New species described from depths

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Six new deep-sea species have been discovered in the southern Indian Ocean.

The fish were among a scientific trawl catch off the Crozet Islands " an archipelago of small French sub-Antarctic islands.

Working with a team of three taxonomists from Denmark and Paris, Dr Nikki King from the University of Aberdeen had brought the fish back to the UK to identify them when she made the discovery.

The new species included two species of eelpout - an eel-like fish that is bottom dwelling in cold waters. These were named Pachycara priedei and Pachycara cousinsi. The latter measures 42cm long and was named after Dr King s fianc! Interestingly, of the 26 species of Pachycara, 18 have been described in the last 20 years.

Also discovered were three new species of snailfish; Paraliparis wolffi, Careproctus crozentensis and Careproctus discoveryae and a species of Apagesoma.

Studies by the same unit last year on the mid-Atlantic ridge between Iceland and the Azores also found a new species of sea shrimp and a rare amphipod.