The deepest known fish in the ocean

Main report: Mariana Snailfish is the Deepest Known Fish
Other Reporting: University of Washington YouTube video, Newsweek,, EurekAlert!, Sci-News
Scientific Paper: Zootaxa    (Plazi Treatment)
New Taxa: Pseudoliparis swirei
Common Name: Mariana Snailfish
Categories: Fish | New Species
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The recently discovered Mariana snailfish has been named the deepest known fish in the ocean.  It thrives at depths of around 8,000 meters (26,000 feet) along the Mariana Trench near Guam. It is a small scaleless and translucent fish.  In a series of dives in 2014 and 2017, a small team of researchers from the U.S. and U.K. dropped special traps into the depths of the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean in order to catch the fish at the extreme depths.  The traps—equipped with specialist cameras—emerged with incredible footage of the new species, as well as 37 other fish over the course of the study.  Little is known about how these fish can live under intense water pressure; the pressure at those depths is similar to an elephant standing on your thumb.

The Mariana Trench famously houses the ocean’s deepest point, at Challenger Deep, named for the HMS Challenger expedition which discovered the trench in 1875. Their deepest sounding of 8,184 m, then the greatest known ocean depth, was christened Swire Deep after Herbert Swire, the ship’s First Navigating Sublieutenant ( Corfield 2003).  The new fish is named in his honor, in acknowledgment and gratitude of the crew members that have supported oceanographic research throughout history.

A CT scan reveals this Mariana snailfish ate a small crustacean for lunch.  Credit: Adam Summers/University of Washington
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The new species is small and transparent.


Mariana Snailfish. Credit: Adam Summers/University of Washington

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