5 Creatures That Have No Bones

Before there was Noodle the Pug, these creatures perfected the No Bones Day

If you are like me, the only forecast you are looking at these days is the one proffered by the adorable Noodle the Pug. Each morning is like a mini-Groundhog Day as the internet waits to see if this 13-year-old pug stands up (a “Bones Day”!) or slumps down as if his skeleton decided to become Jell-O that day (a “No Bones Day”). This simple ritual helps people like me determine the vibe of the day. If it’s a No Bones Day it might be a time to take it easy, practice self-care and lie low. If it’s a Bones Day, it’s a time to celebrate, go for an adventure or take a risk.

As I watch Noodle day in and day out, I realize there are some boneless ocean creatures who might teach this prophetic pug how to make the best of things when life gives you no bones. In fact, around 97% of animals are invertebrates, all lacking a literal backbone. I’m here to show you a few of the fabulous creatures that can teach us to embrace a No Bones Day. Meet five ocean creatures who have found a way to live their best life with no bones.

Sea Slug

A pink Sea Slug in the ocean

The ocean floor is a secret runway with designs to rival any fashion week. Sea slugs have a name in desperate need of a rebrand because it doesn’t properly convey their fabulousness. These slugs range from the little loveable white puff known as the sea bunny, the plant baby leaf slug and the brightly colored “Pokemon-esque” neon slug. These sea slugs are living proof that you can still shine bright without bones. In fact, some sea slugs have a strange trick when their bodies get them down: They can decapitate themselves and regrow a new body. Perhaps Noodle is taking a lesson from the sea slug and occasionally ditching his bones to grow new, more powerful ones. Every No Bones Day is just prep” work for a great Bones Day to come. You can see the serious faces these sea slugs bring to the ocean here.

Glass Octopus

Glass octopus in black water

Deep below the ocean, around 3,000 feet below the surface to be exact, there is a marvel to behold. There have been only a few sightings of the incredible glass octopus, but the photos and videos we’ve captured of this incredible creature are awe-inspiring. Due to the see-through nature that gives the glass octopus its name, you can clearly see it’s always having a No Bones Day. That doesn’t stop these creatures from literally glowing with their bioluminescence and teaching us all to “put it all out there” and shine brightly. Learn more about these rare and magnificent deep-sea creatures. 

Mantis Shrimp

A Mantis Shrimp in the ocean

The mantis shrimp is living proof that you don’t need bones to be strong. The unique herringbone structure found in the claw, or the dactyl club, of some mantis shrimp has inspired the creation of ultra-strong materials for airplanes or helmets. These dactyl clubs allow mantis shrimp to punch with a force as powerful as 2,500 times their body weight. If humans could do that they could punch through steel. If that wasn’t enough, their punches form bubbles acting like shockwaves to stun prey and creating temperatures nearly as hot as the sun. So pack a punch for your next No Bones Day by channeling the mantis shrimp and learn more about their splendor here.

Pink See-Through Fantasia

Swimming sea cucumber

Enypniastes eximia have a few nicknames, some complimentary, like Pink See-Through Fantasia, and some less so, like Headless Chicken Monster. With two opposing names like this, the animal must have a good side and a horrifically scary side, just like me before and after my morning coffee. These swimming sea cucumbers are also found in the deep ocean where they travel around using a peculiar method. They suck in water through their anal opening (which is also their mouth) to increase their buoyancy, turning their bodies into balloons ready to ride the ocean’s currents. Their bloated bodies help them travel much faster, sometimes traveling miles in a day. These crazy critters show us the new weird possibilities in store for us in a world without bones. Learn more about the gross and incredible lives of sea cucumbers here.

Immortal Jellyfish

Immortal Jellyfish

Have you ever looked at a photo of yourself at eight, eating cookie dough at a friend’s pool party, and wished to go back to those carefree days? Well, the immortal jellyfish have a real life “reset button.” If they aren’t feeling well, they can revert into their younger polyp states and start life relatively anew. Who knows, perhaps Noodle is emulating the jellyfish to discover its secret to longevity? His bones are just preparing to become different cells and a new cuter Noodle (if that’s even possible!) will emerge forever young. If you’re ready to learn the secrets of life everlasting, read more about the immortal jellyfish. 

On the next No Bones Day, channel these delightful creatures and see that there’s no reason to be jelly about a skelly. Here’s to #NoBonesEveryday!

Our work is focused on solving some of the greatest threats facing our ocean today. We bring people, science and policy together to champion innovative solutions and fight for a sustainable ocean.
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