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article imageNew species of deep-sea fish discovered

By Lynn Curwin     Oct 15, 2010 in Environment
Marine biologists have discovered a new species of deep-sea fish in a deep ocean trench which had previously been thought to be uninhabited.
The new snailfish species was found in one of the Peru-Chile trench, living at a depth of 7,000m (22,966ft) by a team of marine biologists from Scotland, Japan and New Zealand.
The creature is shaped like a tadpole with a large head, tiny eyes and fins, and is about 25 centimetres (10 inches) long. The ghostly-looking fish lives in a pitch black environment in very cold water.
Cusk-eels and large crustacean scavengers were also found living in the area, which is one of the deepest places on the planet.
The biologists took 6,000 pictures during a three-week expedition to the trench in the South East Pacific Ocean.
The mission was part of a research project between the University of Aberdeen's Oceanlab and the University of Tokyo's Ocean Research Institute, supported by New Zealand's National Institute of Water and Atmospheric research (NIWA).
"Our findings, which revealed diverse and abundant species at depths previously thought to be void of fish, will prompt a rethink into marine populations at extreme depths," The Telegraph quoted Oceanlab's Dr Alan Jamieson, as saying.
The expedition was prompted by their discovery of snailfish known as Liparids inhabiting trenches off of Japan and New Zealand in 2008 and 2009.
"To test whether these species would be found in all trenches, we repeated our experiments on the other side of the Pacific Ocean off Peru and Chile, some 6,000 miles (9,656km) from our last observations,” explained Jamieson.
"What we found was that indeed there was another unique species of snailfish living at 7,000 metres – entirely new to science – which had never been caught or seen before."
The creature will be named after it is officially confirmed as a new species.
Some of the deep-sea creatures photographed in the trench during the expedition.
Some of the deep-sea creatures photographed in the trench during the expedition.
Oceanlab, University of Aberdeen, UK
Cusk eels
Cusk eels
Oceanlab, University of Aberdeen, UK
Amphipod
Amphipod
Oceanlab, University of Aberdeen, UK
Amphipod
Amphipod
Oceanlab, University of Aberdeen, UK
More about Species, Fish, Deep-sea, Discovered