Ghost Fish in Mariana Trench

ghost fish NOAA Okeanos expedition.

The ghost fish was observed during a NOAA Okeanos expedition in Mariana Trench.

Ocean scientists discovered a weird looking ghost fish hiding in Mariana Trench, almost 1.5 miles under the surface of the Pacific Ocean.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration published a video with the ghost fish, which proved that the species was still alive.

The Mariana Trench is situated north of the Mariana Islands, and it is well known for its mysteries.

The ghost fish is a part of the Aphyonidae family that was first described in 1878. Up until now, the only specimens that had been found were trapped dead into the fishermen nests. The Aphyonids are 4 inches long. The small creature is transparent, gelatinous, and has no scales.

Some compared the ghost fish to the dragon from the NeverEnding Story movie, Falkor.

“Some of us working with fish have had wish lists, bucket lists, for what we might want to see. A fish in this family is probably first on those lists for a lot of us,” says Bruce Mundy, the NOAA fisheries biologist.

One interesting fact about their mating process is the fact that males pack their sperm into small sacs which can be stored for extended periods of time, and then pass them over to females. Immature females can take over the pouches and keep them until they reach sexual maturity.

This strange breeding method can be explained by the fact that it is very difficult for them to find a mate in the dark, deserted waters from the deep ocean. As an evolutionary trait, the mating secures the eggs’ fertilization even in these harsh environmental conditions.

The discovery will bring along new studies surrounding the species, as the ghost fish is a very rare creature. For example, scientists wonder if the fish dwells in the water column, or it lives closer to the bottom of the ocean.

The fish was observed during a NOAA expedition aboard the Okeanos Explorer ship. The action is a part of a campaign dedicated to the Pacific marine national monuments, what include 742,000 square miles of land, coral reefs, ocean, and maritime heritage.

The expedition is broadcasted live on the NOAA’s website, and the divings are programmed until the 10th of July. The team will explore hydrothermal vent sites, bottom fish habitats, mud volcanoes, as well as coral and sponge communities.

Another focus of the expedition is on the geology of the Mariana region, and scientists will be diving in trench areas and subduction zones, taking measurements and collecting visual data and specimens.

The last part of the mission will involve the mapping of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument.

Image Source: YouTube

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