UNUSUAL – A scientific expedition in the abyss off the east of Australia found a facebless fish.
In mid-May, scientists epupied with cameras, sonars and nets explored the total darkness of the seabed from an area that runs from Tasmania to the coast of Queensland, up to 4,000 meters deep.
Scientists aboard the research vessel “The Investigator” , led by Tim O’Hara, an official of Museums Victoria, explored the area for nearly a month.
Chimeras, blind spiders, abyssal fishes of the Chaunacidae family, the expedition crossed paths of extraordinary creatures.
The most impressive encounter was that of a faceless fish that had not been seen since 1873, when the HMS Challenger’s scientific expedition had taken it up to present-day Papua -New Guinea.
The odd looking fish is a kind of cusk eel rarely seen by humans, called Typhlonus nasus.
Contrary to the naysayers, this “faceless fish” does have a semblance of a face, buried underneath its skin. “Although very little is known about this strange fish without a face, it does have eyes—which are apparently visible well beneath the skin in smaller specimens,” Bray wrote. “I doubt they’d be of much use though,” given that it swims at extreme depths where light is virtually non-existent.
“He has no eyes, and his mouth is underneath,” O’Hara told AFP from the ship about this fish, a specimen of which has been brought to the surface.
At such depths, the darkness is total and the creatures are often devoid of eyes or produce their own light, he explained.
Working in such an environment is a technical and technological challenge, explains the scientist. It takes seven hours to set up and reassemble the equipment sent to the bottom of the water, and connected to “The Investigator” by eight kilometers of cables.
The data collected will be used to improve the knowledge and understanding of the abyssal habitats, their biodiversity and the ecological pressure exerted on them.