Meet The Deepest-Dwelling Fish Ever Caught On Camera
by Trisha Leigh
I know that most people probably view space as the final frontier, but for my money, I think there’s probably more living mysteries right here on earth.
That is, if you’re willing to look very deep in the ocean – which is just where this cool, if strange, image came from.
It was captured by a team of scientists from Australia and Japan using a camera, some bait, and a deep-sea submersible, and voila, a photo of an unknown species returned to the surface.
The fish was caught on camera in the Izu-Ogasawara trench, the deepest in the Pacific at 30,511 feet.
Previously the record of deepest-dwelling fish ever seen was held by a Mariana snailfish, recorded in 2017 at 26,830 feet deep in the Mariana trench.
The team also collected two other snailfish (Pseudoliparis belyaevi) at a slightly shallower depth – 26,318 – in the Japan trench.
Alan Jamieson, one of the involved marine biologists from the University of Western Australia, issued a statement about their finds.
“The Japanese trenches were incredible places to explore; they are so rich in life, even all the way at the bottom. We have spent over 15 years researching these deep snailfish; there is so much more to them than simply the depth, but the maximum depth they can survive is truly astonishing. In other trenches such as the Mariana trench, we were finding them at increasingly deeper depths just creeping over that 26,246 feet mark in fewer and fewer numbers, but around Japan they are really quite abundant.”
“Because there’s nothing else beyond them, the shallow end of the range overlaps with a bunch of other deep-sea fish, so putting juveniles at that end probably means they’ll get eaten. When you get down to the mega deep depths, 26,246 plus, a lot of them are very, very small.”
A decade ago, scientists like Jamieson (and Jamieson himself) didn’t believe it was biologically possible for any fish to survive deeper than the one they just found.
He still believes they might be right.
“The real take-home message for me, is not necessarily that they are living at 26,246 feet, but rather we have enough information on this environment to have predicted that these trenches would be where the deepest fish would be. In fact, until this expedition, no one had ever seen nor collected a single fish from this entire trench.”
Only time – and more fancy and expensive scientific expeditions – will tell.