The strange-looking fish appears to be a whole new species.
“This really deep fish did not look like anything we had seen before, nor does it look like anything we know of,” said research team member Alan Jamieson of the University of Aberdeen, in a statement. “It is unbelievably fragile, with large wing-like fins and a head resembling a cartoon dog.”
The Mariana Trench, which plunges seven miles down into the Pacific Ocean about3,500 miles southwest of Hawaii, is the deepest place on earth. It’s thought to be theoldest section of the ocean floor geologically and is known for introducing new organisms whenever scientists are able to successfully explore the extreme location.
“Many studies have rushed to the bottom of the trench, but from an ecological view that is very limiting. It’s like trying to understand a mountain ecosystem by only looking at its summit,” said the University of Hawaii’s Jeff Drazen, who, along with UH colleague Patty Fryer and Jamieson, led an international team of researchers on a 30-day voyage to scope out the trench.
The team launched unmanned landers equipped with cameras to film more than 100 hours of footage. By exploring the sides of the trench, rather than the central floor, they found colonies teeming with unique creatures, such as those eerie, transparent fish.