THE deepest living fish ever recorded were captured – and filmed – miles below the surface of the North Pacific Ocean.
In complete darkness, except for a light cast on the bottom of a deep-sea trench by researchers using an autonomous deep-sea vessel, the unknown species of snail was recorded at a grinding depth of bones of 27,349 feet (8,336 meters).
The snail – of the genus Pseudoliparis, which looks like a horribly large tadpole – was a small juvenile that has greater abilities to live at such depths than other deep-sea fish. They were found in the Izu-Ogasawara Trench in southern Japan during a two-month trip by a joint Australian-Japanese scientific expedition.
The record finding was part of a decade-long study of the world’s deepest fish populations, led by the University of Western Australia and Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology.
“We have spent more than 15 years searching for these deep sea snails; there’s so much more to it than just the depth, but the maximum depth they can survive is truly astonishing,” said Alan Jamieson, director of the Minderoo-UWA Deep Sea Research Center, in statement monday.
A few days after shooting the fish, the team collected two snails (Pseudoliparis belyaevi) from traps set 26,319 feet (8,022 meters) deep in the Izu-Ogasawara pit.
In remarkable footage released on Sunday, a number of translucent, scaleless fish with wing-like fins and eel-like tails can be seen swimming through a black chasm, illuminated by a spotlight cast by a baited camera . The size of the fish was not immediately clear.
“In other trenches such as the Mariana Trench we were finding them at deeper and deeper depths, crawling just above that 8,000m mark in fewer numbers, but around Japan they are really quite abundant,” Jamieson said.
These snails were the first fish to be caught at depths greater than 26,247 feet (8,000 meters), the statement said. In previous expeditions, the snailfish was only seen at a depth of 25,272 feet (7,703 meters) in 2008, he added.
The expedition began last September to explore the deep trenches around Japan in the northern Pacific Ocean.
The discovery of the mysterious deep-sea creature breaks the record previously held by snails discovered in the Mariana Trench, the planet’s deepest point in the Pacific Ocean: one in 2017 of 26,831 feet (8,178 meters). , breaking the previous record by over 518 feet. , and another in 2014 of a snail filmed at a depth of 26,716 feet (8,143 meters) by an expedition team led by marine scientists from the University of Hawaii.
“We tell people from a very young age, as young as two or three years old, that the deep sea is a horrible, scary place that you shouldn’t go and that grows with time,” Jamieson told Reuters .
“We don’t appreciate the fact that it (the deep sea) is basically most of planet Earth and that resources should be put into understanding and how to figure out how we affect it and how it works “, he added.
Carina Cheng And Reuters contributed.