The deepest parts of the ocean are tough places to live. There’s no light, the pressure will crush almost anything, and the temperature is impossibly cold. It’s remarkable that there’s anything alive that far down, yet somehow life finds a way.
Deepest fish in the sea is the king of the Mariana Trench.
The Mariana snail fish (Pseudolipnris swirei) is a new species that holds the crown for the deepest fish in the sea, thriving at depths of up to 26,200 feet. The snail fish dominates the deepest parts of the Mariana Trench, located in the western Pacific Ocean. The species is named in honor of Herbert Swire, an officer on the HMS Challenger expedition in the late 1800s that first discovered the Mariana Trench.
Most recently, a Japanese expedition recorded a Mariana snail fish at depths of 26,830 feet, the deepest sighting yet and quite possibly the deepest depth a living creature can withstand.
To withstand the immense pressures at the bottom of the ocean, the fish produce a substance called osmolyte, which helps cells maintain volume and fluid balance. The fish’s body can’t produce this substance below 26,900 feet. The ghostly-looking snail fish likes to live dangerously, swimming barely above this dangerous edge.
“Snail fishes have adapted to go deeper than other fish and can live in the deep trenches. Here they are free of predators, and the funnel-shape of the trench means there’s much more food,” say researchers.
The fish doesn’t look particularly impressive, unlike anglerfish or other deep-sea dwellers. It mostly looks like a slimy tadpole. But the fish’s anatomy is what’s required to live in the deepest point in the ocean with crushing pressures and oppressive darkness.
The Mariana snailfish might look like a squishy prey animal, but it’s actually a dominant predator in the deep ocean. There’s understandably little competition at those depths, so the Mariana snailfish gets its pick of the shellfish and other invertebrates.
With this discovery, scientists now know a little more about this strange, inhospitable realm. Perhaps future expeditions will discover even more bizarre organisms that call the deepest parts of the ocean home.
It’s amazing to see what lives there. We think of it as a harsh environment because it’s extreme for us, but there’s a whole group of organisms that are very happy down there, there are a lot of surprises waiting.

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