New world record for deepest fish


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A new species of fish is discovered at a depth of over 8,000m

The Mariana Trench is the Western Pacific is the deepest place on earth with its deepest point known as Challenger Deep, which measures nearly 11km below the surface.

This month an international team have returned from the first detailed study of the Mariana Trench aboard Schmidt Ocean Institute's research vessel, Falkor.

Rather than solely focusing on the deepest point of the trench an effort was made to study the relationships between life and geologic processes across the entire hadalpelagic zone, the deepest part of the ocean.

Dr Jeff Drazen, co-chief scientist explained, "Many studies have rushed to the bottom of the trench, but from an ecological view that is very limiting. It's like truing to understand a mountain ecosystem by only looking at its summit."

The research will help to answer questions about what species live there and how they adapt to such extreme environments. New species were discovered that will give insight into the physiological adaptations of animals to this high-pressure environment.

Several records were broken for deepest living fish with the final record at 8,143m being set by an unknown species of what's thought to be a snailfish. The white translucent fish with wing-like fins and an eel-like tail was filmed several times during seal floor experiments.

Dr Jamieson said, "We think it is a snailfish, but it's so weird-looking; it's up in the air in terms of what it is.
"It is unbelievably fragile, and when it swims, it looks like it has wet tissue paper floating behind it.

"And it has a weird snout - it looks like a cartoon dog snout."

Without catching the fish and bringing it back to the surface, the team is unable to confirm that it is a new species, but Dr Jamieson said it did not look like anything he'd seen before or knew of.

The new record-breaking creature is close the the depth-limit at which scientists believe fish can survive.

Dr Jamieson added, "We've got more than 20 hours of footage of them, and we're learning the way they swim, the way they feed and the way they fend off predators.

"They clamp down on the bait, and bore their head into it and put their spiky tail in the air like a thorn bush.

"Anything that goes for it gets stabbed in the nose."