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techkenyot.com June 27, 2019


Snailfish: New species of ghost-like ocean predator found in Pacific

14 September 2018, 10:57 | Edward Lowe

Atacama snailfish. Credit Newcastle University

Atacama snailfish. Credit Newcastle University

A massive worldwide team consisting of 40 scientists launched an expedition to one of the deepest places on Earth.

One of three new species of snailfish recently discovered in the Atacama Trench.

Provisional data indicate that there are three new species related to the family of the snailfish of the Marianas (or slugs of the Liparidaefamily ), whose first specimens were discovered in the Mariana Trench.

"These fish are part of the Liparidae family and do not conform to the preconceived stereotypical image of what a deep-sea fish should look like", England's Newcastle University, which joined the expedition, wrote in a news statement Monday. Instead of enormous teeth and imperiled frame, the fish that maneuver in the deepest path of the ocean are small, translucent, stripped of scales and are highly proficient of residing where other sea animals can not.

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'There is something about the snailfish that allows them to adapt to living very deep, ' says Dr Thomas Linley of Newcastle University.

Snailfish live nearly 8,000 meters deep and their bodies are so fragile that they melt when they are caught. "They seem to be quite active and look very well-fed".

Researchers also filmed "astonishingly rare" footage of long-legged crustaceans known as Munnopsids-about the size of an adult hand.

Part of the Liparidae family, these snailfish look distinct from other deep sea creatures, albeit they're no less odd.

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Dr. Thomas Linley and Dr. Alan Jamieson from Newcastle University, the United Kingdom along with other 40 scientists of 17 different nationalities formed a strong team aiming to hold expeditions to the Atacama Trench, one of the deepest places on earth with interesting forms of life.

The fish are said to have a gelatinous structure that is perfectly adapted to the extreme pressure at the bottom of the trench.

It is said that it is almost five miles deep in some of the areas of the Atacama Trench which is present off the coast of the Peru and Chile.

"Without the extreme pressure and cold to support their bodies they are extremely fragile and melt rapidly when brought to the surface", Dr. Linley explained. That specimen was preserved, is in "very good" condition and is being studied by a team that includes researchers from the Natural History Museum in London. Apart from snailfish, they also found various weird creatures in the environment such as long-legged isopods or Munnopsids. Fitted with HD cameras, the landers are dropped from a boat and free-fall for four hours until they hit the bottom. In Atabasca chute scientists have received more than 100 hours of video and 11 468 photos. The snailfish discovery will be featured at the Challenger Conference 2018 at Newcastle University.

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