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. adriana.p

    omg fishdat i made that up

    October 15, 2010 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
  2. adriana.p

    omg ,fishdat i made that up.

    October 15, 2010 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Stephen Strachan

    Jack, you're great! ss

    October 15, 2010 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
  4. brigette

    lol im in 8th grade and i take an interest in this "new" species i mean really its not a new species its been here for millions of years its just evolved just lik we did. but still it is interesting that peolpe are finding "new" things n the ocean 🙂

    October 15, 2010 at 10:03 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Bryan Hupperts

    Shrimp needs to be chilled. Yummy.

    October 15, 2010 at 10:07 pm | Report abuse |
  6. jackyl

    so thats where the sperm went

    October 15, 2010 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse |
  7. donna

    How large is it?

    October 15, 2010 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Trailmix - Kids Outdoor Activities

    Amazing find. Interesting that it has eyes, although it never sees light. I hope that the light from the camera doesn't hurt it.

    October 15, 2010 at 10:56 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jason

    I'll just go over the Hudson River to Jersey and buy my weed there. Plenty of it. 😀

    October 15, 2010 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Hecanet

    @Gumby:- Do you have beef with Religious people? Well, I am not Religious, I am just a Christian who knows that God made everything and they are diverse and beautiful.

    What happens is that people who do not want to be accountable for their lives try to find a reason to believe that they came by chance. But it doesn't change anything, God made everything. Science does not disprove God or His existence as the facts tell us. People just try to no avail. God is.

    October 15, 2010 at 11:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • cherikee

      I think you mean you "believe", not "know". If you you do know, then tell us about it, you are the first human to know.....

      October 16, 2010 at 12:53 am | Report abuse |
    • KyleR

      "people who do not want to be accountable for their lives" Wasn't it the Bible that presented the concept of being born into sin? That said, maybe god did make everything, and evolution is his science experiment. Think about it. A great cosmic creator that, through trial and error, is attempting to create a perfect universe. Just a thought.

      October 16, 2010 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
  11. Bob Inalong

    I saw a great cartoon featuring God on "Larry King Live". Larry says "So which is it? Evolution or Intelligent Design?" God smiles and answers "Yes."

    October 15, 2010 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • JJinCVCA

      Bob...and how does your comment pertain to the subject of the article?

      October 16, 2010 at 2:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Artimus

      That is the dumbest cartoon I've ever heard.

      October 16, 2010 at 2:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Michelle Trout

      Wicked lookin' fish, right!

      October 16, 2010 at 4:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Aldo

      I agree with you Bob

      October 16, 2010 at 4:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Justina

      God smiles because God made them all.

      October 16, 2010 at 4:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Jo

      I'm not sure how your comment is relevant to this article, but it's a good comment. No one said Creation and Evolution had to be exclusive? What's wrong with God using evolution in the process?

      October 16, 2010 at 5:45 am | Report abuse |
    • DrMabuse

      Nice delusion, but....

      October 16, 2010 at 6:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Mac Daddy

      I wonder what it tastes like

      October 16, 2010 at 7:54 am | Report abuse |
    • autom

      which god?

      October 16, 2010 at 8:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Christopher Inalong

      Your right bro!

      October 16, 2010 at 8:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Rational Hypostasis

      Nothing comes from nothing......nothing ever will.......!

      October 16, 2010 at 8:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Lean6

      If athiests are supposed to be so confident and spiritually, I wonder why they usually come across and insecure and tormented. Can someone answer that? Go be free NOT preaching the gospel. The way that you're behaving, you're still enslaved to religion whether you realize or not.

      October 16, 2010 at 9:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Reality check

      So where did nothing come from? All the "nothing" that everything is located in. God came from?

      October 16, 2010 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Artimus

      Lean – Atheists aren't supposed to be spiritual (Duh!) and leave it to someone that is a slave to religion to claim that other people are (rolls eyes).

      October 16, 2010 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
    • david

      me like to eat it!

