The deep sea is a dark place both literally and figuratively, home to the stuff of nightmares. Now, scientists have named a new unholy terror deep beneath the ocean’s surface.
The Mariana snailfish (Pseudoliparis swirei for the nerds out there) is the deepest fish ever captured. The fish, which looks like a tumorous chicken filet, inhabits the Mariana Trench, the deepest spot on Earth’s surface.
Thankfully you won’t have to confront this nightmare fish in person. The researchers initially found it at 26,200 feet below the surface, in 2014. A new paper in Zootaxa chronicles the discovery and what scientists have gleaned so far from studying the deepest fish ever pulled out of the sea, which may or may not just be a gelatinous kidney. Japanese researchers have since found it 26,686 feet down in the trench, which is located near Guam.
“They don’t look very robust or strong for living in such an extreme environment, but they are extremely successful,” Mackenzie Gerringer, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Washington who helped discover the fish, said in a statement that somehow fails to include mention of how gross this discovery is.
The researchers are still trying to figure out how the Mariana snailfish can withstand the overwhelming pressure of its habitat (presumably it’s through some kind of hex or curse). But they did observe it feeding. According to the University of Washington, they cluster in groups and use suction to hoover up shrimp and small crustaceans whole. No word on if they can also steal your soul.
Please enjoy some more CT scan images of what I presume is the last thing you see before you die.