SORRY, CAN’T PLACE THE FACE

Herald Sun - - NEWS - MARK DUNN

A RARE, and rather un­pretty, face­less fish has been re­dis­cov­ered af­ter almost 150 years by sci­en­tists dur­ing deep-sea re­search in Aus­tralia’s mys­te­ri­ous east­ern abyss.

The “face­less fish” was re­trieved from the crush­ing and almost pitch­black depth of four kilo­me­tres be­neath the ocean sur­face dur­ing the first-ever de­tailed ex­plo­ration of the abyss by an in­ter­na­tional team aboard the CSIRO re­search ves­sel In­ves­ti­ga­tor.

When it was brought up in Jervis Bay and landed on the In­ves­ti­ga­tor’s deck, sci­en­tists were ini­tially baf­fled by the gelati­nous crea­ture be­fore con­firm­ing its first and only other dis­cov­ery was in 1874 dur­ing the voy­age of the HMS Chal­lenger, the first round-the-world oceano­graphic ex­pe­di­tion.

For­mally la­belled the face­less cusk, the crea­ture has no vis­i­ble eyes — a re­dun­dant fea­ture at such depth and dark­ness — and a mouth on the un­der­side of its head.

The crea­ture, to be dis­played for the first time at Mel­bourne Mu­seum from to­day, forms part of a col­lec­tion of some 5000 species re­trieved dur­ing the abyss ex­pe­di­tion, with dozens be­lieved to be pre­vi­ously un­known va­ri­eties of marine and bi­o­log­i­cal or­gan­isms.

The face­less fish is a rare find. Pic­ture: MARK STE­WART

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