Mysterious Fish Discovered in Deepest Part of the Pacific

July 8, 2016

In April, we shared the story of the ghost-like octopus discovered in Hawaii, which earned the affectionate nickname "Casper" from online fans. Now, just a couple of months later, a ghost-like fish has been discovered in the deepest trench of the Pacific Ocean, the Mariana Trench. Video of the white fish, which looks a bit like an eel in its body shape, was captured during an expedition on the NOAA ship Okeanos Explorer.

Unlike the octopus, this fish species has exceptionally reduced eyes with very little pigment. The Mariana Trench is about 36,000 feet deep, the equivalent of about 6.8 miles. While the average atmospheric pressure here on dry land is around 14.7 pounds per square inch (PSI), the bottom of the Mariana is over 16,000 PSI. Only very specialized submersibles are capable of exploring these unfamiliar waters, which is why there is so much left to discover. That makes it the final frontier here on Earth.

This discovery is particularly exciting for scientists because the fish has been identified as a member of the Aphyonidae family, making it the first one ever to be found alive. It's a momentous moment for the intrepid team that operates Okeanos Explorer.

Up until this point, scientists have been unsure whether this kind of fish was pelagic, meaning it lived in open water, or whether it was a bottom dweller. NOAA's video captures it cruising along the ocean floor, which has given scientists some answers about its nature. They also discovered that its gelatinous body is free from scales.

Discoveries like these are especially exciting for marine life enthusiasts like ourselves, and many of our guests that join us on our Maui snorkeling excursions. There's nothing quite like exploring an environment full of fascinating creatures, all going about the business of their survival while we observe them. If you've never done a snorkeling trip in Hawaii, you won't want to miss it. There's nothing quite as thrilling as the first time you see a new reef, teeming with colorful fish and a myriad of other unique marine animals.

If you need assistance with your Maui ocean tour activities, you'll find our contact information at the bottom of the page. Right now, we're offering a 10% discount for online bookings! Mahalo!

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