AUG 07, 2016 10:25 AM PDT

Alaskan Oceanic Survey Leads to Discovery of New Types of Soft-Bodied Fish

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

During a survey of the ocean waters surrounding Alaska, scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) were in for a surprise when they discovered new kinds of soft-bodied fish during the process.
 

Snail fish are a very mysterious kind of fish that set the current record for the deepest-swimming vertebrates in the ocean.

 Image Credit: NOAA Fisheries/Alaska Fisheries Science Center

They were snatched from the depths of the ocean during routine surveying that called for the use of trawler nets, which are massive underwater nets that just barely scrape the ocean floor behind a moving boat to capture fish from some of the deeper regions of the ocean.
 
The survey was intended to better understand the population trends of cod, which are important for commercial fishing because of how commonly they’re caught as a source of food for mankind, but the net inevitably caught some other things as well.
 
Among those “other things” were apparently a couple of new types of snail fish, a type of fish that are soft-bodied, rather than scaly like most other kinds of fish.
 
Snail fish are very mysterious creatures and we know very little about them. On the other hand, we do know that they can be found almost anywhere in the ocean, whether it’s shallow or deep, so the finding of the new snail fish species up to 23,663 feet below the ocean’s surface isn’t that much of a surprise.
 
Biologist Jay Orr, who was on-board the research ships during the survey, noticed the strange fish right off the bat when the net came back up. Along with his colleagues, he notes having discovered up to 14 new types of snail fish. Orr even believes that they’ve only scraped the surface of discovering the many new snail fish types that may be lurking in our oceans.
 
“I sort of knew what I was looking for and what was known out there,” Orr said. “The first ones that came up, I saw them right away and said, ‘We don’t know what these are. These haven’t been named.'”
 
“I suspect we are just scraping the top of the distributions of some of these deep-water groups,” he continued.
 
Many of those that had been pulled up in the trawler net had very odd and unique qualities to them. His report details some that were missing a sucking disc that is common in snail fish; others had odd bones in their heads, larger lower jaws, and even different body parts that many other known snail fish do not have.
 
Understanding the existence of such strange and misunderstood creatures is an important puzzle piece to understanding the way the ocean ecosystem works.
 
Orr will now have to spend time trying to name all of the unknown types of nail fish.
 
Source: Associated Press

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
DEC 03, 2019
Plants & Animals
DEC 03, 2019
Florida's Manatees Are a Conservation Success Story
Manatees are be a common sight for Floridians who reside close to rivers and other natural waterways, but there was once a time when that wasn’t the...
DEC 30, 2019
Plants & Animals
DEC 30, 2019
Are Blue Animals Truly Blue?
Animals come in all sorts of colors, and while the animal kingdom has most of the rainbow’s colors at its disposal, there are a few exceptions. Some...
JAN 17, 2020
Health & Medicine
JAN 17, 2020
Next Big Thing For Cannabis Users: Sublingual Strips?
Aleafia Health signed an agreement with Kinstate, Inc. allowing the company to manufacture, market, and sell Kin Slips and the technology behind these cann...
JAN 19, 2020
Earth & The Environment
JAN 19, 2020
Why aren't we meeting our forest restoration goals?
A new paper published recently in Conservation Letters hopes to encourage more support for countries aiming to meet their ambitious forest restoration goal...
FEB 09, 2020
Plants & Animals
FEB 09, 2020
Horned Lizards Are Great Predators, But Also at Avoiding Predation
There are at least 17 known species of horned lizard belonging to the genus Phrynosoma, but the giant horned lizard (Phrynosoma asio) is the largest of the...
FEB 18, 2020
Plants & Animals
FEB 18, 2020
This Wasp Turns Cockroaches Into Zombies for its Larvae
We can’t think of anyone that likes cockroaches, but one insect in particular seems to scout them out specifically for its own bizarre reasons. The e...
Loading Comments...