Food by VICE

Sea Creatures That Look Like Delicious Italian Dishes, Ranked

The "ravioli starfish" isn't the only sea creature that looks like something you'd find at a red-sauce Italian restaurant.

by Bettina Makalintal
Jul 11 2019, 6:34pm

Starfish: Image courtesy of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, Windows to the Deep 2019; Ravioli by zi3000 via iStock/Getty Images Plus

Earlier this week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shared a picture of what just may be the most perfect sea creature possible: Plinthaster dentatus, or the "ravioli starfish," which a voyage by the Okeanos Explorer recently caught on video. Please, as delicious as this pasta boy looks, do not eat him… he is too small and pure, and we will defend him at all costs.

As it turns out, though, the ravioli starfish isn't the only sea creature that looks inexplicably like, well, something you'd find at a red sauce Italian joint. While the ravioli starfish undeniably holds the #1 spot in our hearts, we present the rest of them to you, ranked, because not all are as tasty-looking and wholesome as our pasta-like friend.

It should go without saying, but you should not actually eat these sea creatures, no matter how much they might look like "forbidden snacks." Please, leave the little ocean buddies be—they're already dealing with all the plastic trash in the ocean.

10. Tomato Clown Fish / Tomato Sauce

Photo by Nick Hobgood via Wikimedia Commons

This guy looks like some bland winter tomatoes and bland tomatoes make bland sauce, so sadly, this one barely passes. It's OK, Nemo, we still love you.

9. Holothuria scabra ("Garlic Bread Sea Cucumber") / Garlic Bread

Photo by Ria Tan via Wikimedia Commons

Let's be real: We'd eat any version of garlic bread, but if yours looks like this, seems like it's time for a new recipe.

8. Sea Cucumbers / Salami

Sea Cucumber by Chameleon via Wikimedia Commons; Salami by Petar43 via Wikimedia Commons

Likeness: pretty on point. Does this squishy guy really look appealing, though? Not exactly.

7. Elysia crispata ("Lettuce Sea Slug") / Lettuce

lettuce sea slug
Photo by Durden Images via Shutterstock

Sure, lettuce isn't exactly a priority when what you really want is pasta, but this friend deserves some points for effort.

6. Frogfish, yawning / Lumache

a splitscreen image of a frogfish yawning, to the left of dried lumache pasta
Frogfish by Betty Wills (Atsme) via Wikimedia Commons; Lumache by Jim10701 via Wikimedia Commons

This fish might also look like all of us after a gnarly La Croix burp, but it also resembles the snail-inspired pasta shape known as lumache pretty darn well.

5. Bathyphysa conifera ("Flying Spaghetti Monster") / Spaghetti

Although we wouldn't want to run into this creature in a dark ocean, there is a reason it's known as the real-life "Flying Spaghetti Monster."

4. Squid / Calamari

a white plate with fried calamari and marinara sauce
Photo by TheCrimsonMonkey via Getty Images

Hmm, why does squid look so much like a tasty plate of fried calamari? Oh, right…

3. Fried Egg Jellyfish / Uova in Purgatorio ("Eggs in Purgatory")

a fried egg jellyfish next to a sunny side up egg in tomato sauce
Jellyfish by Taja Planinc via iStock/Getty Images Plus; Egg by DronG via iStock/Getty Images Plus

Uova in purgatorio is a dish made of spicy tomato sauce topped with sunny-side-up eggs, but if you put one of these on top, pretty sure no one would be the wiser.

2. Antennarius maculatus ("Warty Frogfish") / Neapolitan-Style Margherita Pizza

Frogfish by Rickard Zerpe via Wikimedia Commons; Pizza by Paolo Paradiso via iStock/Getty Images Plus

You know when you get a Neapolitan-style Margherita pizza and it's topped with rounds of fresh mozz instead of shreds? That's what this buddy looks like, and we love him for it.

1. Baby Stingrays / Ravioli

Clearly, we've got a soft spot for ravioli, and these little babies are so dang cute that you'll almost forget they turn into big creatures that can zap you to death. Plus, that ravioli resemblance can't be beat.
Italian food
sea creatures
forbidden snacks
ravioli starfish