Featured Image Credit: Adam Summers/University of Washington)
By: Sarah Sharkey
The Mariana snailfish may not be much to look at, but its sheer existence is an impressive accomplishment in itself. This snail fish lives at a depth where the pressure from the water above has been likened to “an elephant standing on your thumb” by a University of Washington press release.
Not only does this snailfish survive the crushing pressure, but also thrives in the dark depths of deepest place on earth. The Mariana Trench is in the western Pacific and is the deepest place known to man. It is extremely hard to study these depths because human divers simply cannot go there.
Researchers were able to study these snailfish by dropping cameras and traps into the unreachable depths. It is such a long drop from the surface that the equipment took 4 hours to fall into place. Eventually, the traps were raised and they held healthy and happy snailfish.
Researchers say that the reason these animals are so well fed is that there are a lot of prey and very few predators in the trench, so if you are a predator you have a lot to fill your belly. Specifically, these Mariana snailfish eat tiny crustaceans that are trapped in the trenches.
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