A baby snailfish became the profoundest fish that has ever been filmed by geologists and was captured on camera during a mission to explore the depths of the Pacific Ocean’s northern abyss. The snailfish was discovered to be traveling at a depth of 8,336 meters (nearly 27,000 feet), close to the seafloor.
The snailfish was captured on camera by underwater robots in shallow depths off Japan in September of last year, and on Sunday, researchers from the Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology and the University of Western Australia revealed the clip.
In addition to photographing what is believed to be the world’s profoundest snailfish, the researchers also physically found 2 other species at 8,022 meters, which helped them set a new record for the profoundest capture.
Before this discovery, the deepest snailfish that had ever been sighted was at a depth of 7,703 meters in 2008, and researchers hadn’t previously been able to capture fish from a depth of 8,000 meters or below.
According to Alan Jamieson, a marine biologist, who served as the expedition’s leader and also founded the Dep Sea Research Centre of Minderoo-UWA, the finding is significant because it demonstrates the depth to which a particular species of fish may travel in the ocean.
As part of a project that will last ten years and investigate the fish populations found at the world’s deepest depths, researchers are currently filming in the tunnels off the coast of Japan. According to Jamieson, snailfish are a part of the family Liparidae. While the majority of snailfish reside in shallow seas, other snailfish have been found to thrive at a few of the deepest depths ever documented.
During the 2 months survey that was conducted the year before, three “landers,” which are automated sea robots that had high-definition cameras, were placed into 3 trenches at varied depths. These trenches were the Japan trench, the Ryukyu trench, and the Izu-Ogasawara trench.
The footage taken inside the Izu-Ogasawara trench revealed the profoundest snailfish chilling out with other crabs on the seafloor.
Jamieson determined that the fish was a youngster and explained that younger deep-sea snailfish tend to remain as deep as possible to avoid being consumed by larger predators that move at relatively shallow depths.
In yet another video taken in the same trench at depths ranging from 7,500 to 8,200 meters, a community of crustaceans and fish can be seen consuming bait that is attached to an underwater robot.
The photos of the 2 captured snailfish, which have been recognized as Pseudoliparis belyaevi, include a unique look at the distinctive characteristics that assist the deep water species in surviving in the harsh environment.
According to Jamieson, one of their advantages is that they do not possess swim bladders, which are normally found in fish and help them float. These fish also have very small eyes, and their bodies are transparent.
According to the professor, the hot southern current in the Pacific Ocean stimulates marine creatures to go to the depth, and the rich marine life there makes for an excellent food source for bottom feeders.
Jamieson added that the cost of building and operating each lander is prohibitive, despite scientists’ desire to learn more about deep-sea species.
According to him, one of the obstacles is the high cost of technology, while another is the limited financial resources of scientists.