Now the species known as the Mariana snailfish has its official scientific name: Pseudoliparis swirei, a Latin-inspired designation paying tribute to Herbert Swire, a navigator on the 19th-century expedition that discovered the Mariana Trench. The Mariana snailfish (Pseudoliparis swirei) is a newly described species that now holds the crown for the deepest fish in the sea, thriving at depths of up to about 8,000 meters (26,200 feet).
According to reports, Mackenzie Gerringer, from University of Washington's Friday Harbor Laboratory said, "This is the deepest fish that's been collected from the ocean floor, and we're very excited to have an official name".
"They don't look very robust or strong for living in such an extreme environment, but they are extremely successful", Gerringer added. Mackenzie Gerringer and her team collected 37 specimen fish samples from different depths near the San Juan Island during their research trips in 2014 and 2017. In deep water, they cluster together in groups and feed on tiny crustaceans and shrimp using suction from their mouths to gulp prey.
At this depth, the pressure is so great that its similar to "similar to an elephant standing on your thumb", researchers said.
The Mariana Trench, located in the Western Pacific ocean, has the Challenger Deep, which is the deepest recorded place on Earth at 11,034 meters.
DNA analysis and 3-D scanning of specimen fish collected from depths between 6,900 meters to 8,000 meters determined it as a new species. By studying the structure of the creatures' skeletons and tissues, they were able to determine that they were indeed a new species. Exactly how they can thrive under that extreme water pressure is still a mystery for now, but these creatures have been sighted regularly at depths of around 26,200 ft (8,000 m) and down to a record-breaking depth of 26,830 ft (8,178 m), as captured on video by Japanese researchers earlier this year.
"Snailfishes have adapted to go deeper than other fish and can live in the deep trenches". "Here they are free of predators, and the funnel shape of the trench means there's much more food".
'There are lots of invertebrate prey and the snailfish are the top predator. "They are active and look very well-fed". It can take four hours for a trap to sink to the bottom.
The team waited an additional 24 hours and then sent an acoustic signal to the trap, which then released the weights attached and it floated back to the surface.
"There are a lot of surprises waiting", Gerringer said. The two-inch-long Mariana snailfish has a scaleless body that is so translucent that you could see its liver.
'We think of it as a harsh environment because it's extreme for us, but there's a whole group of organisms that are very happy down there'.
Scientists trying to name a unusual deep-sea fish have taken inspiration from its freaky physical traits and bone-crushing home environment.
Other co-authors are Alan Jamieson of Newcastle University, and Erica Goetze and Jeffrey Drazen of the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa.
The research was funded by the National Science Foundation, Schmidt Ocean Institute, and the Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland.