The guitarfish, the slender snipe eel and the stoplight loosejaw are just some of the oddly named and weird looking creatures being showcased at London’s Natural History Museum for a new exhibition exploring the depths of the ocean, which opens this week.
Plunging visitors into an abyss of darkness, the museum gives insight into a deep sea environment less explored than the surface of the moon. The bizarre creatures which dwell at the bottom of oceans have gaping mouths, bioluminescence and stretchy stomachs to help them survive in an underwater world devoid of light.
Bottled specimens, jewel-encrusted replicas and eerie video projections of the strange animals are displayed in a densely black space, to mimic their natural habitat. An enormous skeleton of a sperm whale serves as a centre piece for the over 50 life forms included in the exhibition as, a testament to the complex ecosystem which feeds of whale carcasses in the depths.
'The Deep' exhibition (which opens on Friday and runs until 5th September) is part of the ‘International Year of Biodiversity 2010’, a worldwide awareness raising project to protect the deep sea habitat which, while remote, is still under threat.