Snailfish sink to new lows to extend record as world's deepest fish (2023)

Scientists who recently explored some of the world's deepest trenches in the North Pacific have redefined the known limits in which fish can survive.

On August 15, 2022, a young manpseudoliparisSnailfish (species TBD) were captured on film by examining a bait camera 8,336 m (27,349 ft) below the surface in the Izu-Ogasawara Trench, Japan. Claim the undisputed world recorddeeper pitch.

The unprecedented depth, more than twice the vertical extent of Mount Fuji, is close to what is considered the biological lower limit for fish.

Snailfish sink to new lows to extend record as world's deepest fish (1)Snailfish sink to new lows to extend record as world's deepest fish (2)

A few days later, during the same expedition, twoP. beliaeviThe snail was successfully retrieved from a depth of 8,022 m (26,319 ft) in the nearby Japan Trench. A turning point, this is the first time the fish has been caught below 8,000 m (26,247 ft).

Snailfish sink to new lows to extend record as world's deepest fish (3)

The snailfish was documented by marine biologists from the University of Western Australia (UWA) and Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology (TUMSAT) during a two-month survey on the research vessel DSSV.pressure fall(since renamedDagon). The expedition was supported by Caladan Oceanic and Inkfish, as well as filmmakers from Japanese broadcaster NHK.

Snailfish sink to new lows to extend record as world's deepest fish (4)

The lead scientist who conducted this field study was Professor Alan Jamieson of the UWA, founding director of theMinderoo-UWA Deep Sea Research Center. Professor Jamieson, as a GWR consultant on marine life in the high seas, is arguably the world's leading authority on hadal organisms - i.e. those that live below 6,000 m (19,685 ft) - and has made numerous unprecedented discoveries over the course of your career.

(Video) The Most Terrible Deep Sea Creatures You've Never Seen Before

Snailfish sink to new lows to extend record as world's deepest fish (5)

This includes thedeepest squid(6,212 m; 20,381 feet), matrixdeeper octopus(6,957 m; 22,825 feet), matrixten feet deeper(7,703 m; 25,272 ft) and thedeeper hydrozoans(10,063 m; 33,015 ft), just to name a few.

Snailfish sink to new lows to extend record as world's deepest fish (6)Snailfish sink to new lows to extend record as world's deepest fish (7)

Given your unfathomable experience in the field, were you surprised to find a snail so deep when he himself claims that the absolute maximum for fish is not far beyond that point? "The 8,200 m [26,903 ft] limit came with the caveat that it is in the 8,200 to 8,400 m [26,903 to 27,559 ft] region because temperature likely plays a role here," Professor Jamieson told GWR.

"Temperature and pressure have similar disruptive effects on cells, so warmer waters should allow the fish to go deeper." He continued: "Two years ago we published a paper on all ultra-deep water fish and concluded that the deepest fish are probably in Japan, as the trenches are deep enough and slightly warmer than the previous record in the Trench Marianas, and that's it, there it was!

“The 8,200-8,400 m limit is pretty solid. Fish use an osmolyte in their cells that equalizes the pressure and essentially prevents the cells from imploding at depth! It's called trimethylamine-n-oxide (TMAO for short). TMAO concentrations increase in cells with depth and area where i-isosmosis is achieved. h the saturation point when they can't get in anymore - it's around 8200-8400 m" -Professor Alan Jamieson

As Professor Jamieson alludes, this is not the first time that snailfish have made headlines for plunging to record levels in the ocean.

(Video) Scientists Terrifying New Underwater Discovery That Changes Everything!

Previously, the deepest known fish was a Mariana snail (S. sweirei) observed on May 18, 2017 at 8,178 m (26,831 ft) in the Mariana Trench in the western Pacific. this wasreportedby the Japan Agency for Marine and Land Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) and NHK in August 2017.

This sighting followed another, still identifiedsnail fishSpecies at 8145 m (26,716 ft), initially named "ethereal snailfish", also in the Mariana Trench, filmed by Professor Jamieson in 2014.

Located about 200 miles southwest of Guam, the Mariana Trench is home to the oceansdeepest point: Up to 10,935 m (35,872 ft) of Challenger's depth.

The question arises whether there is another snailfish, or even another species of fish, that can be found even deeper. Or the 9,780 m (32,087 ft) Izu-Ogasawara Trench, the Mariana Trench, or an entirely different trench?

Snailfish sink to new lows to extend record as world's deepest fish (8)

Professor Jamieson believes we are close to reaching a baseline. “Since we started finding these snails between 2007 and 2010 and TMAO (2014) was hypothesized, we've made exponentially more visits to the baited camera.

