(ORDO NEWS) — Australia’s CSIRO scientists have mapped the seabed in the Cocos Islands in the Indian Ocean for the first time, revealing a giant mountain surrounded by volcanic cones, ridges and canyons.
An underwater survey from the research vessel Investigator has shown that its slopes host biodiverse marine ecosystems with unknown species of fish and other organisms.
The team created detailed 3D images of the seabed beneath the coral-island archipelago, an Australian Outer Territory called the Cocos (Keeling) Islands Territory.
The maps cover coastal areas from 100 meters below the ocean surface and the abyssal zone, where the depth reaches almost five kilometers. It turned out that the islands are located on two peaks of a massive seamount.
In this area, various types of fish were discovered that scientists had not met before. At near maximum depth, an unknown species of blind eel was caught, covered with transparent gelatinous skin, whose females give birth to live fry, which is unusual for this group of animals.
In addition, scientists observed deep-sea batfish – species belonging to the family of Ogcocephalidae from the anglerfish detachment, outwardly similar to stingrays and preferring to live on the seabed.
They use their fins to “walk” and the esca, the bait organ, releases prey-attracting chemicals rather than glowing like most anglers do.
Other finds include flattened sea urchins, pelican bolshemouth, echidna fish, tripod spider fish Bathypterois guentheri, threadtail eel, tender bathysaurus, and pumice stone from the 1883 eruption of the Krakatoa volcano in Indonesia.
Bathypterois guentheri has long ventral fins that serve as “stilts” for fish to move along the bottom and allow them to catch krill in underwater currents.
Gentle Batisaurus are a species of deep-sea predatory fish that are hermaphrodites: they have functional female and male reproductive organs.
Finally, threadtail eels are notable for their long tail, thanks to which they can reach a meter in length and weigh only 50 grams.
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