Mysterious Creatures Washed Ashore on US Beaches

The ocean is a big place, and there’s a huge variety of animals that inhabit the deep. These creatures have only very rarely been seen by humans. Let’s take a look at a few aquatic beings that emerged ashore. 

Dead giant squid (architeuthis dux)

Giant squid, Architeuthis dux, are rare to see, so the public was eager to see one after it washed ashore in Cape Town, South Africa. These squids have a number of distinctive features: they have eight arms and two tentacles; each arm and tentacle is covered with sharp-edged cups that create powerful suction. They are typically 60 feet long. The giant squid housed at the Iziko Museums of South Africa may help researchers determine whether there could be many species of giant squid living in the depths of the ocean.

Image: Twitter, @NHM_London

Seven-armed octopus (haliphron atlanticus)

A man discovered a “red blob” on a rocky beach near Seattle. When he placed the mysterious creature under his camera lens, it soon became clear that it was a form of cephalopod (a group that includes octopus, squid, cuttlefish, and the nautilus). The deepwater octopus haliphron atlanticus, which usually doesn’t swim in Washington’s cold coastal waters, was discovered by scientists. The extra arm it has is a male-only appendage used for mating, and the rest of the time, it hides in a sac near its right eye.

Image: Twitter, @MontereyAq

Mass poisoning 

Thousands of dead fish, octopuses, starfish, and other sea creatures washed up on Kamchatka, an isolated peninsula in Russia. The reason? A mass poisoning event. Even surfers were troubled by the effects; some even reported experiencing mild burning sensations in their eyes after going into the water. According to local researchers, the die-off in Avacha Bay may have eradicated as many as 95% of the region’s marine mammals. This catastrophic event will likely disrupt the food chain for the area’s remaining marine life.

Image: Twitter, @OIPAInternation


A new hybrid fish species—the “sturddlefish”—was created by crossbreeding the American paddlefish and Russian sturgeon. While attempting to help the critically endangered Russian sturgeon reproduce, researchers fused an American paddlefish sperm with a sturgeon egg. This resulted in a hybrid species called the Sturddlefish. The hybrids are a mix of Russian and American sturgeon. Although there are about 100 of these fish in captivity, researchers do not plan to make more of them. That said, it’s interesting to come across them. 

Image: Twitter, @reefbuilders

Pill bug (bathynomus raksasa)

When you were a child, did you ever search for pill bugs (also known as potato bugs and roly-polies)? Imagine a deep-sea creature that looks like a pill bug, but is the size of a puppy! A newly discovered species of isopod, the largest of its kind on record, has been given a fittingly epic name: Bathynomus raksasa (meaning ‘giant’ in Indonesian). The 33-centimeter (13-inch) isopod was found in Indonesian waters. It is the first new giant isopod to be discovered in more than a decade. 

Image: Twitter, @reefbuilders