“So far, we've conducted 500 deep-water camera missions around the world, and our understanding of where these fish are found has greatly improved.

"Almost every film below 8,336 m has fish, and after that they just disappear. We've refined this threshold so that if a fish is found deeper, it's probably not more than a few dozen meters away." then fall within the depth sensor error bars. I think this may be the last significant increase in its maximum depth."

"[After the snailfish] grenadiers (Macrouridae) and sandeels (Ophididae) are the second deepest fish that inhabit most of planet Earth, but despite such an enormous horizontal distribution, they fall to practically a depth of about 7,200 m (23,622 ft) and generally shallow. After that, everything seems to be a slug fish" -Professor Alan Jamieson

Certain snailfish have managed to penetrate beyond the depth barrier of all their other relatives, thanks to a series of specialized adaptations that allow them to withstand extreme conditions. These evolutionary features include a largely cartilaginous skeleton and also holes in their skulls to allow for immense pressures, which beyond 8,000 m can exceed more than 800 times the surface.

(Video) Watch These Cunning Snails Stab and Swallow Fish Whole | Deep Look

Snailfish sink to new lows to extend record as world's deepest fish (9)Snailfish sink to new lows to extend record as world's deepest fish (10)

However, these characteristics are not shared by the whole family, as Professor Jamieson explains: “There are 300 species of snail and most of them are shallow, even in estuaries. They penetrated the depths during their radiant evolution, and now we have a variety of ultra-deep snailfish that live 1,000 m [3,280 ft] deeper than any typical "deep sea" fish.

"Perhaps it's their lack of swim bladders, their gelatinous bodies and their efficiency at consuming small crustaceans found in burrows that made them so successful."

While the 8,336 m snailfish has garnered much of the media attention in terms of essentially being the deepest fish in recorded history, Professor Jamieson wants to highlight the importance of the twoP. beliaeviSpecimens collected five days later, slightly higher at 8022 m in the Japan Trench.

Snailfish sink to new lows to extend record as world's deepest fish (11)Snailfish sink to new lows to extend record as world's deepest fish (12)

So how do you fish at depths around 90% the height of Mount Everest? "We used standard fish traps from the local store, threw in some bait and tied it to a $200,000 depth camera," said Professor Jamieson. "A good mix of high tech and low tech!"

He continued: "We're filming significantly more snailfish than we're catching and I'm happy with that. I don't really want to catch them; I'd rather learn a lot from them than put them on video.

"But to find out what it is, how they are genetically related to other populations, how they survive, what they eat and things like TMAO-related cutting, we need to bring back what we call 'test specimens'." Usually one or two fish are enough for this type of work.”

As you can imagine, given its pitch-black habitat several kilometers below the waves, which until relatively recently was inaccessible to humans, the record goes to thedeeper pitchhas a complex and sometimes controversial history. Some past competitors have been called into question as more light is shed on the underworld, thanks to technological advancements and dedicated research by explorers and scientists like Professor Jamieson.

One of them was the so-called "Trieste flounder". It was reported by the Swiss oceanographer Jacques Piccard at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, who together with the pilot Don Walsh (USA) carried out thisfirst manned dive to Challenger DeepmilitarySadBathyscaphe on January 23, 1960.

This account (never scientifically published) of a "flatfish" was widely disputed at the time as a misidentification, and it is now widely believed that the creature Piccard observed was most likely a holothurium (sea cucumber).

(Video) Mariana Trench | In Pursuit of the Abyss

Another recent competitor proved to be more controversial. In the scientific literature it has long been assumed that the deepest fish was a lumbaal of the speciesAbyssobrotula galatheae. The RV reportedly collected a specimen at 8,370 m (27,460 ft) in the Puerto Rico Trench, the deepest point in the Atlantic Ocean.John Elliot Pillsbury1970. Of course, that's even deeper than the newly documented snailfish at 8,336m.

Snailfish sink to new lows to extend record as world's deepest fish (13)

However, the main point of contention here is that the sandeel was towed and therefore was not observed or filmed on site at this depth. Therefore, it is very likely that it was caught when the net was being lowered or raised somewhere between the seafloor and the surface.

Supporting this explanation is the fact that there have been no other sightings of these eels at such extreme depths for over 50 years. Furthermore, this species is fairly well documented and is known to be most common in the deep ocean water zone, i.e. between 3,000 and 6,000 m (9,843 and 19,685 ft), typically floating thousands of meters above the sea floor.

In comparison, thehija kusk aalregistered on the site are examples of thisBassozetorecorded at 7,176 m (24,543 ft) in the Java Trench in the Indian Ocean. This discovery was also made by Professor Jamieson, as reported inDeep Sea Research Part Iin December 2021.

