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Saturday, May 7, 2011

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water: The alien creatures lurking off our coast


The Mantis Shrimp, found in the Lembeh Strait in Indonesia, is sometimes called a 'thumb-splitter' because it hides a devastating weapon that dismembers its prey

They look like beings from outer space, but these alien-like creatures are actually much closer to home, and could be swimming around close to the beaches where we holiday.

They were captured on camera by Britain's leading underwater photography team - and they may not be what they seem.

For example, the decorator crab can change shape, just like a Martian from a science-fiction movie, and even glues objects he finds to his shell to disguise himself from predators.

The yellow-eyed Clear Cleaner Shrimp, left, can be found in Baa Atoll in The Maldives, while the ornate Ghost Pipefish, which glows with bright colours, is from Dilli, East Timor

Another, the Mantis Shrimp, is sometimes called a 'thumb-splitter' because it hides a devastating weapon just like a silver-screen monster.

The Leaf Scorpionfish from Manado, Indonesia, left, sheds its skin as it changes colour, and the Deep Sea Squat Lobster is also to be found in Indonesia

The creatures can grow to 15 inches and can deliver a devastating strike in milliseconds with powerful claws, often dismembering their prey.

They have even been known to crack open aquarium glass and their bizarre neon colours also add to the mantis shrimp's otherworldly appearance.

The ornate Ghost Pipefish glows bright colours and is almost completely see-through, giving the odd 12cm seahorse relative its name.

The Reef Lizardfish from Mabul, Malaysia, forms part of the extraordinary collection

The team of experts, based in Borneo, are commissioned by broadcasters such as the BBC for groundbreaking series like the recently aired Human Planet and Life.

Gil said: 'You don't have to go into Deep Space to find aliens. They look like they have been created for a science fiction novel, but in fact you are likely to come across them while leisure diving in tropical waters if you are lucky enough.

'Who could have thought up a fish that has a nose like a horse, or a crab that glues objects to its shell for better camouflage.'

source: dailymail


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