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Researchers Discover The Ocean's Deepest Fish Yet

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) -- Meet the ocean's deepest fish.

It's a newly discovered species called the Mariana Snailfish and they live in the deepest part of the ocean in the world - the Mariana Trench near Guam.

How deep are they?

Mariana Snailfish
Mariana Snailfish (Courtesy: Adam Summers/University of Washington)

They live more than 26,000 feet below the surface with a pressure so intense at those depths it can be compared to an elephant standing on your thumb.

An international team of researchers discovered the new species and published their findings this week.

"This is the deepest fish that's been collected from the ocean floor, and we're very excited to have an official name," said lead author Mackenzie Gerringer, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Washington.

They're small, translucent and lack scales - not what some might expect some of the deepest sea creatures to look like.

"They don't look very robust or strong for living in such an extreme environment, but they are extremely successful," said Gerringer.

Through DNA analysis and 3-D scanning, researchers were able to confirm they had found a new species - one that is still being studied.

What is known is that Snailfish can also be found off the coast of San Juan Island, where researchers continue to study the family of fish and plan to continue studying its deepest habitats.

"There are a lot of surprises waiting," Gerringer said. "It's amazing to see what lives there."

The research was funded by the National Science Foundation, Schmidt Ocean Institute, and the Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland.

Mariana Snailfish
Mariana Snailfish (Courtesy: Adam Summers/University of Washington)


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