The ocean is filled with creepy creatures that we wouldn’t want to encounter in our worst nightmares.
The creature described in this post fits this description perfectly.
Let’s take a look at some remarkable facts about the coffinfish, one of the creepiest, yet most fascinating creatures on the planet!
1. They form a family with sea toads
The coffinsfish (Chaunax endeavouri) is a type of anglerfish of the family Chaunacidae. This family consists of two genera referred to as the coffinfishes and the sea toads.
This family consists of 14 different types of species of which the coffinfish is recognized.
2. The coffinfish only lives in one particular area
One of the most interesting facts about the coffinfish is that it is endemic to a certain area in the world. It only exists in the temperate waters of the southwestern Pacific.
This means that its habitat, even though it’s a very large one, is off the east coast of Australia, right on the continental shelf and upper slope in the deep sea.
You really have to fear of ever coming across one of these monsters of the ocean, coming face to face with the coffinfish is simply impossible.
The reason is that they live at the bottom of the ocean, at depths ranging from 50 to 2,500 meters (164 to 8,202 feet) deep. The pressure for human beings at this depth is simply unsustainable.
4. They resemble the blobfish when pulled out of the water
Obviously, the coffinfish is perfectly adapted to their conditions at these depths. The enormous pressure on their body, which is about 60 to 120 that as on the ocean surface, can be sustained because they have a gelatinous body and loose skin.
This is very similar to the body of the blobfish which lives in the same area as the coffinfish.
When these fish accidentally become the bycatch of deep-sea trawlers, their body decompresses and undergoes a transformation that gives them a very peculiar appearance.
5. The coffinfish is actually pretty colorful
In their natural habitat, the coffinfish actually looks pretty colorful as they come in a wide variety of colors. These include orange, red, pink and usually have some spots of yellow or olive green.
6. These aren’t the biggest creatures in the ocean
The coffinfish has a distinctive round or globose body shape and aren’t the biggest creatures in the ocean.
The biggest individual that was hauled up from the depths of the ocean had a length of just 22 centimeters (8.7 inches).
7. They have a large mouth and sharp teeth
Another distinctive feature of the coffinfish is their big mouth compared to their body size. Their mouth is filled with a large number of small but very sharp teeth.
8. What does the coffinfish eat?
Another one of those remarkable facts about the coffinfish is that adults are ambush predators that have a special feature on top of their heads to lure in small prey. Once the prey is close enough, they attack and devour the unlucky creature that falls for the trick.
This prey usually consists of small crustaceans which they can easily crush with their small but extremely sharp teeth.
The coffinfish lays eggs in rafts that resemble ribbons at the bottom of the ocean. The huge volume of eggs they lay in this relatively safe place ensures that the development of the eggs works out for a large enough number to sustain a continuous reproduction cycle.
The difficult part of this cycle comes after hatching because the larvae of the coffinfish don’t stay put but actually travel to the surface of the ocean to feed on plankton. If they reach adulthood, they return to the depths of the ocean and literally transform from nearly transparent creatures into the colorful ones that live near the bottom of the ocean.
This vertical migration into adulthood is obviously full of danger which is the exact reason so many eggs are laid in the first place.
10. They can hold their breath for 4 minutes but use a trick
One of the most astounding facts about the coffinfish is that they can inflate their body with water and use this to hold their breath for up to 4 minutes.
The reason why they do that isn’t exactly clear but it’s assumed it’s to conserve energy when food becomes scarce, which is an astounding feature to develop to survive the harsh conditions they live in.
They also don’t swim a lot for the same reason, so no wonder some people call them lazy.
That being said, for the coffinfish it’s a survival mechanism, and laziness can hardly be considered as such with the definition that’s implied, don’t you think?
11. They have to fear numerous predators
The life of a coffinfish is full of danger, that’s for sure. The larvae have to fear numerous predators as they travel from the bottom to the ocean to the ocean surface and back, the adults have to fear some of the most fearsome predators in the ocean as well.
All types of adult anglerfish have to fear the mighty shark and other much larger predatory creatures.
No wonder they like to stay put and limit their movements, right?
12. The coffinfish isn’t considered to be endangered
Even though the coffinsfish has a long way to go until they reach adulthood, the fact that so many eggs get distributed in safe places at the bottom of the ocean ensures they aren’t endangered.
The Australian Fisheries Management Authority also considered them to be at high risk at one point, but their range is simply too vast for them to be considered as such.
Therefore, the coffinfish isn’t an endangered species and isn’t at high risk as well!