Science

South Pacific Trench SHOCK discovery: Ghostly ‘SNAILFISH’ discovered 5 miles below surface

South Pacific Trench SHOCK discovery: Ghostly ‘SNAILFISH’ discovered 5 miles below surface

One of the three newly discovered species known as the Atacama snailfish, now sorted into three categories: blue, purple, and pink.

The expedition that involved a team of 40 scientists from 17 different nations used two landers equipped with advanced cameras to explore the ultra-deep environments in the Atacama Trench.

Amid the contemporary discoveries are what the team assumes to be three novel species of Snailfish.

The newly discovered species have temporarily been named the pink, blue and purple Atacama snailfish, part of the Liparidae family, scientists said.

"These fish are part of the Liparidae family and do not conform to the preconceived stereotypical image of what a deep-sea fish should look like", university officials said in a statement.

But although they lack giant teeth and a menacing frame they are highly adept at living where few other organisms can. Whatever the adaptations are, they serve the snailfish well: Even though they each clock in at less than a foot long, according to Linley, at such extreme depths, they're "top predators" and "look very well-fed".

Footage captured by the Newcastle University team of the feeding habits of deep sea fish in the Atacama Trench, Pacific Ocean.




The new specimens present soft and translucent bodies that are perfectly adapted to the extreme living conditions of those depths that exceed 7,500 meters down below the ocean's surface. Indeed, sea creatures discovered in the deepest reaches of the ocean typically have distinctive characteristics that come with adapting to living under extreme pressure, in freezing temperatures and out of sunlight's reach.

Dr. Thomas Linley and Dr. Alan Jamieson from Newcastle University, the United Kingdom along with other 40 scientists of 17 different nationalities formed a strong team aiming to hold expeditions to the Atacama Trench, one of the deepest places on earth with interesting forms of life. The single specimen was in very good condition and, following careful preservation, is now being described by the Newcastle team with the help of colleagues from the United States and the Natural History Museum, London. Apart from snailfish, they also found various weird creatures in the environment such as long-legged isopods or Munnopsids.

It can take four hours for a trap to sink to the bottom.

Located off the coasts of Peru and Chile, the 3,700-mile long (6,000 km) Atacama Trench bottoms out at 26,460 feet (8,065 metres).

The research will be discussed at the 2018 Challenger Conference which kicks off at the university this week.

"They fall apart at like the molecular level", Linley said. The creatures can swim backwards and upside down, have long legs like a spider, and paddles to help them swim.


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