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. ENDY

    This fish should be cook to know weather is from fish species or not

    October 16, 2010 at 3:58 am | Report abuse |
  2. Justina

    What a beautiful fish God has made! It could be used to design a spaceship, almost.

    October 16, 2010 at 4:14 am | Report abuse |
  3. temitope

    thanks for research and the powerful hand of God.......

    October 16, 2010 at 5:11 am | Report abuse |
  4. willie d

    I wonder how it tastes

    October 16, 2010 at 5:33 am | Report abuse |
  5. Top Gun

    Hootie and the "blow" fish

    October 16, 2010 at 5:47 am | Report abuse |
  6. DrMabuse

    That's a beautiful fish. (And no god had anything to do with its creation.)

    October 16, 2010 at 6:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Dave Ladd

      Amen sister! It created itself out of abyssal dust...

      October 16, 2010 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
  7. MF

    Christianity: The belief that some cosmic Jewish Zombie can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree.

    Makes perfect sense

    October 16, 2010 at 6:47 am | Report abuse |
    • JP

      Atheism- The ability to overlook, systems and designs so complex that they cannot be repeated or duplicated by ANYONE on Earth and simply mark it up to chance and a wild story of a rock hurling through space and hitting the Earth. Good Luck to you as you place your God given Faith in theories and speculations that seem to change every 10 years while ignoring the one simple truth that was placed in your heart when you were Designed by God. Stop injecting anger, start seeking real answers. test your theory by using your smarts to see if the the life of Christ was real and better yet the Promises of his death. Grace and Peace be yours!

      October 16, 2010 at 7:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Rex Chandler

      MF and JP – in my book you both make very articulate points.

      October 16, 2010 at 7:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Locomotive

      People over the age of say 20-25, that still believe that fairytale, are hopelessly lost in their belief. They rely on their "faith" and they refuse to admit to themselves that they have been lied to and that they bought that lie and invested their entire lives in it. It's too late to convince them to rethink things. They won't even try to see the truth. Deep down inside they will never let the lie go. They feel like they can't live without it. They are weak, hurtful, selfish, lazy people. Plus, some people are just plain incapable of thinking rationally. Science has proven that god was an invention of man. And I have lived the second half of my life happily knowing this.

      October 16, 2010 at 8:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Dave Ladd

      [Science has proven that god was an invention of man. And I have lived the second half of my life happily knowing this.]
      My friend, you have been lied to and have swallowed the hook, line, sinker and rod. Your malefactor smiles.

      October 16, 2010 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Reality check

      I'd say History has proven the origins & evolution of God(s) to be a fluid concept of Man's creation, ever changing to meet the needs of each society it's introduced to.

      October 16, 2010 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Amy

      Live and let live. It's when people use their religion to deny or hurt others that religion becomes problematic.

      October 16, 2010 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cleareye

      MF wins. JP loses. No contest!

      October 16, 2010 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Markimus2w1

      mmm so we evolved from monkeys...and there are still monkeys...i guess give em another million years and the other monkeys will catch up with us right? and fish stopped crawling out of the ocean to become lizards who then become monkeys, why did everyone stop?

      October 16, 2010 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Reality check

      Markimus2w1 ... I've read the Bible but it appears you've never read an evolutionary science book. Your statements about evolution couldn't have been more inaccurate. Keep your faith but don't argue your point with obvious inaccuracies, it just come across as foolish.

      October 16, 2010 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • King David

      I am TOTALLY going trick or treating this year as a Cosmic Jewish Zombie!! Thanks 4 the greatest costume idea EVER!
      Eat mushrooms and read religious books.

      October 17, 2010 at 2:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Josh

      It's interesting that Atheists have so much anger when trying to dispute the existence or relevance of God.

      October 17, 2010 at 3:15 am | Report abuse |
  8. dvis

    forget space, lets explore the oceans

    October 16, 2010 at 6:55 am | Report abuse |
    • MattyCombs


      October 16, 2010 at 7:29 am | Report abuse |
    • dytigaf

      After knowing how we left space dirty as all get out, lets keep our distance from the really deep areas of the ocean.

      October 16, 2010 at 8:59 am | Report abuse |
  9. mechanizd

    I believe that life is like a weed in the universe and exists in any enviornment that has the slimmest requirements for life (a liquid medium and a food source).
    I would deduce that life is found throught our galaxy and maybe even exist in areas that are unexpected.

    October 16, 2010 at 7:03 am | Report abuse |
  10. Freddy

    I'm sure this fish isn't the apex predator down there. hmmmmmmm?

    October 16, 2010 at 7:06 am | Report abuse |
  11. Dave J

    Anybody know where I can order some of those up? They'd make a great addition to my aquarium.(:

    October 16, 2010 at 7:13 am | Report abuse |
  12. Ryu

    I love when scientists get all excited about finding something new...and then you bet them money that what they found is no longer alive...oh, yes, yes, its dead...you find something new, you have to kill it...scientists are morbid b'stards.

    October 16, 2010 at 7:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Rex Chandler

      Narrow minded!

      October 16, 2010 at 7:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Blitzen the Demoralizer

      What, you think it would have lived forever? Or do you think it's the last remaining snailfish in the world?

      October 16, 2010 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  13. JamesB

    Wonder if they are tasty? 😛

    October 16, 2010 at 7:40 am | Report abuse |
  14. chieatfetus

    sperm w/ wings!

    October 16, 2010 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
  15. Folly

    Only a moron could figure out a way to bring politics into this story.

    October 16, 2010 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
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