If you think that sharks are the scariest creatures in the sea, this post may surprise you.
As we've discussed in the past, the majority of shark attacks are caused by only three species (white, tiger, and bull), yet there are more than 500 species that swim the world’s oceans. So next time you’re swimming in the sea, you may want to keep an eye out for these other, seemingly harmless ocean-dwellers as well.
Did you know that there are over 1,200 species of venomous fish on Earth? They vary in the level of harm they can cause to a human who comes into contact with them, but the stonefish is the deadliest of them all. This fish is found in reef habitats in the Indo-Pacific region, and is called a stonefish because it is able to camouflage itself perfectly among the corals, where it lies in wait for an unsuspecting passing fish. Stonefish have 13 venomous spines that, if stepped on by a human, could be deadly.
There are other marine animals besides fish that can be dangerous as well. The sea wasp, also known as the box jellyfish, is one of the most dangerous jellies, and can be found in the Pacific Ocean around Hawaii, the Philippines, and Australia. Their tentacles can grow up to 10 feet long, and each one has about half a million stinging cells!
Sea wasps use their stinging tentacles to paralyze fish prey, but if they make contact with a human, they can cause paralysis and even death in a matter of minutes. Surprisingly, even a dead sea wasp washed up on a beach can be harmful, because their cells are still able to sting. If you are ever stung by a sea wasp, pour vinegar on the affected area to lessen the effects of the venom.
And remember, terrestrial animals can be just as dangerous as marine ones. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and International Shark Attack File reported that between 2003 and 2008, 108 people in the U.S. were killed by cows. That is 27 times higher than the four people killed by sharks during the same period, according to the International Shark Attack File.
This blog post is not meant to scare you from ever going outside again, but rather to draw attention to the fact that there are other potentially dangerous animals in the ocean (and on land), but that sharks always get a bad rap in the media ever since the movie Jaws.
What do you think is scarier than a shark? Tell us in the comments.
For millennia, people have wondered just how many species live on Earth. The latest study looking to answer this question suggests there are about 8.7 million species, the majority of which scientists can’t even name.
The oceans, as almost three-quarters of the Earth’s surface, are home to millions of species—and only about 1 in 10 has been officially discovered by scientists. Here are ten ocean-dwellers we think are especially fascinating:
1. The box jellyfish, which lives in the waters off North Australia and Indonesia, is one of the most venomous species in the ocean. Its 10-foot-long tentacles can kill even cautious swimmers, yet some kinds of sea turtles can eat box jellyfish without even an upset stomach.
2. The lovely hatchetfish might be redefining lovely, but its thinness when viewed head-on helps it hide from predators, as does its silver color and bioluminescence.
3. Sailor’s eyeball is the oceanic equivalent of skinless grapes at Halloween. This seaweed lives in waters around the equator, where it reproduces by disintegrating once young plants have formed inside of it.
4. The blue-ringed octopus may look pretty, but its vivid colors, which become brighter when the animal is disturbed, mark it as extremely poisonous—it is the most dangerous cephalopod and its saliva can kill a human.
5. The stonefish, the most venomous fish, can also kill a human with one sting. It takes its name from the camouflage that allows it to lie in wait for passing fish.