Minggu, 14 Februari 2021

News Scientists discover toothy 'top predator' in the deep sea - RADIO.COM

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The bite is definitely worse than the bark, in this case.

Marine biologist Yoshihiro Fujiwara discovered a deep-sea "top predator" while exploring off the coast of central Japan in 2016. The fish was large, and sported a toothy grin.

"Wow! We got a coelacanth!" they joked at the time.

Fujiwara was equal parts excited and cautious about the new specimen. "It was exciting," he told CBS News. "But this is a very well-studied bay." Fujiwara was convinced that someone had stumbled upon the unique fish before.

According to CBS News, no one had.

The spear-shaped, purple creature was new to reference books and colleagues, based on Fujiwara's research. Three more specimens of the interesting fished were found that year.

Upon further research, scientists found the fish to be part of the alepocephalid family, more commonly known as "slickheads." Their heads and gill covers feature no scales.

The team aptly named the fish the "yokozuna slickhead," after the top sumo wrestler of the time.

"I couldn't believe it," biologist Jan Yde Poulsen said. Poulsen is a research associate with the Australian Museum with a wide knowledge on slickheads. The first photo of the creature shocked Poulsen.

"It's a very grainy photo, almost like when you see a photo of the Loch Ness monster," he said. "The fact that you find a new species that weighs 25 kilos is just unbelievable."

Most slickheads feed off of plankton and weak swimmers, however, a study of this creature's stomach found that it actually eats other fish and supplements its diet with scavenging.

The yokozuna is a fierce swimmer, able to cover long distances at a depth of almost 8,500 feet. The creature also has a mouth full of rows of 80-100 teeth in its jaws. Scientists deemed the fish the lion or killer whale of the deep-sea community.

"We have so many dives worldwide," Fujiwara said. "But it's rare to see a top predator."

In terms of other discoveries that could be made in the deep sea, Fujiwara explains that there's still much to be uncovered. Many submersibles are "very noisy and use bright light," causing many predators to be warned of its presence and escape before being noticed.

"We have no idea what's down there," Fujiwara said.

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February 15, 2021 at 01:50AM
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News Scientists discover toothy 'top predator' in the deep sea - RADIO.COM

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