Researchers from the Minderoo-University of Western Australia and the Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology have set a new world record for the deepest fish ever recorded. And it’s absolutely precious.
The expedition’s chief scientist, Professor Alan Jamieson, shared the news on the university’s website Tuesday.
“When you picture what the deepest fish in the world should look like, the chances are it’s gnarly, black, with big teeth and small eyes,” he said. But adaptations to deep sea life can be more subtle.
The deepest fish recorded is a juvenile snailfish, able to swim to even greater depths than the adults of its species. It was discovered by a crewless deep-sea vessel in the Izu-Ogasawara trench southeast of Japan.
The adorable young fish already has a catchy TikTok song in his honour.
@behindthenewstv That’s deep, man… 🎣🙀 #btn #behindthenews #news #trendingnews #fishing #fish #snailfish #marine #marinebiology #deepwaterfishing #sciencetok #ocean #sea #fishtok #marinebio #animals #nature #naturetok #oceantok #eatingaburgerwithnohoneymustard ♬ original sound – Behind The News (BTN)
The fish was found during a two-month expedition at over 8,300 metres, where pressures reach up to 800 times that of the ocean’s surface.
Snailfish are part of the Pseudoliparis genus. They have tadpole-shaped bodies, no scales, and have evolved to have no swim bladder to help them survive. According to Jamieson, maintaining a gas cavity is very difficult at high pressure.
This discovery confirms the predictions made by scientists at The University of Western Australia over ten years that fish could be found at depths of 8,200 to 8,400 metres. “If this record is broken, it would only be by minute increments, potentially by just a few metres,” noted Professor Jamieson.
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There are over 400 species of snailfish, and it is not yet known which species the juvenile belongs to.
For now, this snailfish marks a significant achievement for the scientific community and reminds us how much we have left to learn about largely unexplored deep-sea environments.