Once they reached the seabed, the landers captured footage and even a specimen of one of the fish.
The expedition that involved a team of 40 scientists from 17 different nations used two landers equipped with advanced cameras to explore the ultra-deep environments in the Atacama Trench. The three new species of snailfish proliferated significantly in that area because they can live unthreatened by predators as it happens in shallow waters.
Scientists learned three recent species of snailfish about 5 miles below the ocean's surface.
Instead of giant teeth and a menacing frame, the fish are small, translucent, scale-less, and, essentially, highly adept at living where few organisms can.
Dr. Thomas Linley, who works at Newcastle University, said it was clear snailfish are among the top predators in the deep depths of the ocean. These fish have been found living at depths of 7,500 meters (24,000 feet) below the surface and provide new insight about what kind of life thrives in the deepest, darkest regions of the ocean.
The team tried to catch one of these fishes using an amphipod prey that one snailfish followed into one of the traps.
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Along with these new snail fish, the crew also filmed rare footage of Munnopsids, which are small crustaceans with extremely long legs.
The fish are said to have a gelatinous structure that is perfectly adapted to the extreme pressure at the bottom of the trench. "Without the unheard of tension and frigid to beef up their bodies they're extremely fragile and soften all true now when dropped on the surface", Linely added. That specimen didn't survive the trip to the surface, but researchers have preserved its remains and, according the statement, it's in "very good condition" for study.
With these tools, they were able to find three interesting creatures, which they believe are types of snailfish, about 5 miles deep.
The lander - essentially a high-tech trap outfitted with bait, monitors and underwater cameras - would take four hours to fall all the way to the bottom of the ocean, almost five miles deep in some areas of the trench, off the coast of Peru and Chile. These creatures belong to an unidentified species of the Munnopsidae family and grow to be the size of an adult human hand.
"We don't know what species of munnopsid these are but it's incredible to have caught them in action in their natural habitat - especially the flip they do as they switch from swimming to walking mode", says Dr Linley. The snailfish discovery will be featured at the Challenger Conference 2018 at Newcastle University. The creatures can swim backwards and upside down, have long legs like a spider, and paddles to help them swim.