All images courtesy of: Alan Jamieson / Minderoo-UWA Deep-Sea Research Center / Caladan Oceanic / Inkfish

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What is the deepest snailfish ever found? ›

In 2017, the Mariana snailfish was found at 8,178 metres while another undescribed species was discovered at 8,145 metres.

What is the Mariana Trench new snailfish? ›

Scientists exploring a marine trench near Japan were astonished to find a fish in one of the deepest parts of the ocean, at 8,336 meters (about five miles) below the surface. The tadpole-shaped, translucent creature is a type of snailfish, and it's probably the deepest fish anyone will ever find.

What is the deepest fish on record? ›

According to Guinness World Records, a juvenile Pseudoliparis snailfish of an unidentified species was photographed on camera in the Izu-Ogasawara Trench off Japan, 8,336 meters (27,349 feet) below the surface.

What fish was found at 8000 feet? ›

The two fish were later identified as the species Pseudoliparis belyaevi and are the first fish ever caught at a depth greater than 8000 metres. Some mariners may also know snailfish by their more common names -- 'sea snails' or 'lumpsuckers.

What is the deepest creature found in the ocean? ›

It has two sets of jaws. In a hostile realm of the ocean, where the pressure is over 830 times greater than on Earth's surface, scientists spotted a fish casually swimming around. No big deal. It's a curious-looking snailfish, and at 27,349 feet (8,336 meters) down, it's the deepest fish ever observed.

What is the record breaking deepest fish ever caught on camera 8330 meters down? ›

While filming, the team stumbled upon a new snailfish species in the Izu-Ogasawara Trench at a whopping 8,336 meters (over 27,000 feet) down. Scientists collected two fish from traps 8,022 meters deep.

Is there a trench deeper than the Mariana? ›

The deepest place in the Atlantic is in the Puerto Rico Trench, a place called Brownson Deep at 8,378m. The expedition also confirmed the second deepest location in the Pacific, behind the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench. This runner-up is the Horizon Deep in the Tonga Trench with a depth of 10,816m.

Has anything been found at the bottom of the Mariana Trench? ›

The Mariana Hadal Snailfish is the deepest fish species ever recovered from the Mariana Trench. Researchers caught this record-breaking fish 27,460 feet below sea level, and scientists theorize the maximum depth possible for fish is 27,900 feet.

Is Mariana Trench still the deepest? ›

The Mariana Trench, in the Pacific Ocean, is the deepest location on Earth.

What fish live 1000 feet deep? ›

This species of dragonfish can grow to just under 7 inches long and can be often found 1,000 feet or more below the ocean's surface. Researchers in California recently came across an incredibly elusive type of deep-sea dragonfish nearly 1,000 feet below the ocean surface.

What fish has killed the most humans? ›

Of the estimated 1,200 venomous fish species on Earth, the stonefish is the most lethal – with enough toxin to kill an adult human in under an hour.

How deep can a snailfish go? ›

Snailfish habitats vary widely. They are found in oceans worldwide, ranging from shallow intertidal zones to depths of slightly more than 8,330 m (27,330 ft). This is a wider depth range than any other family of fish. It has been found that they travel from the abyssal to the hadal zone over their lifetime.

What fish was found 420 million years old? ›

Coelacanths: 'Extinct fossil fish' thought to have lived 420 million years ago found alive in Madagascar.

What fish lived 370 million years ago? ›

Ichthyostega lived between 370 to 362 million years ago. Their extinction was due to a large-scale fish extinction about 360 million years ago. This extinction event caused a reset to the evolution of life on earth.

What fish lived 400 million years ago? ›

Coelacanths, which have been around for 400 million years, were thought extinct until they were found alive in 1938 off South Africa. Scientists long believed coelacanths live about 20 years.

How deep in ocean can humans go? ›

The maximum depth reached by anyone in a single breath is 702 feet (213.9 metres) and this record was set in 2007 by Herbert Nitsch. He also holds the record for the deepest dive without oxygen – reaching a depth of 831 feet (253.2 metres) but he sustained a brain injury as he was ascending.

How deep has a human gone in the ocean? ›

Last year an expedition to the Mariana Trench made history by conducting the deepest crewed dive ever completed as it descended 10,927 metres into the Challenger Deep.

What is the biggest fish ever caught in a lake? ›

Almost 100 years ago, George Perry hooked an astonishing Largemouth Bass in Lake Montgomery, Georgia. The fish was 22 pounds and 4 ounces, good enough for a world record which still stands today.

