All hail the world’s deepest dwelling fish.
This mysterious, wispy creature was recently spotted in the darkness of the Mariana Trench by a team of researchers. Living at 8,145 meters (about 26,722 feet) below the surface, this ghostly fish beat out the previous record-holder, Pseudoliparis amblystomopsis, a pink snailfish that lives between 6,000 and 8,000 meters deep in the Japan Trench. This newfound fish may also be a hadal snailfish, which are particularly adept at living at extreme depths. However, the creature has researchers scratching their heads.
“This really deep fish did not look like anything we had seen before, nor does it look like anything we know of,” University of Aberdeen’s Alan Jamieson said in a statement.
The University of Hawaii’s Jeff Drazen and Patty Fryer led the international team’s 30-day expedition into the Mariana Trench, which was part of a program aimed at studying the deepest parts of the ocean, known as the Hadal Ecosystem Studies (HADES). To capture videos and survey the trench, the team deployed a Hadal Lander, which spotted the ghastly snailfish with its camera. But that wasn’t the team’s only discovery. Researchers also observed a supergiant amphipod and a new snailfish species. If you want to explore some more historical trench discoveries, you can try out this handy timeline.
And while this is a fascinating discovery, it’s hard not to look at the deepest fish’s disturbingly cute face, and gauzelike flowing skin and think that it very well resembles the Ghost of Christmas Past from A Muppet Christmas Carol. Happy holidays, deep-sea life.