October 15th, 2010
11:54 AM ET

New fish species found deep below ocean surface

The ghostly white snailfish was found September 10 in the South Pacific.

Scientists have discovered a new species of fish living almost 4 1/2 miles below the surface of the Pacific Ocean.

The ghostly white snailfish was found September 10 in the Peru-Chile trench in the South Pacific by an international team of marine biologists led by Alan Jamieson of the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. The scientists also found cusk-eels and crustaceans living in the trench off the west coast of South America. Those creatures had never before been observed at such depths, where sunlight never penetrates and water pressure is almost 10,000 pounds per square inch.

“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,” said Jamieson, who led researchers from Japan and New Zealand in the project.

The researchers discovered the creatures during a three-week expedition during which they took more than 6,000 images at depths between 4,500 and 8,000 meters (15,000 to 26,000 feet).

The most recent mission – August 31 to September 20 - was the seventh in three years by a collaborative research project among the University of Aberdeen’s Oceanlab, the University of Tokyo’s Ocean Research Institute and New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric research.

Previous expeditions had identified another species of snailfish in deep-sea trenches off Japan and New Zealand.

Scientists found large shrimp-like crustacean scavengers in abundance.

“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 from our last observations,” Jamieson said. “What we found was that indeed there was another unique species of snailfish living at 7,000 meters — entirely new to science, which had never been caught or seen before.”

Jamieson said scientists also observed cusk-eels in a “feeding frenzy that last 22 hours” and large shrimp-like crustacean scavengers in abundance in the trench.

“It begs the question of why and how they can live so deep in this trench but not in any other,” said Niamh Kilgallen, an expert on the creatures at the New Zealand institute.

“These findings prompt a re-evaluation of the diversity and abundance of life at extreme depths," Jamieson said.

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soundoff (495 Responses)
  1. bailoutsos

    720 atmospheres of pressure. Most of us cannot get off the couch under 1 atmosphere of pressure.

    October 17, 2010 at 4:55 am | Report abuse |
  2. KSmith

    This article just goes to show how little we still know the planet.
    I was throughly amused by the comment section and various flames.
    These last few made me hungry.

    October 17, 2010 at 7:36 am | Report abuse |
  3. Fisherman

    So what does that deep sea fish and shrimp taste like with tartar and hot sauce?

    October 17, 2010 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
  4. mercy66

    Why don't we see monkeys turning into Humans now? Or seeing fish walking up on land growing legs with it's lunch attached to a cane pole?Because evolution is a "LIE" people.We are created by the Hands of GOD.Blessed Be His Name.

    October 17, 2010 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
    • joep199

      I assume that God must speak directly to you, since you seem to know exactly what he or she is thinking, what his or her motivations are, and what mechanisms he/she has used to direct the course of earthly development. I personally believe that both God and evolution are true, just that God started the whole process of evolution. Who's to say that he didn't?

      February 3, 2012 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Ryan

    It's not a thorough study if they can't tell us whether the shrimp-like creature tastes like shrimp or not. Americans are dying to know!

    October 17, 2010 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Dude

    I think this fish should be named Godfish just to confound all of the hate filled, spiteful atheists posting here!

    October 17, 2010 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • joep199

      The atheists seem to be a lot more reasonable and easy going than the creationists.

      February 3, 2012 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse |
  7. marcoskj

    Why not translate to spanish

    October 17, 2010 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • russell

      Why not shut up and learn english?

      October 17, 2010 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jersey Dave

      Sdchef, you realize there are news outlets all over the world in different languanges right?

      Unless CNN should be linking all languages to this one story and every other one they put up.

      October 17, 2010 at 11:57 pm | Report abuse |
  8. HarlanR

    Endangered Species: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JeSMPESpxdA

    October 17, 2010 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
  9. MattS

    Does it taste good?

    October 17, 2010 at 7:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • gtg

      Fried ,broiled or blackened Matt?

      October 17, 2010 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
  10. carlo

    this wonderful.
    i wish i can get to see it closer

    check this out money making blogs

    October 17, 2010 at 10:59 pm | Report abuse |
  11. sandeep

    fine. is it any dangerous?.. i think we may didn't see at so many types of fishes under the sea (or) ocean.
    so it may be one of them. don't scar about it.really so thankful god to make all these different living things in our real life.
    i still had i doubt that , "how god creating different types with COMPUTER.??
    may be he is also using it.

    November 5, 2010 at 11:15 pm | Report abuse |
  12. jade

    i think this is an amazing discovery it just goes to show that we will never in a life time know everything God has created. I hope that after i get my career started in environmental studies that i may could discover some amazing new creature myself.

    January 22, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  13. yupyup

    all these GOD people need to shut it...No one knows how anything was made... and for the people that think god did it all.. You cant believe something that you have no proof on . and just cuz someone made you believe god made everything dosnt mean its true.. i mean i can believe in anything i want.. but it dosnt mean thats what happend.. soooo uhhh son!

    September 11, 2011 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • joep199

      Just to be even handed here, you have no more proof that there is no god, than the believers do that there is one. Personally, I believe that there is a god, but, that he or she created the process of evolution, and all the other processes that run the universe, and that since then, he or she has pretty much stayed on the sidelines.

      February 3, 2012 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
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