What is the biggest fish ever caught in a river? ›

She measured a remarkable 3.98m in length (tail included) and 2.2m in width. And she weighed an astonishing 300kg – roughly equivalent to a grizzly bear. She was named 'Boramy', which means 'full moon' in the local Khmer language, due to her shape and the evening time of her release.

What fish can dive the deepest? ›

Meet the deepest fish in the ocean, a new species named the Mariana snailfish by an international team of researchers that 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.

What is the mystery of the Mariana Trench? ›

Forever covered in darkness, water temperature is below 0 degree Celsius. What makes it near impossible for life as we know it to exist is the extreme water pressure. 8 tonnes per square inch increases with depth. Any air filled crevice of the human body would collapse in the blink of an eye under this pressure.

How deep is Mariana Trench now? ›

The bottom of the Mariana Trench is about 35,876 feet (10,935 meters) deep, making it deeper than Mount Everest is tall. The deepest depths of the sea are found in the crescent-shaped Mariana Trench, located in the western Pacific Ocean.

Where is the deepest place on Earth? ›

The deepest part of the ocean is called the Challenger Deep and is located beneath the western Pacific Ocean in the southern end of the Mariana Trench, which runs several hundred kilometers southwest of the U.S. territorial island of Guam. Challenger Deep is approximately 10,935 meters (35,876 feet) deep.

Have humans reached the bottom of the Marianas Trench? ›

Jacques Piccard, right, co-designer of the Trieste, and Ernest Virgil load iron shot ballast into the sub prior to a test descent into the Marianas Trench, Nov. 15, 1959. On Jan. 23, 1960, Walsh and Piccard made history when they made the five-hour, 6.78-mile odyssey to the world's deepest-known point.

Has anyone ever fallen into the Mariana Trench? ›

The first and only time humans descended into the Challenger Deep was more than 50 years ago. In 1960, Jacques Piccard and Navy Lt. Don Walsh reached this goal in a U.S. Navy submersible, a bathyscaphe called the Trieste.

How many humans have visited the bottom of the Marianas Trench? ›

To date, only 13 people have travelled to the Challenger Deep at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, which at c. 10,935 m (35,876 ft) below the surface of the Pacific Ocean is the deepest-known point on Earth.

How long can a human survive in the Mariana Trench? ›

You can't breath at the bottom of the ocean. If you can't breath, your body won't stay alive for more than about 30 minutes. (Although you'd lose consciousness after about 5.) (3) The water pressure is very high.

Who was the last person to go to the bottom of the Mariana Trench? ›

52 years later, James Cameron became the first person to solo dive that point. Piccard, Walsh and Cameron remained the only people to reach the world's deepest seafloor until 2019, when regular dives in DSV Limiting Factor began.
List of people who descended to Challenger Deep.
DateApril 15, 2021
NameLarry Connor
SubmersibleLimiting Factor
21 more columns

What is the temperature at the bottom of the Mariana Trench? ›

You might expect the waters of the Mariana Trench to be frigid since no sunlight can reach it. And you'd be right. The water there tends to range between 34 to 39 degrees Fahrenheit.

What fish live 3000 feet deep? ›

The Pacific footballfish, scientifically known as Himantolophus sagamius, usually lives in waters that are 3,000 feet deep, according to researchers. The anglerfish has been found in California, Japan, Hawaii, Ecuador, Chile, and the Philippines, but the fish was discovered first on a beach in Greenland in 1833.

What fish can walk on land? ›

Snakehead fish have evolved to “walk” on land! They propel themselves forward by moving their head and back fin in opposite directions.

Are there fish that can live out of water? ›

Amphibious fish can survive out of water longer than most types of fish. Mudskippers and lungfish are two of the most common types of amphibious fish, though mudhoppers are also part of the amphibious group.

What is the most human friendly fish in the world? ›

The Friendliest Fish

Batfish are very curious and typically inquisitive with divers. Popular dive sites such as wrecks are often known for resident fish. These residents will follow divers around during their dive and often play in the exhaust bubbles.

What is the most intelligent fish? ›

For fish, that title goes to manta rays. They're giant, charismatic and basically geniuses. Mantas have huge brains — the biggest of any fish — with especially developed areas for learning, problem solving and communicating.

Who eats snailfish? ›

Because of its deep-sea marine habitat, the snailfish does not have predators.

How do deep sea fish not get crushed? ›

Many sea creatures are made of mostly water. Water cannot be compressed, or squeezed, by pressure like air can. This means that animals in the sea can stay safe when in the depths of the sea, as their body is balanced with the pressure around them, whereas we have air in our bodies that would be crushed.

