It can be easy to forget that an alien world lives right beneath us – the mysterious ecosystem of the deep ocean, where the creatures of your nightmares lurk far below the surface.
But, the Twitter feed of one Russian fisherman could make you think twice before ever dipping your toes at the beach again.
Murmansk-based Roman Fedortsov has revealed a trove of terrifying catches, from eight-legged arthropods to fish with dagger-like teeth.
The fisherman works on a trawler based out of a port in northwest Russia, and began sharing his remarkable finds earlier this year, the Moscow Times reports.
Along with his Twitter account, Fedortsov has also shared stunning images of his catches on Flickr.
Among the many creatures brought to light is the frilled shark – an elusive eel-like shark with rows of terrifying teeth.
The frilled shark is often called a living ‘relic’ due to its primitive features.
The fisherman has also revealed photos of the bizarre chimaera, a fish commonly known as the ‘ghost shark.’
Chimaera are known for their winged fins and long, whip-like tails – and an image captured by Fedortsov reveals their haunting green eyes.
But, these glow only when exposed to light. In the darkness of the sea, ghost sharks appear to have sunken, ‘dead’ eyes.
Like sharks and rays, chimaeras have a skeleton made of cartilage.
While he may be better versed in deep sea creatures than most people, some catches had even Fedortsov stumped.
With one photo of a bizarre, alien-like creature with a massive jaw and sharp teeth, the fisherman wrote, ‘We’re still arguing about this one. What is it?’
On Twitter, many have chimed in with their thoughts, with some arguing that the specimen in question is a stoplight loosejaw, a deep-sea dragonfish from the genus Malacosteus.
And, not all of the catches are fish.
One picture reveals a massive orange ‘sea spider’ – a marine arthropod with long, spindly legs that’s roughly the size of a human hand.
Creatures of a similar appearance were recently discovered in the Arctic and Southern Oceans, where they’ve been observed at a staggering leg-span of nearly 25 centimetres.
These sea ‘spiders’ are actually pycnogonids, a type of primitive marine arthropod, and they grow to massive sizes in a phenomenon known as polar gigantism — but scientists don’t know why.
A terrifying fish with massive teeth is also among the many remarkable catches. According to Fedortsov, the creature is a black scabbardfish.
Another bizarre fish, with bulging red eyes and drooping red lips, was identified as a type of grenadier.
These are also known as rattails, and can be found deep below the surface from the Arctic to the Antarctic.
While deep-sea creatures tend to have an alien-like appearance to begin with, it’s also known that changes in pressure can affect the appearance of some when they’re brought to the surface.
Thousands of feet below the sea, they are subjected to extremely high pressures.
While some are able to withstand dramatic vertical migrations, the lower pressures of the world above are known to cause metabolic problems for others, and can even alter their shape.
This effect can be seen most famously in the case of the blobfish – a creature voted the world’s ‘ugliest animal.’