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.

Post by:
Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (495 Responses)
  1. Dant

    “It begs the question of why and how they can live so deep in this trench but not in any other,”

    October 15, 2010 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Canpotex

    Lame jokes.

    October 15, 2010 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Keith

    Is this another Windows 7 problem?

    October 15, 2010 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Ivan

    Not very funny: all the comments about how to eat this species. Really, who is laughing?

    Perhaps: dolts, nerds (probably not), idiots, people lacking perspective (PLP), excapists, denial prone humans, etc.

    Our species is a baby, dinosaurs did much better, THUS the challenge is to survive our collective "intelligence"...I'd place my bet on the survival of this kind of "new" species. Simple. It's better than being a simpleton. Sorry to all the CNN readers that might not be able to translate that...

    So, Carpe Diem.

    October 15, 2010 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ivan

      Yes, I know dinosaurs were MANY species...

      October 15, 2010 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • joe

      I bet dinos tasted like chicken.

      The closest thing today is lizard... Hmm...

      October 15, 2010 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  5. آخه سی ساله که تخم اسراييل رو نتونستن بخورن. همه اش شعار مفته . فقط ملت ايران رو غارت کردن. کس اول آخر محمد و موسي.

    آخه سی ساله که تخم اسراييل رو نتونستن بخورن. همه اش شعار مفته . فقط ملت ايران رو غارت کردن.
    کس اول آخر محمد و موسي.

    October 15, 2010 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ivan

      I respect your response, but I have never had the opportunity to learn your language. Is it possible that you can translate for me, an ignorant foreigner? Thanks.

      October 15, 2010 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Awesomeness

      You must be looking for attention...

      October 15, 2010 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • netmarcos

      Something about Iran, Mohammad, and Moses? What?

      October 15, 2010 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • joe

      Translation: Hezbollah Fish will swim into the Zionist Land and explode.

      October 15, 2010 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • JNCali

      hmmmm.. I never thought of that!

      October 15, 2010 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • bailoutsos

      He did that with a goat AND a pig? Oh my.

      October 15, 2010 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • KyleR

      Oh great! Aquatic suicide bombing terrorists!

      October 17, 2010 at 3:24 am | Report abuse |
  6. cj2phresh

    that would be a good halloween fish

    October 15, 2010 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  7. bailoutsos

    Fish at 4.5 miles down? What type of bait should I use?

    October 15, 2010 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • zepsinger

      Not to mention the reel of line it would take to get down there... 🙂

      October 15, 2010 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Help here

    Hey guys, will you visit SaveStan.ORG a friend of mine with 4 young children is fighting for his life...... thanks

    October 15, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  9. missadr

    Beautiful. I often wonder why scientists will spend so much effort and money searching for extraterrestrial life when we don't even know what life exists right here. I mean really, there isn't one shred of evidence that life exists anywhere but on this planet. And what fantastic life it is! Right here! I suppose the old saying is true "the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence." Glad to see there are scientists still interested in real life instead of the sci-fi variety.

    October 15, 2010 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • hillbilleter

      Depends upon what branch of science you practice, like medicine. You wouldn't want an orthopedic specialist performing heart surgery, yet you would like astronomers to study undersea biology – not even the same thing. "To each his own," said the farmer as he kissed the cow.

      October 15, 2010 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • dudeman

      hillbill sounds like hes into beasteality

      October 15, 2010 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Harvey Wallbanger

      To understand something, it helps to have something to compare it against. If (the actual word should be when) we find extraterrestrial life, we will learn much about ourselves through the comparison. Besides that, if we find one example of life elsewhere in the solar system; it would indicate life is probably quite common throughout the universe.

      That would be one more step away from religious geocentric egotism and one more step towards a true understanding our place in the cosmos.

      October 15, 2010 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • KyleR

      "there isn't one shred of evidence that life exists anywhere but on this planet." Well, by that logic, this fish doesn't exist, since, until it was discovered, we didn't have a single shred of evidence that it does. Science is the exploration of possibility, not the exclusion of the undiscovered.

      October 16, 2010 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  10. Mike S

    Since they're highly pressurized, when you eat them will your head explode?

    October 15, 2010 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  11. MTB

    Is it eatable...yum.

    October 15, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  12. TrumanBlue

    I love reading articles like this!

    October 15, 2010 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Anna

    Another case where scientists "have to rethink" something, but whenever you try to suggest that what they say is not written in stone, you get attacked.

    October 15, 2010 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • mortalcoil

      You mean the same "scientists" that invented the steam engine, electric light, disinfectants, penicillin, television, genetics, the automobile that you drive, MRI machines, discovered that the Earth is NOT the planet that the rest of the Universe revolves around, not to mention THE INTERNET that allows you to post your drivel? You mean THOSE scientists?

      October 15, 2010 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • tim

      Yes, the same ones that originally thought the earth was flat, put the wrong head on the brontosaurus, and drilled holes in peoples heads to 'let the demons out' if they had constant headaches. They've made amazing discoveries and bonehead mistakes. Geez, get your panties out of a wad and try having a sense of humor. Its that angry close minded defensiveness which you display that was talking anna about.

      October 15, 2010 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • mortalcoil

      If it wasn't for scientists, we'd all be in the dark ages still. We would think the earth was flat, that the stars are suspended above us in crystal spheres, that men rode Dinosaurs (although there are people who truly believe that actually happened) and that lightning is the Gods being angry at us.

      October 15, 2010 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • hillbilleter

      Oh, lightening isn't the gods being angry at us, it's the Little Men having a bowling tournament. And rain falling from a sunny sky is the devil beating his wife. Look it up.

      October 15, 2010 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • dudeman

      to mortal whatever. Did you know that almost every one of those scientists were creationists, usually Christians. Just because you don't believe in God for your own dumb reasons doesnt mean Christians cant be scientists. Science doesnt mean not believing in God, it means finding ways to explain the unexplained. check yourself

      October 15, 2010 at 7:21 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Bill Rodriguez

    I have not see Rick Sanchez I was not intown , I hope he is coming back. I would like to know. Thank

    October 15, 2010 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  15. val

    .Please translate, this is not funny. LOL

    آخه سی ساله که تخم اسراييل رو نتونستن بخورن. همه اش شعار مفته . فقط ملت ايران رو غارت کردن.
    کس اول آخر محمد و موسي.

    October 15, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14