of its days hiding in underwater burrows. 

But What Makes It Scary?

Although the mantis shrimp is a small and colorful creature, it can be highly aggressive and territorial when provoked. The mantis shrimp is also born with its own unique superpower, which helps to make it one of the most deadly and efficient predators in the whole ocean.

For you see this terrifying creature is equipped with a set of raptorials, which are sharp, claw-like grabbers that can be used to stun and kill prey. These grabbers are capable of packing a powerful punch, with their strike matching the velocity of a gunshot from a .22 caliber rifle.

If you were a fish swimming along the bottom of the ocean, then this is one crustacean you’d want to avoid. 

The Lamprey

What is worse than a worm-like creature writhing through the dark and lonely sea? Well, how about a worm-like creature that also just so happens to be a parasite? Lampreys are parasitic creatures that have existed for thousands of years.


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Not only are these hideous monsters ancient, but they are also versatile and ever-lasting. Found in the ocean, as well as lakes and rivers around the world – these slimy creatures have withstood the test of time and will probably still exist when humanity has died out. 

The lamprey is distinguished by its ghastly appearance, which takes the form of a long brown worm with a circular mouth filled with rows of serrated teeth. The sickening creature will use these fangs to attack fish, which it then kills by draining the prey of its bodily fluids – more specifically the fish’s blood.

These vampiric creatures can grow to large sizes, with sea lampreys often reaching 1 meter in length.  

But What Makes Them Scary?

If there’s anything that makes the lamprey even more horrifying than it already is, then it is how the creature chooses to eat its food. Once a lamprey has selected a fish to drain, it will attach itself to the prey using its fanged mouth.

lamprey swimming

During this process, the lamprey will then use its barbed tongue to cut into the fish’s flesh, draining it of its blood.

The lamprey is also capable of producing a natural anticoagulant which it uses to thin the fish’s blood. So even if the poor fish survives the encounter, it will never truly recover from the attack.

But don’t worry it gets worse! Besides fish, the lamprey has also been known to target humans as well. So next time you go for a swim in the sea, remember that these nasty critters could be slithering around right beneath you. 

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