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. Marv

    Darwin rules. God only required to sooth simple minds.

    October 16, 2010 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
  2. Dan

    WOW-ive not posted here before, but you folks manage to politicize everything! We make a new discovery, and it turns into this-man, no wonder America is doomed.

    Aside from that, I was thinking more of the fish served in a lemon dill sauce, with the shrimp things served in garlic butter.

    October 16, 2010 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  3. Kendrick Adams

    Theistic evolution is not a modern idea. Augustine (d 430) taught it. If you really ever read the Bible, instead of parroting what others said, you would never say that God thinks the earth is flat, fire is magic, or that the sun revolves around the earth. Your ignorance is out there for everyone to see. If you want to be an atheist, you have a right to go to hell. But don’t make uneducated and thoughtless comments trying to take others with you.

    October 16, 2010 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
    • CP

      So your interpretation of the Bible is the correct one?

      October 16, 2010 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      Since we atheist don't believe in hell either, I'm confused on where you would like us to go.

      October 16, 2010 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • gge

      why is it that religious people, claiming to be all good and dandy are the ones that wishes the worst for non-believers? seriously......

      October 16, 2010 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kendrick Adams

      I don't want you to go to hell. God wants you in heaven so bad that He became a man and died a cruel death to forgive your sins.You make the choice to go to hell when you refuse to accept Jesus' offer of heaven. There are only two options: Heaven or hell. We don't make the truth. Truth is. Believe it or refuse it. But we must all accept the consequences of our decisions.

      October 16, 2010 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • His Shadow

      Please. The Bible can't even get pi right. There is no fundamental tenet of physics that the Bible either doesn't get wrong or simply ignores. Here is another clue: the Christian Hell does not exist, just like gods don't exist.

      October 16, 2010 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kendrick Adams

      Name one.

      October 16, 2010 at 10:39 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Kayo

    Sperm fish? It looks like a sperm haha

    October 16, 2010 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  5. ONTIME

    Two problems here, one is I don't have a fishing reel that holds that much line and I wonder what kind of bait to use..... well how else are you going to find out if they are good to eat?

    October 16, 2010 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  6. coach john

    isnt it funny how even prehistoric man had a beleived that there was an after life alittle after we came down from the trees, still we had that thought there must besomething else, not saying the Christians are Correct, or the Torah was written by G-D, or the stories were a literal translation, but wonder why they thought so. Anything that lasts so long has to have some valididy...

    October 16, 2010 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Reality check

      True, there must be some validity to why this occurs. I believe it's more likely that it is a side affect of our brain's early stage capacity for abstract thought. Our abstract thinking brain fills in the unanswerable questions with an anthropomorphized being(s) with all the answers.

      October 16, 2010 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Rocky

    Atheists are folk who believe nothing created everything. Too bad they can't see the design in everything all around them. How unbelieveable to be so blind!!!!

    October 16, 2010 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Reality check

      Atheists are folks that simply do not believe in a God(s), that's all. The definition of Atheist is "not" that they believe everything came from nothing. If you want to make a point you at least need to know something about what you're saying.

      October 16, 2010 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  8. JenHen

    I'm in the midst of writing a book, which for me is a true revelation.... so here is a thought, take the first chapter of Genesis, and break it down, word by word, into definitions..... might just change everything you "thought" you knew.... and yes also to Bob 🙂

    October 16, 2010 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Cleareye

    This was a story about a fish. Where did god come from?

    October 16, 2010 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  10. angela

    Ok, I really don't get how a fish article prompts a God dispute. Like every other blog people give thier viepoints on religion. Can we think of something elso to argue about on this artice? Like how we know more about outerspace than we do our own oceans? Or how maybe the loch ness monster might really exist? We really don't know much about our own oceans. Who knows what might be down there. Oh no Godzilla...

    October 16, 2010 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • fugnuggit

      well, since God is in all that's good, it's a natural progression to speak of Him concerning those subjects. What I don't get is how a fish causes an athiest to beg the question as to why God is spoken about by those who believe in God. After all, at the very least an atheist' god is himself/herself.

      October 16, 2010 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mike Townsend

    This is proof that no matter what man wreaks, havocs, or destroys, life will indeed go on. Intelligent design by God at its paramount.

    October 16, 2010 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Agent Max

    I'm already on Kevin Costner to play the "Ghost Fish."

    October 16, 2010 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  13. KCEddie

    Is it better grilled or fried ?

    October 16, 2010 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  14. fugnuggit

    I asked God why those athiest hate him so much? He said...that's not hate...they just have gas.

    October 16, 2010 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • His Shadow

      You cannot hate something that is not real. Anyone capable of reasoning their way out of a wet paper bag inevitably realizes that religion stems from ignorance. Keep trying to shove gods in every gap in human knowledge, because as those gaps are closed one by one, gods will have no reason to exist.

      October 16, 2010 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  15. robby

    you could probably cook that thing with the light they used to take that picture in under a minute

    October 16, 2010 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
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