Do you ever get the feeling that you’re being watched? The video below of deep-sea rattail fish staring into MBARI’s (Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute) cameras will definitely make you feel that way. In fact, these fish gives off similar “hey, what are you doing, should I come closer?” vibes to every cat I’ve ever tried to take a picture of. But it means we get an up close and personal look at a fish very few people ever get to see. There aren’t any fun facts or narration in this video, just chill music to help you slow down and relax. That is, if you can relax while thinking about the enormous pressure of the deep-sea and all the dark mysteries that it holds.
Rattail fish are actually a group with 1,000 different species worldwide. They got the name because their body tapers down to a thin tail, like a rat. Their huge blue eyes help them track prey in the dark depths of the ocean. So go ahead, zone out as you gaze into those baby blues. But if you do want to know more about rattail fish, MBARI has you covered. Scientists are still learning about these and other deep-sea fishes. You may notice that some of the rattail fish have really long tendrils streaming below them. Apparently only juveniles have those filaments and no one is quite sure why.
Rattail fish usually hang out near the seafloor and are found in every ocean. All of the videos in this compilation were filmed off the coast of western North America, from the Pacific Northwest to the Gulf of California. They cover a huge range of depths, from the relatively shallow 1,500 feet of Monterey Canyon to more than 13,000 feet off the coast of Santa Barbara.
Melissa is Nerdist’s science & technology staff writer. She also moderates “science of” panels at conventions and co-hosts Star Warsologies, a podcast about science and Star Wars. Follow her on Twitter @melissatruth.