A crab named after Harry Potter — and Severus Snape. An 8-foot-long bony fish that hid from discovery. A tiny crustacean that reminded scientists of a biblical dragon. Those are just a few of this year's top 10 "remarkable new marine species," as ranked by the World Registry of Marine Species. We have to agree that these creatures are remarkably weird.
Watch out in particular for some very creative names that really capture the personalities of the scientists who discovered them!
1. Harry Potter Crab
With probably the best Latin name on this list, Harryplax severus owes its Harry Potter-inspired name not to any magical properties the crab possesses, but to the special knack the marine biologist who discovered it had for saying "Accio, new sea creatures!"
You can tell that the person who named this crab was a serious fan, because you may have noticed that the second part of the name is Harry Potter-themed, as well.
Professor Snape kept his secrets close, "just like the present new species, which has eluded discovery until now, nearly 20 years after it was first collected," the authors say.
2. The Mariana Snailfish
Credit: Gerringer, Mackenzie E.
This weirdo holds the record for the deepest fish in the ocean. Little is known about the Mariana snailfish, like how it can withstand the pressure of the water so far down there.
The water pressure at that level is the equivalent of an elephant standing on your thumb, the researchers say. It looks small and pretty gooey, but it sounds like this snailfish is made of some tough stuff!
3. The Bob Marley Spider
Credit: Raven, R.
You can really learn a lot about scientists from how they name new species, it would appear! This new spider was discovered along the coastline in Queensland, Australia. Truly an aquatic spider, this little creature lives underwater under barnacle shells, coral and kelp during high tide, building air chambers from silk to breathe.
Naturally, the spider's lifestyle reminded the scientists who discovered of the Bob Marley song "High Tide or Low Tide," so they named the spider after the famous reggae artist. Why not?
"The song 'High Tide or Low Tide' promotes love and friendship through all struggles of life," explain the authors. "It is his music that aided a field trip to Port Douglas in coastal Queensland, Australia, to collect spiders with a highly unique biology."
Sounds like a very nice soundtrack to accompany spider discovery! Though we have to say that we hope these spiders won't be by our side in high tide or in low tide. Just a personal preference.
4. The Invasive Worm-Snail
Credit: Bieler, Rudiger
What do you get when you combine worms and snails? A creepy, twisted-up invasive species, apparently! This new discovery was found on a sunken naval ship. Their unusual bodies are interesting, but because the species isn't native to the area, there's a risk that they could damage nearby coral reefs.
5. The Californian Box Jelly
Credit: Ilka Straehler-Pohl
This not-too-poisonous jellyfish was thought to be the same as a group of similar-looking cousins, but researchers discovered last year that it had its own thing going on in the kelp forests along the California coast.
6. Palau President's Colonial Anemone
Source: Reimer, James Davis
Even though it was just discovered this year, this anemone, which hangs out in the cracks and crevices of coral, can actually be found widely in the Red Sea, the Maldives, Palau and southern Japan. It must really have found some great hiding spots for scientists to have missed it for so long.
7. The Necklace Foraminiferan
Credit: Gooday, Andrew
This ... thing ... is a giant, deep-sea protozoan that can grow to be up to almost 4 inches in diameter, making it one of the world's largest single-celled organisms. It's referred to as a "necklace" because its tough outer shell creates a string of spherical chambers. If you gave or received one of these as a stylish gift, you or your recipient might be rather disappointed, though.
8. The Fiery-Red Dragon Epimeria
Source: d'Udekem d'Acoz, Cédric
OK, we think it's fair to say that this is the most dramatically named newly discovered critter on this list! These small crustaceans, found in Antarctica, are covered in dramatic spikes, and are yellowish-red in color, like a flame. So of course, they're named Epimeria pyrodrakon, from the Greek words for flame-colored and dragon.
It's an allusion to — wait for it — the Great Red Dragon of the Book of Revelation. Researchers thought this crustacean fit the following description: "Then another sign appeared in heaven: There was a great fiery red dragon having seven heads and 10 horns, and on his heads were seven diadems."
9. The Hidden Sunfish
Source: Nyegaard, Marianne
This is another new species to file under, "How did researchers miss it?" This strange, pancake-shaped fish grows to be 8 feet long! Sunfish are the world's largest bony fish, so it's surprising that this one eluded discovery in the Southern Hemisphere for so long. That's why scientists named it Mola tecta, which is Latin for "hidden."
10. Solomon Islands Pyramidellid Snail
Source: MNHN - Paris, France
This pretty regular-looking snail was selected for this special list because it was discovered by "citizen scientists." There are so many undiscovered species in the world that maybe you'll be the next one to discover a reggae-loving spider, giant fish or dragon crab. Hey, someone discovered a new sea slug in his parking lot, so anything is possible!