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. 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 |
  2. val

    Please translate, this in 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 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Tanja

    Now, we will find the way to make them extinct too.

    October 15, 2010 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Chris

    I caught one of those the otherday in the Rio Grande River! It glowed in the dark too!

    October 15, 2010 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  5. gopal

    nope.. this is all lies. Satan is planting all these fake species to strengthen science against gods word so that he can rule the world. God never made this specie.

    October 15, 2010 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • tim

      You're either really funny or completely unhinged...

      October 15, 2010 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Harvey Wallbanger

      Tim, I found out long ago that it is useless to reason with those blinded by the book. I normally don't even bother as it is a total waste of time.

      October 15, 2010 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • KyleR

      A fake species planted by Satan? Are you attributing to Satan the same life giving powers of God? If you believe in the Bible (I don't, but your comment was too ridiculous not to reply), then don't you believe that God created all things? Your statement proves that either you are a hypocrite, or a fool.

      October 16, 2010 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Stupid Comments

      Gopal... seriously? Are you that naieve or is just that your IQ is below 70?

      October 17, 2010 at 1:51 am | Report abuse |
  6. cait

    If they tried to capture one (I hope not!) wouldn't it blow up or something? I don't think it would live through the ascent...

    October 15, 2010 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Harvey Wallbanger

      I know they bring live specimens up from the ocean floor. The only way I can think how this might be done is in a chamber where the pressure could be slowly decreased. I suspect if they brought it up too quickly, the thing would either explode or turn itself inside out.

      October 15, 2010 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Fred

    And because there is never any light at these depths, all the creatures in these photos are now dead....killed by the "intense" and sudden impact of light from the camera flash.

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

      A lot of the animals down there are bioluminescent and this fish has eyes. The light might not have killed it, but I would be willing to bet it is now blind. It would be like us staring into a welding arc or burning magnesium.

      October 15, 2010 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Bob

    That thing is so white they should call it the Justin Bieber fish.

    October 15, 2010 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Bob

    Uh Duh do you real think that something that with stand 10,000lbs per square inch would be tender and not tough please probably tastes like rubber..

    October 15, 2010 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • joe

      Maybe we'd need to boil it first.

      No worries – I'm sure there's a way to cook it.

      October 15, 2010 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Harvey Wallbanger

      The pressure inside the fish would balance the pressure on the outside. We are the same way, atmospheric pressure on our bodies is about one ton per square foot. We don't feel it because the pressure inside us pushing out with the same intensity and the forces balance.

      This means the fish could be quite tender and tasty. However, I will let you try it first. After all, puffer fish are quite toxic and someone had to the the first to find out the hard way.

      October 15, 2010 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  10. andy

    Man, I've had this fish in my fish tank for couple of years already...

    October 15, 2010 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ms

    My first thought was if its a bi-product of BP releases until two months ago. But when I read it is somewhere near Peru-Chilean border, I thought if it could be a shrunken Chilean miner at high-pressures beneath earth.

    October 15, 2010 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  12. sadfish

    what a pretty, gracious fish with wings! 🙂

    October 15, 2010 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Kendall

    Living under 10,000 lbs per sq inch, incredible

    October 15, 2010 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  14. nyclposter

    I thought Gore said the world was going to be destroyed if we dont all pay more taxes?? How can new species be found?? I dont get it, did they lie to us??? Hmm....perhaps if Al didnt use more energy than a small city, we might buy his story. What a bunch of hypocrites

    October 15, 2010 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • mortalcoil

      Ummmmm... Maybe it's because over 98% of the Ocean is unexplored, or is that too difficult for you to grasp? The more we explore, the more previously unknown species will be discovered. In the meantime, we are wiping out mammals at an alarming rate... Tigers are down to about 3000 in the wild and there are only 400 Scottish Wildcats left in the wild... I suppose you think they are vanishing into thin air of their own accord....

      October 15, 2010 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • tim

      Exactly! How many more times must we witness CO2 raping Scottish Wildcats before we wise up and follow Gore!

      October 15, 2010 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • mortalcoil

      Tim... Man is responsible for the destruction of the habitat that these animals live in.. The industrialization of the wild places in the World directly leads to the death and extinction of various species. CO2 and other emissions are just a small part of the overall problem, but they ARE a part of the problem. Look at it this way.. At one time, people refused to believe that smoking was bad for us..... look upon the Earth's atmosphere as it's lungs and look upon the various Man made emissions as smoke.. Simple enough for you?