How big can snailfish get? ›

Snailfish are tadpole-like and can only grow to about 12 inches long. They are found in oceans across the world, with some species inhabiting relatively shallow waters. The snailfish discovered 8,300 meters down — which is more than 27,000 feet, or five miles, deep — belongs to an unknown species, scientists said.

What is the rarest fish ever found? ›

1. The Devils Hole Pupfish is the Rarest Fish in the World.

What is the oldest fish still alive? ›

Coelacanth Temporal range: Early Devonian – Recent,
Class:Actinistia Cope, 1871
10 more rows

What is the oldest fish found alive? ›

The massive coelacanth was thought to have died off over 60-million-years ago, but its 1938 discovery in South Africa shocked the scientific world.

What 450 million year old fish was found alive? ›

A fossil fish that predates dinosaurs and was thought to have gone extinct has been found alive in the West Indian Ocean off the coast of Madagascar. The fish named coelacanth was accidentally rediscovered by a group of South African shark hunters, according to reports.

What fish has existed longer than dinosaurs? ›

Coelacanths: Fish That Predates Dinosaurs, With History Dating Back To 420 Million Years, Caught Alive.

What animals lived 240 million years ago? ›

Dinosaurs in the Triassic Period

It was around 240 million years ago that the first dinosaurs appear in the fossil record. These dinosaurs were small, bipedal creatures that would have darted across the variable landscape.

What fish was from 530 million years ago? ›

530 million years ago: The Pikaia species, the first known fish on Earth, evolved in the middle of the Ordovician period. Around 530 million years ago: Haikouichthys, the earliest fish species discovered, evolved as one of the earliest vertebrate organisms in the world. It has a notochord and multiple gills.

What animals existed 480 million years ago? ›

Agnathans, or jawless fish were the earliest fish and the first true vertebrates and they appeared around 480 million years ago.

What lived 420 million years ago? ›

The coelacanth species is also known as the "four-legged fossil fish" and dates back to 420 million years ago.

How deep is the hadal snailfish found? ›

We wanted to find this elusive winged snailfish again to learn more about it and observe it in its natural habitat. These hadal snailfish tend to live at depths between 7,000 and 8,200 metres (“hadal” simply means anywhere below 6,000 metres), but their apparent rarity is perhaps misunderstood.

How deep is the Mariana snailfish? ›

This species was reported to be abundant at depths of ca. 7,000-8,000 m and video records showed large aggregations of different-sized individuals attracted to the bait (mackerel) and fed on swarms of amphipods.

How deep does the Mariana snailfish live? ›

The previous deepest fish recorded was the Mariana snailfish ( swirei), recorded at a depth of 8,178m (26,831ft) further south between Japan and Papua New Guinea in the Mariana Trench.

What are some facts about snailfish? ›

Snailfish: It is a deep-sea species that is also known as a sea snail. The known species of snailfish number over 400, and their sizes vary from a few centimetres to almost a metre. They have loose, scaleless skin that can occasionally be prickly and are elongated, squishy, tadpole-shaped fish.

What are the scary looking fish at the bottom of the ocean? ›

Commonly known as “Sea Devils,” Anglerfish are the archetypal horror of the deep. They lurk on the bottom, waiting for unsuspecting prey to come their way. Their mouths are so big they can eat fish almost as big as they are. Anglerfish inhale their meals whole.

What is the deepest fish scientists land ever? ›

The snailfish, of the Pseudoliparis belyaevi species, are the first to be caught below 8,000 metres. Fish have been caught more than 5 miles (8 kilometres) under the surface of the ocean for the first time ever - and filmed even deeper - by a joint Japanese-Australian scientific expedition.

Is there much deeper than Mariana Trench? ›

Challenger Deep is the deepest point in the world ocean. Located within the already-deep Mariana Trench in the western Pacific Ocean, the actual deepness of Challenger Deep strains the imagination. We'll take a look at some bizarre ways to consider this depth, but first we'll explore why Challenger deep.

What is the deepest fish caught and filmed off Japan? ›

The expedition's chief scientist, Professor Alan Jamieson, said on Monday that two snailfish were caught in traps set 8,022 metres underwater in the Japan Trench, south of Japan, during a two-month voyage by a team from the University of Western Australia (UWA) and the Tokyo University of Marine Science.

How deep can a fish survive? ›

Study suggests fish brains swell too much to survive past a certain depth. Ocean-going fish can't live any deeper than 8200 meters, according to a new study. All fish have their limits—you'll never find sharks below 4 kilometers, for example—but why there aren't any fish at all below 8 kilometers remains a mystery.


1. Meet the Mysterious “Monsters” of the Deep Sea | Alan Jamieson | TED
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