Under the National Environmental Science Programme of the Marine Biodiversity Hub of Australia, an international team of experts are on a monthlong voyage to discover and study Australia’s rich deep-sea biodiversity. They recently came across a faceless fish that hasn’t been seen since the 1880s, but here are some of the team’s other exciting finds from the abyss.
Faceless Fish From The Abyss
Though initially thought to be the discovery of a new species, finding the cusk eel with seemingly no eyes was still big news to the team aboard the research vessel Investigator. With a scientific name Typhlonus nasus, which is apparently derived from Greek and means “blind hake,” the Faceless Cusk is a rare find that has only been seen a handful of times since it was first discovered in the 1870s.
Exciting as the collection of the Faceless Cusk is for the expedition, the team has since collected an interesting collection of other specimen from the deepest depths of the sea.
Because the abyss is a dark environment, some creatures have developed their own means to hunt for prey. One such amazing capability is bioluminescence. A thousand meters below the ocean is a very dark place, but not for creatures with bioluminescent capabilities.
The team managed to collect creatures such as the dragon fish and captured their bioluminescence in photographs. Bioluminescence is achieved through a chemical reaction in the creature’s body.
The sponges that the team found are not of the friendly squarepants sort. The bottlebrush-resembling Abyssocladia and the parasol-looking Cladorhiza are known to be carnivorous sponges.
Compared to other species of sponges that feed on bacteria by filtering them through passing currents, these carnivorous deep-sea sponges prey on small crustaceans that get hooked on their glass-like spines.
They aren’t really arachnids, but these deep-sea spiders are so named because of their resemblance to our eight-legged land friends. Sea spiders are known to be some of the world’s oldest surviving arthropods, and while some have two eyes, some deep-sea spiders are known to be blind creatures.
The sort of sea spiders caught during the voyage are of the genus Colossendeis, which are known to be giants among the species.
An Undescribed Species Of Coffinfish
Though they look similar to pufferfish, coffinfish are actually more related to the considerably less adorable-looking deep-sea angler fish. They aren’t the fastest creatures on the ocean floor, and more often they walk along the seafloor with their fins and puff up when threatened.
Because they are difficult to identify, the team is still unsure whether or not the coffinfish they collected is one that is already known or one that would need a name.
The expedition will continue on until May 15. You can follow the team’s progress and see some of the other deep-sea creatures they have found so far through their blog, Blogging the Abyss.