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Firefly Books - An illustrated look at the weird and wonderful creatures that live in the very deepest parts of the sea.

Humans have always wondered, with a mixture of fear and fascination, what lurks beneath the surface in the depths of the ocean. In this book, Erich Hoyt introduces 50 of the oddest creatures you will ever meet in the sea. From the carnivorous comb jelly to the lantern-carrying deep-sea dragonfish, from a vampire squid with giant eyes to dancing jellyfish, Hoyt explores these peculiar conditions and their equally peculiar environment.

These creatures have adapted to lack of light and, using sound pulses (echolocation) or light-producing organs and pigment cells (emitting light via bioluminescence), they are able to communicate without giving their location away to predators.

These stunning, captivating photographs weren't taken from the portholes of submarines. Photographers David Shale, Solvin Zanki and Jeff Rotman worked with oceanography institutes, museums and the BBC Natural History Unit, taking long cruises across the ocean to record and try to understand these little-studied residents of the deep sea. To capture the creatures for observation, a net was lowered far beneath the surface. As soon as the trawl was hauled aboard, the photographers would race to transfer the most unusual animals to fresh seawater aquariums in a chilled laboratory on board.
Hydromedusa/ Trachymedusa (Crossota sp) from approx 2700m, mid Atlantic ridge, June 2010 - David Shale
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David Shale / Hydromedusa/ Trachymedusa (Crossota sp) from approx 2700m, mid Atlantic ridge, June 2010
Wing-armed squid (Stenoteuthis pteropus) - deep sea specimen from South Atlantic - Solvin Zankl
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Solvin Zankl / Wing-armed squid (Stenoteuthis pteropus) - deep sea specimen from South Atlantic
Dragonfish (Melanostomias melanops) - deep sea specimen from 2000m depth, nr Cape Verde Islands, North Atlantic - Solvin Zankl
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Solvin Zankl / Dragonfish (Melanostomias melanops) - deep sea specimen from 2000m depth, nr Cape Verde Islands, North Atlantic
Deepsea Blackdevil fish (Melanocetus murrayi) female anglerfish specimen. - Solvin Zankl
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Solvin Zankl / Deepsea Blackdevil fish (Melanocetus murrayi) female anglerfish specimen.
Viperfish (Chauliodus sloani) - deep sea specimen from Portugal - Solvin Zankl
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Solvin Zankl / Viperfish (Chauliodus sloani) - deep sea specimen from Portugal
Pacific hatchetfish (Argyropelecus affinis) portrait - Solvin Zankl
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Solvin Zankl / Pacific hatchetfish (Argyropelecus affinis) portrait
Black Dragonfish (Malacosteus niger) - Solvin Zankl
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Solvin Zankl / Black Dragonfish (Malacosteus niger)
Hydromedusa / Trachymedusa (Crossota sp) showing tentacles, from approx 2700m, mid Atlantic ridge, June 2010 - David Shale
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David Shale / Hydromedusa / Trachymedusa (Crossota sp) showing tentacles, from approx 2700m, mid Atlantic ridge, June 2010
Underside of deepsea Sea cucumber (Deima validum) from 2500m, mid Atlantic ridge, June 2010 - David Shale
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David Shale / Underside of deepsea Sea cucumber (Deima validum) from 2500m, mid Atlantic ridge, June 2010
Enteropneust worm / Acorn worm (Yoda purpurata) from the North Atlantic Ocean, southern Purple variety, feeds on sea floor sediment leaving behind variable wavy traces, Depth approx 2700m. ~ new speci... - David Shale
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David Shale / Enteropneust worm / Acorn worm (Yoda purpurata) from the North Atlantic Ocean, southern Purple variety, feeds on sea floor sediment leaving behind variable wavy traces, Depth approx 2700m. ~ new speci...
