The ocean’s deepest fish doesn’t look like it could survive in harsh conditions thousands of feet below the surface. Instead of giant teeth and a menacing frame, the fishes that roam the deepest parts of the ocean are small, translucent, bereft of scales—highly adept at living where few other organisms can.
Meet the deepest fish in the ocean, a new species named the Mariana snailfish by an international team of researchers, including scientists from the SOEST who discovered it. The Mariana snailfish (Pseudoliparis swirei) thrives at depths of up to about 8,000 meters (26,200 feet) along the Mariana Trench near Guam. The team published a paper describing the new species in the journal Zootaxa. The authors include SOEST oceanography faculty Jeffrey Drazen and Erica Goetze.
“This is the deepest fish that’s been collected from the ocean floor, and we’re very excited to have an official name,” said lead author Mackenzie Gerringer, a graduate student at SOEST at the time of this work and current postdoctoral researcher at the University of Washington’s Friday Harbor Laboratories. She is currently a postdoctoral researcher at Friday Harbor Labs, University of Washington in the Summers Lab. “They don’t look very robust or strong for living in such an extreme environment, but they are extremely successful.”