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Researchers Discover 3 New Deep Sea Fish 5 Miles Below the Surface
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Scientists have discovered three new species of fish in one of the deepest parts of the Pacific, but they’re having a tough time bringing them to the surface – and that’s because they depend on the intense pressure from the depth.
Fish found in the Hadal Trenches – more specifically, the Atacama Trench – are accustomed to living a little over 5 miles below the ocean’s surface. Using baited camera traps, scientists discovered that the freezing cold water was full of fish. Among them, three new species of snailfish.
“As the footage clearly shows, there are lots of invertebrate prey down there and the snailfish are the top predator, they seem to be quite active and look very well-fed,” said Dr. Thomas Linley, one of the team’s researchers. “Their gelatinous structure means they are perfectly adapted to living at extreme pressure and in fact the hardest structures in their bodies are their teeth and the bones in their inner ear which give them balance. Without the extreme pressure and cold to support their bodies they are extremely fragile and melt rapidly when brought to the surface.”
Researchers took nearly 12,000 photos and more than 100 hours of video footage, which they evaluated to identify the new species.
Another reason scientists are so excited is that these snailfish are outside the realm of what they expected to find at such depths.
Newcastle University issued a statement that says, “These fish… do not conform to the preconceived stereotypical image of what a deep-sea fish should look like. Instead of giant teeth and a menacing frame, the fishes that roam in the deepest parts of the ocean are small, translucent, bereft of scales — and highly adept at living where few other organisms can.” You can check out a video about the expedition and research, and watch the snailfish in action, here.
What Do You Think?
Are you excited about these kinds of discoveries right here on our own planet? I’d love to hear what’s on your mind about these fish, so please share your thoughts on my Facebook page or on Twitter.