Glass squid {Teuthowenia megalops}, Mid-Atlantic Ridge, North Atlantic Ocean - David Shale
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David Shale / Glass squid {Teuthowenia megalops}, Mid-Atlantic Ridge, North Atlantic Ocean
Deepsea octopus (Benthoctopus johnsoniana) Mid-Atlantic Ridge, North Atlantic Ocean - David Shale
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David Shale / Deepsea octopus (Benthoctopus johnsoniana) Mid-Atlantic Ridge, North Atlantic Ocean
Midwater pteropod molluscs / Sea butterflies (Clione limacina) Mid-Atlantic Ridge, North Atlantic Ocean - David Shale
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David Shale / Midwater pteropod molluscs / Sea butterflies (Clione limacina) Mid-Atlantic Ridge, North Atlantic Ocean
Medusa caught with 1m ring net between 0 and 150m, Mid-Atlantic Ridge, North Atlantic Ocean - David Shale
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David Shale / Medusa caught with 1m ring net between 0 and 150m, Mid-Atlantic Ridge, North Atlantic Ocean
Shelled Pteropod / Sea butterfly {Diacria trispinosa} with egg string attached, from between 188 and 507m, Mid-Atlantic Ridge, North Atlantic Ocean - David Shale
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David Shale / Shelled Pteropod / Sea butterfly {Diacria trispinosa} with egg string attached, from between 188 and 507m, Mid-Atlantic Ridge, North Atlantic Ocean
Deepsea squid (Histioteuthis sp) from between 188m/617ft and 507m/1,663ft depth, night, Mid-Atlantic Ridge, North Atlantic Ocean - David Shale
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David Shale / Deepsea squid (Histioteuthis sp) from between 188m/617ft and 507m/1,663ft depth, night, Mid-Atlantic Ridge, North Atlantic Ocean
Heteropod mollusc (Atlanta peroni) from between 195-498m / 640-1634ft, Mid-Atlantic Ridge, North Atlantic Ocean - David Shale
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David Shale / Heteropod mollusc (Atlanta peroni) from between 195-498m / 640-1634ft, Mid-Atlantic Ridge, North Atlantic Ocean
Octopod {Grimpoteuthis discoveryi} Mid-Atlantic Ridge, North Atlantic Ocean - David Shale
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David Shale / Octopod {Grimpoteuthis discoveryi} Mid-Atlantic Ridge, North Atlantic Ocean
Marine Planktonic Copepod {Gaussia princeps} female, deepsea, Atlantic ocean - Solvin Zankl
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Solvin Zankl / Marine Planktonic Copepod {Gaussia princeps} female, deepsea, Atlantic ocean
Atlantic longarm octopus (Octopus defilippi), Atlantic ocean - Solvin Zankl
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Solvin Zankl / Atlantic longarm octopus (Octopus defilippi), Atlantic ocean
Sea butterfly {Clio recurva} (a thecosomate pteropod), Atlantic ocean - Solvin Zankl
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Solvin Zankl / Sea butterfly {Clio recurva} (a thecosomate pteropod), Atlantic ocean
Deepsea planktonic megalopa stage of crab development, Atlantic ocean. - Solvin Zankl
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Solvin Zankl / Deepsea planktonic megalopa stage of crab development, Atlantic ocean.
Bobtail squid {Rossia sp} benthic, Barents sea, Northern Europe - David Shale
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David Shale / Bobtail squid {Rossia sp} benthic, Barents sea, Northern Europe
Portrait of Fangtooth {Anoplogaster cornuta} Atlantic - David Shale
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David Shale / Portrait of Fangtooth {Anoplogaster cornuta} Atlantic
Deepsea Snipe eel  (Nemichthys sp), Feeds on decapods., deep sea Atlantic ocean - David Shale
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David Shale / Deepsea Snipe eel (Nemichthys sp), Feeds on decapods., deep sea Atlantic ocean
Amphipod (Epimeria cornigera) on live Lophelia coral (Lophelia pertusa). Trondheimfjord, North Atlantic Ocean, Norway. - Solvin Zankl
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Solvin Zankl / Amphipod (Epimeria cornigera) on live Lophelia coral (Lophelia pertusa). Trondheimfjord, North Atlantic Ocean, Norway.
Oikopleura, a tunicate (Urochordata) that retains its larval form, Trondheimsfjord, North Atlantic Ocean. - Solvin Zankl
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Solvin Zankl / Oikopleura, a tunicate (Urochordata) that retains its larval form, Trondheimsfjord, North Atlantic Ocean.
