Weird Fish Species Discovered in the Extreme Depths of Pacific Ocean

Atacama snailfish. Credit Newcastle University

Atacama snailfish. Credit Newcastle University

What researchers captured on camera were three new species of the "elusive" snailfish, living more than 21,000 feet beneath the surface, according to Newcastle University, which announced the findings Monday.

An worldwide team consisting of 40 scientists from 17 nations embarked on an expedition to search deep in the ocean with their camera and other necessary equipment. Now the group has announced at this week's Challenger Conference for Marine Science that they also discovered two additional species of snailfish, called for now the pink and purple snailfishes. The fish were discovered in the Atacama Trench, which is located about seven miles below the surface in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Peru and Chile. Their appearance has little in common with stereotypical ideas about deep sea fish: they don't have big teeth and they look in General negrono.

"Thanks to adaptation to life in deep water, sea slugs no competitors and predators that could catch them - said Dr. Thomas Lynley (Dr. Thomas Linley) from Newcastle University". It is noted that soft-bodied fish exist due to the lack of predators on the usual depth.

The scientific team responsible for this expedition managed to film some of the snailfish, depositing on the bottom of the sea - in the form of a trap - the body of an amphipod in one of the traps. These cute snailfish have small, smooth translucent bodies. So, the hardest objects in the snailfishes' bodies are their teeth and the bones in their inner ears, and the creatures have only minimal structural body parts. Without the pressure of the water and the chill of the deep ocean, they appear to melt on reaching the surface.

With these tools, they were able to find three interesting creatures, which they believe are types of snailfish, about 5 miles deep.

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The specimen was in very good condition and is now being described by the Newcastle group, with help of colleagues from the U.S. and London's Natural History Museum.

The Atacama name comes from the Atacama Trench, a slash in the floor of the ocean that is almost 6,000km long and more than 8,000m deep in some areas. These creatures belong to an unidentified species of the Munnopsidae family and grow to be the size of an adult human hand.

It can take four hours for a trap to sink to the bottom and after waiting an additional 12 to 24 hours, the researchers send an acoustic signal to the trap, which releases weights and the lander rises to the surface with the help of floatation.

"It's incredible to have caught them in action in their natural habitat - especially the flip they do as they switch from swimming to walking mode", Linley said.

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