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Which Creature Lives at the Greatest Depth below Sea Level?

It takes around four hours to get to the lower reaches of the Mariana Trench, located near Guam in the Pacific Ocean. In a series of deep-sea dives conducted in 2014 and 2017, British and American researchers left traps equipped with cameras to find out what lifeforms survive in the deepest parts of the world's oceans. What they discovered was a new species of snailfish living at a record depth of 26,200 feet (7,986 meters). The small, slimy, and translucent fish is now known as the Mariana snailfish, and currently holds the title of Earth’s deepest fish.

Deep, deeper, deepest:

  • The researchers explained that Mariana snailfish “are free of predators, and the funnel shape of the trench means there’s much more food. They are active and look very well-fed.”
  • Earlier this year, Japanese researchers filmed snailfish swimming as deep as 26,830 feet (8,178 m) below sea level, but they didn’t recover any samples.
  • The scientists say they are unlikely to discover other fish that can live even deeper than this new species. Below a certain threshold, the crushing pressure becomes so powerful that it destabilizes proteins.
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