The deepest ocean fish has been discovered at depths of up to 26,200 feet (8,000 meters) along the Mariana Trench, in the western Pacific Ocean, and it's now called the Mariana snailfish, or Pseudoliparis swirei.
The snailfish doesn't have any scales or huge teeth, it's a tiny translucent fish that apparently made a home of the depths of the ocean, where few others can survive.
The Mariana snailfish is the star of a new research paper published in the journal Zootaxa, formally documenting the species for the first time. The snailfish first caught people's eye back in 2014 and was again spotted last year, but it's never been described up to this point.
The ocean goes even deeper, but the pressure deep below is so strong that it's unlikely that fish would be able to survive it, so scientists doubt that a fish could live deeper than the Mariana snaifish.
Deepest Fish In The Ocean
"This is the deepest fish that's been collected from the ocean floor, and we're very excited to have an official name," Mackenzie Gerringer, lead author of the study and a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Washington's Friday Harbor Laboratories, said last year. "They don't look very robust or strong for living in such an extreme environment, but they are extremely successful."
The conditions in these trenches may be extremely harsh, but snailfish can handle great pressure and they've evolved to adapt to the pressure, keeping their membranes moving and their enzymes functional.
The world's newest and deepest fish, the Pseudoliparis swirei, seems to be present in abundance in the Mariana Trench, considered the world's deepest place. They make surprisingly large eggs and they feed on crustaceans, as X-rays and dissections have shown.
The Mariana snailfish measures roughly 4 inches in length, and the fact that it lives 5 miles below the surface of the ocean puts it on top of the food chain down there.
The top 10 new species list for this year so far includes a 130-foot-tall tree, an endangered orangutan, an extinct marsupial lion, a crustacean, eukaryote and bacteria, new beetles with spider legs and no eyes, and more.
Life on planet Earth is extremely diverse and new species continue to be documented, but many species are also becoming extinct at an alarmingly fast pace. Researchers aim to make a comprehensive inventory of existing species before they go extinct, and such documentation is crucial.