SYDNEY – An Australian research team caught thousands of rare fish from the deep ocean, some of them faceless while others are very rare or were previously undiscovered, an Australian scientific research organization said on Wednesday.
Scientists on board a deep-sea research vessel collected the fish and invertebrate specimens from the deep sea at depths of about 4,800 meters in 2017, and will analyze the fish in Hobart, Tasmania.
“The survey collected some very rare and unusual species,” said Alastair Graham, manager of the Australian National Fish Collection, in a statement from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization.
Among the discoveries of their voyage, which collected more than 42,000 specimens, were the “cousins of Mr. Blobby” (Psychrolutes micropores), which was named the World’s Ugliest Fish in 2013.
The collection also includes the rediscovery of the faceless fish, a rare deep-sea fish with no visible eyes and a mouth on its head, as well as a lizard fish and a bioluminescent shark with razor-sharp serrated teeth.
The survey also collected a tripod fish, which lives on sea floor with long fins supporting its body, waiting for prey to drift within reach, from the abyssal zone where sunlight does not reach.
“The abyss is the largest and deepest habitat on the planet, covering half the world’s oceans and one third of Australia’s territory, but it remains the most unexplored environment on Earth,” Graham said.
Museums Victoria fish biologist Martin Gomon said the deep-sea voyage was the first systematic attempt to examine life at abyssal depths along the vast Australian coast.
“The discoveries provide us with a glimpse into how our marine fauna fits into the interconnected abyssal environment worldwide and for the scientists, adds another piece to the puzzle of what affects evolution in the deep sea,” Gomon added.