An Extinct Volcanic Range Just Discovered off Australia Is Bristling with Weird Little Fanged Fish and Other Strange Life.

by Owen James Burke

fangedfish

“The scaleless blackfish.” Photo: CSIRO.

While on a recent expedition off Sydney, Australia, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) discovered four extinct volcanoes, estimated to be about 50 million years old. What might be more interesting, however, is the life that they found. Roughly 200 meters below the surface of the Tasman Sea, they recorded some strange deep sea life, which—unlike the four extinct calderas—they’ve yet to make much sense of.

larvae

A lot of these fish are familiar–yellowtail jacks, dolphinfish, gurnard. Some of the others, however, have not been specified. Photo: CSIRO.

University of New South Wales marine biology professor Iain Suthers, the Chief Scientist for the voyage aboard CSIRO’s R/V Investigator, was dumbfounded by how many tiny specimens were swarming the subsea mounts so far from shore.

“We had thought fish only developed in coastal estuaries, and that once larvae were swept out to sea, that was end of them, but in fact, these eddies are nursery grounds for commercial fisheries along the east coast of Australia.”

eelthing

This 7cm eel-like thing is part of the Family Idiacanthidae. We know little else about it. Photo: CSIRO.

Stay updated on R/V Investigator‘s findings on CSIRO’s news blog. -OJB

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