      October 16, 2010 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
    • coach john

      thats the best answer i heard yet

      October 16, 2010 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
    • ben

      wow Bob, that sound like a really dumb cartoon. Firstly, God never seems to actually talk to anyone, and are you implying he would go on Larry King Live? I don't follow the logic here. Furthermore, I love how the religious now claim that "god works through evolution" now that everyone knows evolution to be an undisputed fact. A bit hypocritical dont you think, when just a few years ago all of your kind were screaming "I AM NOT A MONKEY!!" and the like. It's very telling that you bandwagon riders are all jumping onto evolution now.

      October 16, 2010 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
    • FEL121

      Why is it every time a new scientific event happens some religious freak shows up and tries to accommodate their childish fantasies with the real world?
      Remember when the Earth was flat in the eyes of God, remember when fire was magic in the eyes of God, remember when the Sun revolved around the Earth in the eyes of God.

      Give it up; your religion is a man made thing like Star Wars and Jurassic Park.

      October 16, 2010 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
    • gay bob


      October 16, 2010 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Cleareye

      Why would anyone ask a god a question they could not answer?

      October 16, 2010 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • CLTStraightGuy

      Atheists believe there is no God, but they still try to be good...Therefore, they are indeed, Good for nothing.

      October 16, 2010 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • tooincredible

      I wonder how many creatures were crushed before 'nature' got it right?

      October 16, 2010 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • onism

      Thankfully they weren't looking for this fish in the Gulf of Mexico!!!

      October 16, 2010 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • gge

      @CLTStraightGuy – I'd rather do good for nothing then to good for rewards/punishment by a diety

      October 16, 2010 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Markimus2w1

      Since when has Evolution been proven an undisputed fact? Ben you are proof that if evolution is true it goes backwards as well.

      October 16, 2010 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Coordinates

      FEL121- . As long as you choose the proper coordinate system, it's trivial to show the Sun revolving around Earth. Everything is relative in space. Earth only revolves around the Sun from the perspective of someone standing on Earth. And if you really want to get technical about it, The Sun and its planets are all revolving around the center of mass of the system. But even that is based on which coordinate system one chooses, and ignores everything else in the Universe. So if you're going to lecture, get it right.

      October 16, 2010 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Reality check

      Coordinates ... the Earth in fact revolves around our Sun regardless of a viewers relative location, it's a gravitational fact. The earth also revolves around the center of the Milkyway "while" it orbits our sun. Fel121 has it correct and the rest of what you explained here is something most middle schoolers already know & is not anything new.

      October 16, 2010 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stupid Comments

      I fail to see how your comment is relevant to the article. Quite being a moron.

      October 17, 2010 at 1:47 am | Report abuse |
    • bailoutsos

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

      October 17, 2010 at 4:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Adam and Eve

      "Stupid Comments" – Your comment fits your name. Moron comes from the Greek word moros. Jesus used the word "moros" meaning "foolish" to describe an unbeliever "who builds his house on the sand." Also, Paul describes those like you who "claim they are wise men, the more foolish they became". Thus the word "moron" is translated from Greek as foolish UNBELIEVER. Who's the moron now?

      October 17, 2010 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  12. jcr

    fishy needs a tan...

    October 15, 2010 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • britinfl

      He can't afford it now the taxes have gone up as the first step of obamacare

      October 16, 2010 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Joey

    What do you think? Maybe nightcrawlers...or how about mealworms? Probably wouldn't take a cricket.

    October 15, 2010 at 11:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lefty Kreh

      Muddler minnow. I always do well with a Muddler.

      October 15, 2010 at 11:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • servadac

      @Joey ultralol

      i*t would go nuts for a carolina rig

      October 16, 2010 at 12:55 am | Report abuse |
    • angela

      chicken livers. I always get something with chicken livers lol I got an enormous catfish once with a chiken liver and worm on the same hook. But seriously, there's something about the way everything likes chicken. It'd be a good try

      October 16, 2010 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  14. TOM


    October 15, 2010 at 11:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dr. Retardo

      How would Jimmy Hoffa breathe at that depth?

      October 16, 2010 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • doofus

      he wouldn't. that's kinda the point.

      October 16, 2010 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Dina K.

    Obviously they developed after G.W. Bush left office, because according to the Sierra Club, he poisoned the waters.

    October 16, 2010 at 12:59 am | Report abuse |
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