- A team of Japanese scientists filmed a snailfish at more than 26,800 feet below the surface.
- It’s the deepest a fish has ever been caught on camera.
- The snailfish is thought to be able to withstand extreme pressures at that depth that make it impossible for most vertebrates to survive.
A team of Japanese scientists set a record by catching the deepest-dwelling fish on camera 26,830 feet below the ocean surface.
The Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology filmed a snailfish in late August in the Marianas Trench, the deepest zone of the Pacific Ocean. To catch the creature on camera, the scientists placed a series of high-resolution cameras on an unmanned submersible.
Using mackerel as bait, the team caught an underwater feeding frenzy at a depth of 7,498 meters, or just under 25,000 feet, with giant amphipods – a type of deep-sea crustacean – as well as a group of snailfish swarming the mackerel.
A few hours after lowering the submersible even more, to t0 8,178 meters, or 26,830 feet, the team filmed a lonely snailfish that came to poke around the remains of the mackerel.
“We’ve set a world record for filming a fish at an accurately measured depth,” Oguri Kazumasa, a senior scientist at the agency, told the Japanese news outlet Jiji Press.
He added: “We hope we can shed more light on the deep-sea ecology and the depth limit for fish to inhabit.”
The snailfish species they filmed, identified as a Mariana snailfish, had been unknown to scientists before a team filmed one in 2014, according to National Geographic.
Snailfish occupy the deepest part of the water column, known as the hadal zone, where no light penetrates – it’s always pitch black.
The ghostly-white species is thought to have evolved to withstand extreme pressures equivalent to the weight of 1,600 elephants, National Geographic reports.
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