Science & Nature

Scientists Map Seafloor Off Australia’s Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Discover Cool Deep-Sea Fish

Scientists Map Seafloor Off Australia’s Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Discover Cool Deep-Sea Fish thumbnail

Scientists have mapped the seafloor of Australia’s Cocos (Keeling) Islands Marine Park in detail for the first time, revealing a whole bunch of never-before-seen, deep-sea fish.

Samples of those fish were collected from depths as far down as 5 km/3.11 miles deep.

Among the new finds were:

* A previously unknown blind eel collected from a depth of about 5 km covered in loose, transparent, gelatinous skin. Their eyes are poorly developed and, unusually for a fish, females give birth to live young.


Blind Eel (Image credit: Museums Victoria/Ben Healley)
Blind Eel (Image credit: Museums Victoria/Ben Healley)

* Deep-sea batfishes that amble over the seafloor on their arm-like fins. They have a tiny “fishing lure” in a small hollow on their snout to attract prey.


Deep-sea Batfish (Image credit: Museums Victoria/Ben Healley)
Deep-sea Batfish (Image credit: Museums Victoria/Ben Healley)

* Highfin Lizard fish are voracious deep-sea predators with mouths full of long sharp teeth. They belong to a group of fishes that are simultaneous hermaphrodites; they have an ovotestis with functional male and female reproductive tissue at the same time.


Highfin Lizard fish (Image credit: Museums Victoria/Benjamin Healley)
Highfin Lizard fish (Image credit: Museums Victoria/Benjamin Healley)

According to Dr. Tim O’Hara, the expedition’s chief scientist from Museum Victoria Research Institute:

“We have discovered an amazing number of potentially new species living in this remote marine park. We are proud that our maps, data and images will be used by Parks Australia to manage the new marine park into the future.”

As part of the mapping process, scientists unveiled massive flat-topped ancient sea mountains, flanked by volcanic cones, snarly ridges and canyons formed from avalanches of sand that have slumped down onto the abyssal ocean floor.

For more info, go to csiro.au or check out the video below.


John Liang

John Lianghttps://www.deeperblue.com/

John Liang is the News Editor at DeeperBlue.com. He first got the diving bug while in High School in Cairo, Egypt, where he earned his PADI Open Water Diver certification in the Red Sea off the Sinai Peninsula. Since then, John has dived in a volcanic lake in Guatemala, among white-tipped sharks off the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, and other places including a pool in Las Vegas helping to break the world record for the largest underwater press conference.

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