Creatures from the Deep

Movies that depict fictional encounters with alien life forms always seem so tame compared to the weird animals here on Earth. The deep sea is one of the best places to go looking for the unusual, and the good news is that we’re getting lots of snapshots these days.

Claire Nouvian is the author of a new book called The Deep: The Extraordinary Creatures of the Abyss. She was good enough to make a gallery of pretty pictures for those of us too cheap to buy the book. These creatures look funny, and they have funny names. If I’d gotten to name them, I’d have given them funny names too. Why, you may ask, do they call the noble Chondrochladia lampadiglobus a Ping Pong Tree Sponge? Go find the thing in the gallery and you will wonder no more.

All the while I’m gawking at these things, part of me realizes it’s just provincial bad manners to stare as I do. I imagine that somewhere in the Stygian depths there is a museum of all the strange stuff that’s drifted down from the surface.