International headlines last week boasted that the world’s deepest-ever fish had been discovered.
That’s not quite true.
The creature, which scientists have yet to identify, was filmed at a depth of 8,145 meters (26,722 feet) as it swam along the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the deepest site on earth.
The researchers who discovered the fish said in a statement that they had broken the previous depth record, set in 2008, by nearly 500 meters (1,640 feet).
While last week’s fish may be the deepest ever filmed, it’s by no means the deepest fish ever discovered.
The mystery fish was beat nearly three decades ago by the Cusk Eel, Abyssobrotula galatheae, which was discovered in the Puerto Rico trench at a depth of 8,370 meters (27,460 feet) in 1970. Since it’s the only one ever found, some researchers think it might have simply been an anomaly — a super adventurous type who ventured deeper than the rest of her family. Several other Cusk Eels at that depth have been described since then, but none have ever been verified because of difficulties determining exact depth when the fish are captured by a deep-sea fishing net.
Cusk Eels aren’t actually eels (they have ventral fins, which in true eels are typically missing or underdeveloped) but were given their name as a nod to their snake-like appearance.
Sorry mystery fish. You still look pretty cool, though. Here’s the footage released last week:
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