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Check out the deepest-swimming fish ever caught on camera

An image shows snailfish swimming around a baited camera more than 27,000 feet below the surface in the Izu-Ogasawara Trench off the coast of Japan.
University of Western Australia
An image shows snailfish swimming around a baited camera more than 27,000 feet below the surface in the Izu-Ogasawara Trench off the coast of Japan.

Updated April 5, 2023 at 7:49 AM ET

Those who've wondered what lurks in the dark depths of the ocean have a new answer.

Scientists working off the coast of Japan say they've managed to capture images of the deepest-swimming fish ever caught on camera.

The unknown snailfish species, of the genus Pseudoliparis, was recorded swimming in the Izu-Ogasawara Trench at a depth of 8,336 meters — or more than 27,000 feet down.

"We have spent over 15 years researching these deep snailfish; there is so much more to them than simply the depth, but the maximum depth they can survive is truly astonishing," University of Western Australia professor Alan Jamieson said in a press release.

The fish was recorded during an August 2022 mission to several trenches around Japan, which included teams from the Minderoo-UWA Deep Sea Research Centre and Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology. The trip was part of a decade-long study of the world's deepest fish populations.

Researchers released video footage from baited cameras that show several of the whitish-blue deep-sea fish swimming by. The particular fish that holds the record for the deepest ever found was a small juvenile.

On the same trip, researchers collected two snailfish from traps in the Japan Trench at a depth of 8,022 meters, which they believe to be the only fish caught deeper than eight kilometers.

"The Japanese trenches were incredible places to explore; they are so rich in life, even all the way at the bottom," Jamieson added.

According to Guinness World Records, the previous record for the deepest fish was a Mariana snailfish (P. swirei) observed at 26,831 feet in the Mariana Trench in the western Pacific on May 18, 2017.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.