Three New Fish Species Discovered in Extreme Ocean Depths

Embargoed until 00.00 BST/19.00 ET One of the three newly discovered species known as the Atacama snailfish currently sorted into three categories blue purple and pink. 10 September 2018. See story NNFISH. Three bizarre fish that live nearly five mil

One of the three newly discovered species known as the Atacama snailfish, now sorted into three categories: blue, purple, and pink.

An image of the new species of Atacama snailfish.

These creatures live at such "extreme depths" that they rival the world's deepest-living fish - the Mariana snailfish (pseudoliparis swirei), discovered previous year inside the Mariana Trench in the western Pacific Ocean. Instead of menacing jaws and a hefty frame, the three types of fish found are small, translucent and have no scales to speak of.

"Thanks to adaptation to life in deep water, sea slugs no competitors and predators that could catch them - said Dr. Thomas Lynley (Dr. Thomas Linley) from Newcastle University".

Creatures live at a depth of eight kilometers.

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Despite their unthreatening name and slimy physique, Linley said the snailfish are the "top predator" at that depth and the specimens caught on camera looked "very well-fed". The researchers also managed to capture one of the snailfish with a trap, which was then transported to the surface. "Their gelatinous structure means they are perfectly adapted to living at extreme pressure and in fact the hardest structures in their bodies are the bones in their inner ear which give them balance and their teeth", said Linley about the snailfish.

The lander is basically an innovative trap equipped with lure, screens and submerged cameras - would take four hours to fall the distance to the base of the sea, nearly five miles somewhere down in a few regions of the Atacama Trench, off the shoreline of Peru and Chile. This specimen followed prey into one of the traps researchers set.

Newcastle scientists and engineers worked for five years developing technology for the exploration of ultra-deep environments, like the Atacama Trench, which runs almost 3,700 miles along the west coast of South America. These creatures can grow to the size of an adult hand. Fitted with HD cameras, the landers are dropped from a boat and free-fall for four hours until they hit the bottom. So far, they have recorded over 100 hours of video and taken 11,468 photographs, but given the vastness of the Pacific and the other oceans on Earth, they're still just scratching the surface. To crawl across the sea floor, long-legged isopods start off by swimming backwards and upside-down. These crustaceans have small bodies, extraordinarily long legs and swim back and down, propelling themselves with paddles on their ventral side - their "belly" - before straightening on the seabed and unfurling their long legs to walk like a spider.

The research will be discussed at the 2018 Challenger Conference which kicks off at the university this week.

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