This Squishy Deep-Sea Fish 'Melts' at the Ocean Surface


Thomas Linley, a deep sea biologist at Newcastle University, told us that while most expeditions into the abyss return some previously unseen life form, "to find three species so clearly different at the same time" was new for him. The fish additionally appeared to be far bigger than other creatures caught on camera close to the goad.

The three new species were spotted at a depth of about 24,600 feet, near the bottom of the 26,460-foot deep trench.

Among the new discoveries are what the team believe to be three new species of snailfish.

Almost 25,000 feet below the surface, the Newcastle University expedition captured footage of three new species of snailfish, which have been temporarily named the pink, blue, and purple Atacama snailfish.

The trench is about 3,600 miles long, 40 miles wide, and drops to depths of 26,460 feet.

Their discovery is all the more intriguing considering that these snailfish have surprisingly weird features, especially for creatures that dwell so deep inside the Atacama abyss.

Part of the Liparidae family, the fish are unusual in appearance compared to the typical idea of a deep-sea fish.

A CT scan of an Atacama snailfish, which used to be recently learned within the Atacama Trench.

Although predatory, the Atacama snailfish don't have giant, menacing mouths.

With gelatinous, nearly translucent bodies, snailfish are extremely rare.

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"Something about the snailfish... allows them to adapt to living very deep", explains Newcastle University's Thomas Linley, one of the scientists leading the expedition, in a press release.

"Their gelatinous structure means they are perfectly adapted to living at extreme pressure".

"Without the extreme pressure and cold to support their bodies they are extremely fragile and melt rapidly when brought to the surface".

The Mariana snaifish, or 'pseudoliparis swirei, ' discovered in 2017.

It is said that it is almost five miles deep in some of the areas of the Atacama Trench which is present off the coast of the Peru and Chile.

Make pictures of animals, the researchers were able with the help of two deep-water devices equipped with HD-cameras and traps.

The Hadal Trenches are across the rim of the Pacific where the tectonic plate plunge and collide and the seafloor can be as deep as 7 miles (11,000 meters) depending on the area.

In the researchers' footage, the snailfish can be seen happily munching on small crustaceans gathered around dead fish that were deployed as bait.

"We don't know what species of munnopsid these are but 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", says Dr Linley.