Mind-Blowing Midnight Zone Animals: Discover The Deep Sea

Rajnandini Roychoudhury
Dec 23, 2022 By Rajnandini Roychoudhury
Originally Published on Oct 22, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Short-nose tripod fish.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 4.3 Min

The midnight zone is one of the deepest and darkest regions of the ocean where sunlight cannot penetrate, making the water extremely frigid.

The absence of light in the midnight zone that lies below the ocean's twilight zone makes it unsuitable for the growth of plants and phytoplankton. Hence, this region is mainly inhabited by the predators and scavengers of the ocean.

The deep sea, also called the bathypelagic zone lies at a depth of approximately 3,300-13,100 ft (1,000-4,000 m) below the surface of the ocean.

Due to extremely high pressure, it is a common perception that no other organisms except bacteria are capable of surviving here. Yet, some of the rarest and most well-adapted marine species such as the giant squid, gulper eel, the deep-sea angler, and some huge whales and sharks are found in the deep sea.

However, it is likely that ocean exploration researchers are yet to unfold most of the secrets that are hidden in the deep, dark corners of the ocean.

Keep reading to discover various facts about the deep ocean fauna! You can also check out savanna animals andpond animals to discover interesting facts about them.

Introducing The Midnight Zone

Lying below the mesopelagic and above the abyssopelagic zones is the bathypelagic zone, more commonly known as the midnight zone, whose depth ranges between 3,300-13,100 ft (1000-4000 m). The extreme depths contribute to the average temperature of 39o F (40 C) in this layer.

Due to the lack of light, the midnight zone is entirely pitch dark, and only red or black colored animals are found living here. The most striking feature of some of the animals that live here is bioluminescence.

Bioluminescence is the process of emitting light through a chemical reaction that takes place in the bodies of these creatures. This is the only source of light for the fish to fight the darkness and attract prey.

Characteristics Of The Midnight Zone

The ocean's midnight zone possesses several characteristics that are very different from what is observed on the ocean surface. These features make this layer of the ocean extremely fascinating, leading the deep-sea divers to work day in and out to discover and learn more about it.

To begin with, this region is entirely deprived of sunlight. This region has been named 'midnight' after this feature.

This makes it impossible for plants or phytoplankton to survive here as they cannot photosynthesize without sunlight. Since the primary source of food, as well as oxygen, is missing, most of the fish have abandoned this region. Yet, several fish that primarily prey upon other fish, organic material, and bacteria have been found inhabiting it.

Angler fish edridolychnus schmidti.

Meet The Biggest Creature In The Midnight Zone

Very little is known about the marine life that exists in the bathypelagic zone. Nonetheless, all the discoveries put together suggest that several huge fish are found inhabiting the deep sea. Some examples of these fishes include the giant squid, the deep-sea angler, huge sharks and whales, the great swallowers, and so on.

The possibility of conventional fish species surviving in this region is low to none due to the extreme water pressure and a lack of plants and phytoplankton that are a source of food and oxygen for them.

Ocean exploration researchers are yet to lay their eyes on much of the marine life of this region that is expected to exemplify its beauty and wonder.

The fish that inhabit this region has been subjected to special adaptations that allow them to survive in the grave conditions existing here.

The Plants And Animals That Live In The Midnight Zone

Plants cannot exist in the deep sea as they cannot photosynthesize without sunlight. It is expected that it may not be possible for fish to exist without the plants as they are the source of oxygen and food. Yet, several marine creatures are found thriving in the midnight zone.

The marine life that exists in this region includes algae, bacteria, bivalves (oysters and clams that have soft bodies with a hard shell covering them), sharks, whales, squids, eels, vipers, and more. These marine species will die if kept in an aquarium since they have adaptive features that are only suitable for surviving in the deep sea.

How Animals In The Midnight Zone Survive

Apart from algae, bacteria, and other microorganisms, several species of fish are also found living in one of the deepest regions of the ocean. These midnight zone ocean animals have special adaptive features that help them survive and thrive here.

Some examples of these adaptive features are listed below.

Bioluminescence helps the anglerfish to create light and attract prey. Due to the darkness, fish like the barreleye has large eyes for better vision. As this region is deprived of food sources, slow metabolism is found in the fish.

For this reason, they have small muscles that take a very long time to grow. The bivalves have soft bodies covered by hard shells to resist extreme water pressure. The huge gills of the vampire squid helps it to breathe better even in the low oxygen region.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for midnight zone animals then why not take a look at the rarest animals, or the nocturnal animals' list?

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Written by Rajnandini Roychoudhury

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English, Master of Arts specializing in English

Rajnandini Roychoudhury picture

Rajnandini RoychoudhuryBachelor of Arts specializing in English, Master of Arts specializing in English

With a Master of Arts in English, Rajnandini has pursued her passion for the arts and has become an experienced content writer. She has worked with companies such as Writer's Zone and has had her writing skills recognized by publications such as The Telegraph. Rajnandini is also trilingual and enjoys various hobbies such as music, movies, travel, philanthropy, writing her blog, and reading classic British literature. 

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