Deepsea Feather star (Crinoidea) from a coral seamount in the Indian Ocean, December 2011 - David Shale
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David Shale / Deepsea Feather star (Crinoidea) from a coral seamount in the Indian Ocean, December 2011
Deepsea Sea urchin (Echinoidea) from coral seamount, Indian Ocean, November 2011 - David Shale
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David Shale / Deepsea Sea urchin (Echinoidea) from coral seamount, Indian Ocean, November 2011
Ventral view of deepsea Yeti crab (Kiwa sp) from Dragon vent field, Indian Ocean, November 2011 - David Shale
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David Shale / Ventral view of deepsea Yeti crab (Kiwa sp) from Dragon vent field, Indian Ocean, November 2011
Deepsea Scaly foot gastropod (Crysomallon squamiferum ) with commensal polychaete on foot, from Dragon vent field, Indian Ocean, November 2011 - David Shale
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David Shale / Deepsea Scaly foot gastropod (Crysomallon squamiferum ) with commensal polychaete on foot, from Dragon vent field, Indian Ocean, November 2011
Deepsea Anemone from a coral seamount, Indian ocean, November 2011 - David Shale
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David Shale / Deepsea Anemone from a coral seamount, Indian ocean, November 2011
Deepsea Squat lobster (Galatheidae) from coral seamount, Indian Ocean, December 2011 - David Shale
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David Shale / Deepsea Squat lobster (Galatheidae) from coral seamount, Indian Ocean, December 2011
Deepsea Brittlestar (Ophiuroidea) from a coral seamount in the Indian Ocean, November 2011 - David Shale
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David Shale / Deepsea Brittlestar (Ophiuroidea) from a coral seamount in the Indian Ocean, November 2011
Deepsea benthic Sea cucumber (Peniagone diaphane) from mid atlantic ridge, depth approx 2500m, June 2010 - David Shale
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David Shale / Deepsea benthic Sea cucumber (Peniagone diaphane) from mid atlantic ridge, depth approx 2500m, June 2010
Deepsea Sea cucumber (Amperima sp) from mid Atlantic ridge, 2500m, Atlantic ocean, June 2010 - David Shale
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David Shale / Deepsea Sea cucumber (Amperima sp) from mid Atlantic ridge, 2500m, Atlantic ocean, June 2010
Deepsea amphipod {Scypholanceola stephensi} from between 500 and 800m, night, Mid-Atlantic Ridge, North Atlantic Ocean - David Shale
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David Shale / Deepsea amphipod {Scypholanceola stephensi} from between 500 and 800m, night, Mid-Atlantic Ridge, North Atlantic Ocean
Decapod {Pasiphaea sp} female carrying eggs,  between 530 - 750m, Mid-Atlantic Ridge, North Atlantic Ocean - David Shale
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David Shale / Decapod {Pasiphaea sp} female carrying eggs, between 530 - 750m, Mid-Atlantic Ridge, North Atlantic Ocean
Piglet squid {Helicocranchia sp} from between 500 and 200m, Mid-Atlantic Ridge, North Atlantic Ocean - David Shale
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David Shale / Piglet squid {Helicocranchia sp} from between 500 and 200m, Mid-Atlantic Ridge, North Atlantic Ocean
Mantis Shrimp Larva {Stomatopoda} Lembeh Straits, Sulawesi, Indonesia - Solvin Zankl
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Solvin Zankl / Mantis Shrimp Larva {Stomatopoda} Lembeh Straits, Sulawesi, Indonesia
Deepsea calanoid copepod {Valdiviella sp}, Atlantic ocean - Solvin Zankl
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Solvin Zankl / Deepsea calanoid copepod {Valdiviella sp}, Atlantic ocean
Skate  {Rajella fyllae} swimming, benthic, 2368m, Barents sea, Northern Europe - David Shale
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David Shale / Skate {Rajella fyllae} swimming, benthic, 2368m, Barents sea, Northern Europe
Sea spider {Pycnogonida} benthic, Barents sea, Northern Europe - David Shale
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David Shale / Sea spider {Pycnogonida} benthic, Barents sea, Northern Europe
Deep Sea Barracuda (Sphryaena sp.) portrait with mouth open (500 metres). Israel, Red Sea. - Jeff Rotman
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Jeff Rotman / Deep Sea Barracuda (Sphryaena sp.) portrait with mouth open (500 metres). Israel, Red Sea.
Spined Pygmy Shark (Squaliolus laticaudus) portrait - One of the smallest sharks. Israel, Mediterranean Sea. - Jeff Rotman
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Jeff Rotman / Spined Pygmy Shark (Squaliolus laticaudus) portrait - One of the smallest sharks. Israel, Mediterranean Sea.
Deepsea Anthomedusa {Pandea rubra} Gulf of Maine, Atlantic - David Shale
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David Shale / Deepsea Anthomedusa {Pandea rubra} Gulf of Maine, Atlantic
Deepsea Opossum shrimp / Mysid {Gnathophausia sp} , deep sea Atlantic ocean - David Shale
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David Shale / Deepsea Opossum shrimp / Mysid {Gnathophausia sp} , deep sea Atlantic ocean
Deepsea solitary salp (Iasis zonaria), deep sea Atlantic ocean, - David Shale
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David Shale / Deepsea solitary salp (Iasis zonaria), deep sea Atlantic ocean,
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