Monsters from the Deep

"What would an ocean be without a monster lurking in the dark? It would be like sleep without dreams"
The quote is attributed to Werner Herzog although, a well-read American colleague - Malcolm Shick - suggests he may have taken it from John Steinbeck and Ed Ricketts book in Log from the Sea of Cortez (1951): " Men really need sea monsters in their personal oceans. ... An ocean without its unnamed monsters would be like a completely dreamless sleep."
Siphonophores are bizarre cousins of the medusa and share with them the general label “jellyfish, and also the propensity to sting using powerful adapted cells called nematocysts. A sting from one of the clan, the Portuguese Man ‘o’ War (Physalia physalis), although not fatal, if experienced will be long remembered. Contact with the box jellyfish (Chironex fleckeri), on the other hand, can lead to cardiovascular collapse and death, normally within 2 to 5 minutes.

The Siphonophores are, in many cases, denizens of the abyss and take on bizarre shapes. One is reminded of the old Cornish litany (the Scots also lay claim to it) asking from deliverance from “Ghoulies and Ghostsies and Long Leggity Beasties and things that go Bump in the night”. On a dark and stormy Winter’s night, you certainly wouldn’t want one of these beasties, up to 40 metres long, silently gliding into you bedroom and coasting round flashing red phosphorescence. You’d pretty quickly be on your knees dialling 999 (or 911) to the Almighty requesting the emergency services.

And could Cannophysa murryana not be the prototype for Smaug, of the Middle Earth, sleeping atop his hoard, with gold and gemstones embedded in the skin of underside.