Mariana Snailfish is the Deepest Known Fish

Posted on November 29, 2017

Mariana snailfish CT Scan

The recently discovered Mariana snailfish has been named the deepest known fish in the ocean. It thrives at depths of around 8,000 meters (26,000 feet) along the Mariana Trench near Guam. It is a small scaleless and translucent fish.

The fish feed on crustaceans and a small crustacean (the green shape) can be seen in the stomach of the snailfish in the above CT scan.

Mackenzie Gerringer, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Washington's Friday Harbor Laboratories and lead author of the Zootaxa paper, says in a statement, "This is the deepest fish that’s been collected from the ocean floor, and we’re very excited to have an official name. They don’t look very robust or strong for living in such an extreme environment, but they are extremely successful."

Researchers say the newly discovered species dominate parts of the Mariana Trench, the deepest stretch of ocean in the world. They were recently recorded swimming at a depth of 8,178 meters by a research team from Japan.

Thomas Linley of Newcastle University, a co-author of the study, says, "Snailfishes have adapted to go deeper than other fish and can live in the deep trenches. Here they are free of predators, and the funnel shape of the trench means there’s much more foody. There are lots of invertebrate prey and the snailfish are the top predator. They are active and look very well-fed."

Here is a video of Mariana snailfish feeding on the ocean floor.



Image: Adam Summers/University of Washington


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