      October 15, 2010 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • tim

      Nice metaphor but CO2 isn't smoke and the earth doesn't have lungs. CO2 is natural, like humans. We aren't imposing on the earth, we are part of it. And the Evil Industry you speak of is providing the computer you are using, the power its running on, and the free time you have to write all this instead of spending all day gathering nuts and berries like they do in un-industrialized countries. Stop hating or lead by example and go live in a mud hut.

      October 15, 2010 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Al Gore

      Tim is right. I lied.

      Now, OFF TO MAN-BEAR-PIG!!!

      October 15, 2010 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • mortalcoil

      And you know this to be fact because you are a climate scientist, an expert on climate change or an atmospheric researcher? Or is it in fact your own particularly dense and uniformed opinion? I thought so......

      October 15, 2010 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • mortalcoil

      Or, are you stating as FACT that it is outside our power as thinking, smart Human Beings to produce power AND clean up our act? Can we not invent newer cleaner technology to power our Cars, cities and homes or are forever stuck with technology as it is today?

      If you ARE stating it as fact that we cannot produce clean energy ever, then you should probably send out a bulletin to the World's brightest minds that they should just give up now, because you have spoken the final word on the subject.

      October 15, 2010 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • mortalcoil

      The scientific community consists of the total body of scientists, its relationships and interactions.

      The majority of climate scientists agree that global warming is primarily caused by human activities such as fossil fuel burning and deforestation.[2][3][4][5] The conclusion that global warming is mainly caused by human activity and will continue if greenhouse gas emissions are not reduced has been endorsed by more than 75 scientific societies and academies of science, including all of the national academies of science of the major industrialized countries. The U.S. National Academy of Sciences,[13] the American Association for the Advancement of Science,[14] the American Meteorological Society,[15] the International Union for Quaternary Research,[16] and the Joint Science Academies of the major industrialized and developing nations[17][18] explicitly use the word "consensus" when referring to this conclusion.

      Oh and also...

      Several scientific organizations have issued position statements in which they explicitly used the term "consensus":

      * American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2006: "The conclusions in this statement reflect the scientific consensus represented by, for example, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and the Joint National Academies' statement."[34]
      * US National Academy of Science: "In the judgment of most climate scientists, Earth’s warming in recent decades has been caused primarily by human activities that have increased the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. ... On climate change, [the National Academies’ reports] have assessed consensus findings on the science..."[35]
      * Joint Science Academies' statement, 2005: "We recognise the international scientific consensus of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)."[36]
      * Joint Science Academies' statement, 2001: "The work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) represents the consensus of the international scientific community on climate change science. We recognise IPCC as the world’s most reliable source of information on climate change and its causes, and we endorse its method of achieving this consensus."[37]
      * American Meteorological Society, 2003: "The nature of science is such that there is rarely total agreement among scientists. Individual scientific statements and papers—the validity of some of which has yet to be assessed adequately—can be exploited in the policy debate and can leave the impression that the scientific community is sharply divided on issues where there is, in reality, a strong scientific consensus.... IPCC assessment reports are prepared at approximately five-year intervals by a large international group of experts who represent the broad range of expertise and perspectives relevant to the issues. The reports strive to reflect a consensus evaluation of the results of the full body of peer-reviewed research.... They provide an analysis of what is known and not known, the degree of consensus, and some indication of the degree of confidence that can be placed on the various statements and conclusions."[15]
      * Network of African Science Academies: “A consensus, based on current evidence, now exists within the global scientific community that human activities are the main source of climate change and that the burning of fossil fuels is largely responsible for driving this change.”[38]

      * International Union for Quaternary Research, 2008: "INQUA recognizes the international scientific consensus of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)."[16]
      * Australian Coral Reef Society, 2006: "There is almost total consensus among experts that the earth’s climate is changing as a result of the build-up of greenhouse gases.... There is broad scientific consensus that coral reefs are heavily affected by the activities of man.

      Your utterly uneducated and unfounded OPINION, vs the smartest people on the Planet, with specific knowledge, research and first hand information on the subject.

      Bye, bye now....

      October 15, 2010 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • cherikee

      Who says extinction is a bad thing? There were probably trillions or more species that went extinct before man got here. It's normal. We could possibly be "improving" the earth with our "pollution". What is "improving" though? There is no "value" in the universe, not that we are truly aware of.......it's all man's concept.

      October 16, 2010 at 12:43 am | Report abuse |
  15. Alonso Quijano

    Ten thousand punds per aquare inch, four and a half miles,,,, how do you expect the world to understand that ?. Try the international system of measurements

    October 15, 2010 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
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