A snailfish has been filmed swimming at a depth of 8,336 meters, where the pressure is more than 800 times greater than at sea level.
The fish, an unknown species of the snailfish genus, was caught in the Izu-Ogasawara trench, southeast of Japan. The previous record was held by a Mariana snailfish in the Marian Trench, the deepest location on Earth, at a depth of 8,178 meters.
The images were created by a team from the Minderoo-University of Western Australia Deep Sea Research Center and the Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technologywho put an unmanned submarine known as a lander into the trench last year.
During the same expedition, two other snailfish, both Pseudoliparis belyaevi, were filmed at an altitude of 8022 meters. The record-breaking fish was a juvenile, usually swimming in the deepest part of their range to find protection from predators.
Speaking to the BBC, lead scientist Professor Alan Jamieson said the team predicted that fish could be found deep in the trough due to the slightly warmer water compared to the Mariana Trough.
“We predicted the deepest fish would be there and we predicted it would be a snail fish,” he said.
Deep sea species of snailfish are incredibly well adapted to the immense pressures of living miles below the waves, evolving with soft bones, exchanging scales for loose gelatinous skin – hence the name – and the lack of the swim bladder present in many fish used for buoyancy.
The record-breaker was not captured, so its species cannot be identified. However, there are more than 300 species of snailfish in the world’s oceans. In addition to the extremes of the deep sea, they have also been found in both the Arctic and Antarctica.
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