At first it was the discovery of extinct volcanoes, now researchers have discovered a new species of terrifying fish with sharp teeth, fangs and a potential sting in the tail. The critters were found in a hotspot for lobster larvae. Scientists with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) were on a research voyage off the coast of Sydney in NSW when they made the find.
Chief scientist for the voyage, UNSW marine biologist Professor Iain Suthers, said he was amazed they were able to find so many on the tiny critters and the discovery will now change how researchers study juvenile fish.
Some of the species included in the grizzly snaps are the scaleless blackfish – a tiny fanged creature, the eel-like idiacanthidae and the nightmare-inducing chauliodontidae with its comparatively massive front teeth.
‘We had thought fish only developed in coastal estuaries, and that once larvae were swept out to sea that was end of them,’ Professor Suthers said.
‘But in fact, these eddies are nursery grounds for commercial fisheries along the east coast of Australia.’
However, the fish weren’t the only thing found on the voyage, with four extinct volcanoes on the ocean-floor also discovered.
‘Investigator was actually in the area on other business… the ship is constantly mapping the sea floor as it travels, opening up a previously undiscovered and unknown world.
‘Our previous research vessel could only map to 3000 metres, missing important geological features like the calderas. Investigator can map the ocean to any depth (although it’s yet to find James Cameron).’
The cluster is 20 kilometres long and about six kilometres wide, and rises 700 metres off the ocean floor at the highest point.