A fish swimming over 8km below the sea level off Japan’s coast has been captured on camera by scientists, making it the deepest recorded fish to ever have been photographed.
Researchers, including those from the University of Western Australia, filmed the snailfish of the genus Pseudolipariswhich was swimming at about 8,336m, or about 27,349ft, reported BBC News.
The juvenile fish, about the size of a human palm and covered in scaleless translucent skin, was spotted by scientists near the Izu-Ogasawara Trench off Japan’s coast.
Scientists, however, could not fully identify the species from the camera footage.
The previous record for the deepest fish ever captured on camera was held by the Mariana snailfish (Pseudoliparis swirei), which was discovered in 2014 at about 8,200m in the Mariana trench.
“Our CEO, professor Alan Jamieson, has just broken the previous record for the deepest-ever fish, with this recent observation of a snailfish in the Izu-Ogasawara Trench, near Japan,” tweeted deep-sea exploration venture Armatus Oceanic.
“The deepest fish observed now sits at 8336m!” it added.
Scientists also caught two fish from a depth of about 8,022m, making it the first time fish were caught at depths over 8km.
Previous research has suggested that snailfish are incredibly adapted to handling high pressures and are capable of handling the weight of several hundred elephants.
These fish live in the deepest and darkest part of the ocean called the hadal zone where no light penetrates and depths can reach between 6,000m and 11,000m.
The snailfish are suction feeders that consume tiny crustaceans on the ocean floor.
To film the fish in the latest attempt, scientists dropped an autonomous “lander” camera into the Izu-Ogasawara Trench.
Researchers said the fish was captured on camera “very close to” the maximum depth that any fish can survive.
“If this record was broken, it would only be by minute increments, potentially by just a few meters,” Mr Jamieson told the BBC.