An international team of researchers used state-of-the-art underwater cameras to find three new species of snail fish living in one of the deepest parts of the ocean, perfectly adapted to conditions that would instantly kill most life on Earth, The Guardian wrote.
The see-through, scale-free creatures were spotted in large numbers at the bottom of the Atacama trench in the eastern Pacific Ocean at a depth of 7,500 meters (4.5 miles).
“But there’s a whole heap of them sitting there,” he added.
These previously unknown scale-less creatures, 8-10 inches long and translucent, surprisingly manage to survive in pitch-dark conditions and water temperatures that barely go above 2 degrees Celsius (36 degrees Fahrenheit).
Moreover, at a depth like that, the water pressure is so great that larger animals would be crushed under their own mass.
“It’s the equivalent of having an 800kg weight placed on your little finger,” Jamieson said.
Still, made almost entirely of a gel-like substance, the fish would die without the crushing pressure holding them together.
“Their bodies are extremely fragile and melt rapidly when brought to the surface,” Thomas Linley, a Newcastle research associate who went on the expedition, explained.
Researchers believe the fish may have evolved to live on the sea floor to avoid larger predators.