A group of researchers have discovered the most unusual sea creatures during investigations of two new marine parks. It is located 2,500 kilometres off Australia’s western coast, reported Sciencealert. The researchers found fish on stilts, creatures of ooze, deep-sea batfish and more.
Museums Victoria (MV) senior curator of marine invertebrates Tim O’Hara told Sciencealert, “We know the region is covered with massive seamounts formed during the dinosaur era and we know the region sits at a critical juncture between the Pacific and Indian Oceans.”
He added, “We are really excited about the prospect of discovering new species, perhaps even new branches of the tree of life, which until now have remained hidden beneath the waves in this unexplored region.”
The researchers on their way to the marine park territories observed an array of flying fishes.
Been photographing flying fishes all day every day. I think we’re up to 6 species now, but I’ll need to check. What a stunning group of fishes these are! #RVInvestigator #InvestigatingtheIOT @CSIRO @austmus @museumsvictoria @BushBlitz2 @ParksAustralia pic.twitter.com/H0UWi5zNt2
— KaiTheFishGuy (@FishGuyKai) October 5, 2022
In a blog, fish biologist Yi-Kai Tea explained that in the open ocean where predators are plentiful and hiding places are scarce, the ability to break out of the water and take to the air can make a difference between life and death. To maximize airtime, most flying fishes also have an asymmetrical caudal fin with a longer lower lobe, which they use to skim across the water.
Researchers on their 13,000-kilometer voyage uncovered ancient sea mountains, volcanic cones, canyons and ridges. They also collected a big treasure haul of species.
O’Hara estimates that up to one-third of these species may be new to science. Researchers also found a blind cusk eel, with loose, gooey see-through skin.
The researchers also found a deep-sea batfish. The cute little fish has stubby little fin legs with big feet.
MV senior collections manager Dianne Bray told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation explained, “These are tiny little anglerfish relatives … they’ve got a tiny little lure that sits in a depression on their snout that they can actually move to attract prey and they essentially walk over the floor on their modified arms and legs.”
Another fish which caught researchers’ attention was the tripod fish or tripod spider fish. It featured elongated pelvic fin rays and an elongated tail fin. It uses these to ‘stand’ motionless on the seafloor.
It's the #tripodfish, or tripod spiderfish!! 🐟🔭🕷️
— Bush Blitz (@BushBlitz2) October 18, 2022
That’s not all, they also discovered a hermit crab. To give themselves some structure, these goopy soft corals incorporate sand materials.
Researchers also discovered bony-eared assfish, fancy sea cucumbers, sea stars ad sea snails.