Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The world's deepest-dwelling fish five miles under the ocean's surface

British scientists have filmed a species of fish said to be the deepest-dwelling ocean animal ever captured on camera.

A team from Aberdeen University collaborated with their Tokyo counterparts to film the ghostly white Hadal snail fish off Japan’s east coast at a depth of 7,700m.

The fish live in total darkness at a depth where the pressure is equivalent to 1,600 elephants standing on the roof of a Mini.
fishThe scientists created superstrong submersible camera platforms - costing £100,000 each - inspired by lunar landers.

Professor Monty Priede, director of Aberdeen University’s Oceanlab project, said: ‘The images show groups that are sociable and active - possibly even families.

‘All we’ve seen before of life at this depth have been shrivelled specimens in museums. Now we have an impression of how they move and what they do.’

The hadal snailfish seen by the researchers are found below 3.7 miles, where they exist in total darkness, near- freezing temperatures and immense water pressure.

They feed on the thousands of tiny shrimp-like creatures that scavenge the carcasses of dead fish and detritus reaching the ocean floor.

The two-week research expedition, which ended on Monday, was part of an Oceanlab investigation looking at ocean life at the bottom of the sea.


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