There’s A Fish That Melts If It Reaches The Surface Of The Ocean

The bottom of the ocean is like an alien world. It’s hard to believe that some of the amazing creatures who live there are living things on Earth rather than the characters in a science fiction novel. Recently, scientists have discovered another cool fish that is stranger than fiction.

The Pink, Blue, And Purple Atacama Snailfish

The pink, blue, and purple Atacama snailfish is so new that it only has a preliminary name. After scientists have more time to study the amazing species, they will give it a shorter, permanent name. The largest of these fish is about 10 inches long.

NOAA OKEANOS EXPLORER Program, Gulf of Mexico 2014 Expedition

Snailfish are certainly not a new species. There are hundreds of varieties of snailfish, many of them translucent, that live in different parts of the world. This snailfish is the first to be discovered living so deep in the ocean.

What Does It Look Like?

The fishes have a large head, two big fins attached to the head, and a long, thin, curvy body that resembles that of a tadpole. The fish are so translucent that its tiny bones can be seen through its skin. Unlike many fish that humans are more familiar with, this fish has a sleek and slick body without any scales


The fish’s jaw and teeth are some it is biggest bones, giving it the ability to tear apart and chew prey. The fish’s strongest bone is one in the inner ear that helps the top-heavy fish balance in the water. As the temporary name suggests, the fish come in pink, blue and purple tints.

What Is It Up Against?

It is remarkable that a little snailfish can survive at the bottom of the Atacama Trench. The amount of pressure is extremely high. If a human were to that deep in the ocean, he or she would have to withstand almost 1,000 worth of pressure on the body.

Since the snailfish’s habitat is about five miles deeper than the heat provided by sunlight, it must also withstand very cold temperatures that are usually only a few degrees above freezing. There is also a limited menu of what the fish can eat at this depth of the ocean.

How Does It Survive?

As mentioned earlier, this fish has tiny, fragile bones. These bones are not what holds the fish together. This fish has a gel matrix throughout its body that protects it. While more research needs to be done to prove it, it’s quite likely that the gel is what gives the snailfish a translucent appearance.

NOAA OKEANOS EXPLORER Program, Gulf of Mexico 2014 Expedition

The gel helps the fishes body to absorb any impact that its tiny bones can’t withstand. Scientists who brought these tiny fish to the surface said that the fish melted at the surface. The intense pressure environment and the gel within its body work together to allow the fish to survive. This amazing fish is just one example of the amazing species waiting to be discovered at the bottom of the ocean.