17 of the Weirdest-Looking Fish on Planet Earth

More than 30,000 species inhabit Earth's oceans. Among them are species of fish familiar to all from menus and aquariums.

However, if you are patient and peer long enough beneath the surface you can encounter species of fish with the most otherworldly appearances—from those with horrifying fangs to swimmers with psychedelic patterns.

Marine biologist Karen Osborn has made photographing and cataloging our waters' most extraordinary alien inhabitants her life's work.

She told Newsweek: "Driving around in the deep open ocean, we see some of the oddest creatures – most beyond our wildest imagination. It makes you never want to step out of the control room.

"All the differences between living on land and living in the wide-open ocean have led to some incredibly strange and unusual solutions to the challenges of survival in there."

Join us as we take a look at some of the weirdest- (but beautiful) looking fish in the world.

1. Psychedelic Frogfish

Psychedelic Frogfish
The Psychedelic frogfish, which usually hails from the Pacific, boasts a variety of hallucinogenic hues, usually with stripes arranged in beautiful fingerprint patterns David Hall / seaphtotos.com

The Psychedelic frogfish, which usually hails from the Pacific, boasts a variety of hallucinogenic hues, usually with stripes arranged in beautiful fingerprint patterns.

The fish, which has an estimated 1,000 species, also has a flat face which is thought to provide it with depth perception.

2. Tassled Scorpionfish

Tassled Scorpionfish
The Tassled scorpionfish is a particularly ugly aquatic carnivore capable of growing to 36cm Alexander Vasenin

The Tassled scorpionfish is a particularly ugly aquatic carnivore capable of growing to 36cm.

This fish uses ray fins with venomous spines, meaning even humans unlucky enough to step on the Tassled scorpionfish can expect an excruciating injury which can prove potentially fatal.

3. Handfish

Handfish
The Handfish is a truly bizarre, bottom-dwelling fish that is most unusual, as it prefers to walk on its pectoral and pelvic fins than swim SIRO

The Handfish is a truly bizarre, bottom-dwelling fish that is most unusual, as it prefers to walk on its pectoral and pelvic fins than swim.

The now-endangered fish is native to Australia and five of the eight identified Handfish species are found only in Tasmania and Bass Strait.

4. Blobfish

The aptly-nmaed blobfish won the dubious honor of being crowned the world's ugliest animal in 2013.

The miserable-looking, smooth-headed fish inhabits the deep waters off the coasts of mainland Australia and Tasmania.

5. Sheepshead Wrasse

Asian Sheepshead Wrasse
The Asian sheephead wrass has an appropriate surname derived from the Cornish word for "hag" and "old woman" KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images

The sheepshead wrasse's name in part derives from the old English word for "old woman."

The fish, which is native to the western Pacific Ocean, has an almost cartoonishly exaggerated face including a high pronounced chin and protruding forehead.

6. Camouflaged Stonefish

Camouflaged Stonefish
The Camouflaged stonefish has two highly prized tools to help keep it safe in the fight for survival in the ocean Ian Waldie/Getty Images

The Camouflaged stonefish has two highly prized tools to help keep it safe in the fight for survival in the ocean.

The strange-looking fish is a master at blending into its rocky surroundings, while it is also considered the world's most venomous fish.

7. Goblin Shark

Goblin Shark
The Goblin shark is perhaps best known for boasting an aesthetically unappealing long, flat nose protruding its head Dianne Bray / Museum Victoria

The Goblin shark is perhaps best known for boasting an aesthetically unappealing long, flat nose protruding from its face.

This rare species of deep-sea shark has been dubbed a "living fossil," because it has a lineage stretching back some 125 million years.

8. Striated Frogfish

Striated Frogfish
The Striated Frogfish species has a mottled appearance looking like a bad outbreak of acne ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

The unfortunate-looking specimen of fish has a mottled appearance resembling a bad outbreak of acne.

The Frogfish, which is found in the Pacific, can eat prey much larger than itself because it has an expandable stomach.

9. Leafy Seadragon

Leafy Seadragon
The Leafy Seadragon's name is derived from its appearance, with long leaf-like protrusions seeming to sprout from all over the body Joseph C Boone

This alien-looking creature's name is clearly derived from its appearance, with long leaf-like protrusions seeming to sprout from all over the body.

These protrusions are not used for propulsion and serve only as camouflage as it attempts to stay alive around the southern and western coasts of Australia.

10. Parrotfish

Parrotfish
The Parrotfish owes its name to teeth joined in a structure similar to a beak and the stunning colours of their skin TARIK TINAZAY/AFP/Getty Images

The Parrotfish owes its name to teeth joined in a structure similar to a beak and the stunning colors of their skin.

Close relatives of the wrasse, Parrotfish are abundant in and around the tropical reefs of all the world's oceans.

11. Striped Anglerfish

Striped Anglerfish
Anglerfishes include some of the best camouflaged of all fish, with those such as the pictured possessing tiger-like stripe NOAA

Anglerfishes include some of the best camouflaged of all fish, with those such as the pictured possessing tiger-like stripes.

Such distinctive markings are paired with extraordinary adaptations, including a lure right in front of its mouth for attracting its next meal.

12. Fangtooth Fish

Fangtooth Fish
Fangtooth fish have a truly terrifying appearance, with disproportionately vampiric fangs that are the largest in the ocean in proportion to body size Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Fangtooth fish have a truly terrifying appearance, with disproportionately vampiric fangs that are the largest in the ocean in proportion to body size.

However, despite its blood-curdling appearance, the Fangtooth fish is harmless to humans due to its small size and preference for living deep down in the ocean.

13. Red Lionfish

Red Lionfish
The beautiful Red lionfish, with its distinctive stripes and flowing pectoral fins, bears many of nature's hallmarks warning other fish to stay well clear CHALHOUB/AFP/Getty Images

The beautiful Red lionfish, with its distinctive stripes and flowing pectoral fins, bears many of nature's hallmarks warning other fish to stay well clear.

This is because the Lionfish possesses a powerful venom, delivered via an arsenal of as many as 18 needle-like dorsal fins.

14. Whitemargin Stargazer

The Whitemargin stargazer is also known as the pop-eye fish as these curious creatures spend long periods buried with only the eyes and mouth showing until they can catch unsuspecting prey.

Another weird fact about this fish is that it has electric organs in its body, allowing it can fire a deadly 50 volts into its next meal.

15. Male Jawfish

This fish native to the Caribbean Sea is exceptional for more than just its looks, as the male fish takes on the task of protecting its eggs.

Once the female Jawfish lays its eggs, the male of the species fertilizes them, then places them into his mouth for incubation, where they live for up to two weeks.

16. Box Fish

Found in reefs throughout the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic Oceans, this polka dot fish is curiously cubic in its proportions.

Although they are colored bright yellow then younger, these small fish turn a blue-gray as they start to age.

17. Crocodile Fish

Crocodile fish
The Crocodile fish looks like a land crocodile except it has gills to absorb oxygen from the water and fins instead of legs Gloria Barnett

A favorite of author and self-described "Crazy Fish Lady" Gloria Barnett, is the Crocodile fish because "which looks like a land crocodile except it has gills to absorb oxygen from the water and fins instead of legs."

Marine biologist Osborn said: "This weird fish sits motionless on the sea bed rotating its eyes in opposite directions. It never misses snapping up a meal as it watches out for small fish swimming towards it."