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Science: 

Meet the 20kg jellyfish, plus five more monsters of the sea

jellyfish

Affectionately known as ‘the gentle giant’ of the jellyfish world

Cornwall, UK isn’t the sort of place you expect to see exotic wildlife, so imagine marine expert Matt Slater’s surprise when he stumbled across this 20kg barrel jellyfish – thought to measure around one-metre in diameter.

The mushroom-like creature has a few nicknames, known affectionately as the gentle giant of the jellyfish world, or less affectionately as a dustbin-lid jellyfish. Ouch. That might be a reference to the size of its dome, but it seems cruel when you consider its harmless to humans aside from a mild sting if you decide to get too close.

On discovering the jellyfish Slater decided to swim out to take a closer look – his dog Mango in tow – filming the spectacular footage below;

While this beautiful beast may not do you any harm, it looks scary enough up-close. An encounter with the following monstrous sea-dwellers, however, and your safety can’t be guaranteed.

1. Man-eating super squid

What exactly is it about ‘man-eating super squid’ that you need us to break down for you?  The squids in the above video are said to have beaks that bite harder than an African lion and a ‘death grip’ capable of breaking your bones – so it’s best you don’t go looking for them. As YouTube commenter Jeremy Seifert puts it, “Things I learnt from this video: everything in the ocean wants to kill you and most things are good at it.”

2. The 80 million year-old shark

Frilled-Shark-1

Although the prehistoric Frilled Shark isn’t exactly common, rare footage captured in 2007 revealed that the eel-like creature isn’t extinct. At 80 million years-old it’s basically a fossil, but we still wouldn’t recommend going anywhere near it.

3. Sarcastic Fringehead

The brilliantly-named Sarcastic Fringehead will use more than mere sarcasm in a close encounter. Seemingly harmless at first, when it opens its enormous jaws it bares a striking resemblance to Predator. It’s a territorial fish most likely to be found in the Pacific off the coast of North America, regularly locking into battle with other Sarcastic Fringeheads.

4. The Serpent of the Sea

Giant_Oarfish

Often mistaken for a ‘sea serpent’, the Giant Oarfish is the world’s largest bony fish. Like the Frilled Shark, this slippery beast is extremely rare, but full-sized Oarfish can reach lengths of up to 56ft.

5. Japanese spider crab

Japanese spidercrab

The Japanese spider crab has the largest leg-span of any Anthropod, reach up to a whopping 3.8 meters. Despite looking like something straight out of our darkest nightmares, like our barrel jellyfish, the crab is thought to be of a gentle disposition. Not like these smaller, angrier spider crabs found off the coast of Ireland, then.

Photo: Bildagentor Zoonas GmbH / Shutterstock.com

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