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Under the Sea: Rare Photos of Our Ocean’s Invertebrates Like You’ve Never Seen Them

In her book 'Spineless,' Susan Middleton captures the unique and interesting invertebrate creatures lurking beneath our oceans' surfaces.

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Susan Middleton

Opalescent Nudibranch

Hermissenda crassicornis: Known as the ocean’s “sea slug,” these invertebrates can be found along rocky shores in the Pacific Ocean. Their bright colors act as a defense mechanism to ward off predators. These animals species are so gross, they’ll make your skin crawl.

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Susan Middleton

Pink Brittle Star

Ophiomyxa australis: They may look like starfish, but Brittle Stars have a few defining differences. For example: long worm-like arms that can retract into a ball to protect its own body from injury. These animal species are a lot smarter than you may think.

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© Susan Middleton

White Phantom Crab

Tanaoa distinctus: This ghost-like sea creature can be found roaming the deep waters of the tropical Pacific islands. It’s discovery in these waters led a biologist to name the species Tanaoa distinctus after a Polynesian myth about the god of primeval darkness, “Tanaoa.” Want a laugh? Read these hilarious animal jokes.

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© Susan Middleton

Stubby Squid

Rossia Pacifica: These cute creatures dwell at the bottom of the ocean, where they utilize two of their eight limbs to help bury themselves in the sand protecting their bodies from danger. These sneaky squids reach only six centimeters in length, which makes it difficult for divers to find them. Get an inside look at all kinds of sea creatures, large and small.

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© Susan Middleton

Frilled Anemone

Phymanthus sp.: This perspective of the Frilled Anemone allows an in-depth view into the inner workings of the creature’s mouth and tentacles. Typically, the brown base would be hidden under sand along with the tentacles facing downward. This allows the anemone to blend in and easily capture its prey, plankton.

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Susan Middleton

Widehand Hermit

Elassochirus tenuimanus: It may seem a little strange, but there’s a very important reason why this hermit crab’s right claw is much larger than the left. When this species retreats into its shell, its large right claw draws back to block the entrance; hence the name “Widehand Hermit.”

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Susan Middleton

See More Captivating Images In the Book ‘Spineless’

To see more of the sea’s hidden gems, pick up Spineless here.