World’s deepest fish named to 10 ‘remarkable new species’ list for 2017

UW News » Science

Environment  |  Research  |  Science  |  UW Today blog

April 25, 2018

A CT scan of the Mariana snailfish, showing a side view. The green shape, a small crustacean, is seen in the snailfish’s stomach.Adam Summers/University of Washington

The deepest-dwelling fish in the sea just got one more bragging right.
The World Register of Marine Species, or WoRMS, has named the Mariana snailfish one of its 10 “remarkable new species” discovered in 2017. The team that discovered and named the small fish that lives at ocean depths of up to 8,000 meters (26,200 feet) includes Mackenzie Gerringer, a postdoctoral researcher at the UW’s Friday Harbor Laboratories.
The world register announces top marine species lists each year, chosen by a committee of researchers and nominated by marine experts around the world involved with maintaining the register. The Mariana snailfish joins the likes of the Harry Potter “hero” crab, the Californian box jelly and Bob Marley’s intertidal spider in making the 2017 list.
“It is exciting to see the Mariana snailfish on the WoRMS list,” Gerringer said. “It is a remarkable animal, thriving under the amazing pressures and cold temperatures of the Mariana Trench. The impressive diversity of this list serves as a reminder to keep exploring, discovering the incredible organisms with whom we share our planet.”

A specimen of the new species, Mariana snailfish.Mackenzie Gerringer/University of Washington, University of Hawai’i

The Mariana snailfish (Pseudoliparis swirei) doesn’t have the body armor one might imagine to live on the ocean’s floor. The small, translucent, scale-less fishes congregate in groups and feed on tiny crustaceans and shrimp using suction from their mouths to gulp prey. The pressure at the ocean depth they call home is similar to an elephant standing on your thumb.
The snailfish species, discovered by an international team along the Mariana Trench near Guam, is one of about 2,000 new marine species added …

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