This pale, slithering creatures may look like something out of a sci-fi flick, but it is in fact a fish--a snailfish (Pseudoliparis amblystomopsis), to be precise. Amazing video footage of the snailfish, the first of a school of fish living in the deepest sea, was taken by the Hadal-Lander, a ROV with a titanium-encased high-resolution camera, in the Pacific's Japan Trench. These snailfish live almost five miles beneath the ocean surface, in pitch-black waters and under immense pressure.
To lure the elusive snailfish out into the open, the researchers strapped a dead mackerel to the lander; an energetic school of snailfish quickly located the appetizing carcass and made short work of it. The specimen seen above was recovered from a trap laid near the bait.
The researchers pronounced themselves shocked by the snailfish's vitality and sociability. "We thought the deepest fishes would be motionless, solitary, fragile individuals eking out an existence in a food-sparse environment," said researcher Monty Priede.