Monday, July 31, 2006

Submarine Mystery: No Photo Available

No Photo Available

The deepest a fish has ever been found in an ocean was in the Puerto Rico Trench at a depth of 27,460 feet (5.2 miles). The fish that currently holds this record is a species of cuskeel (family Ophidiidae) designated as Abyssobrotula galatheae ["Abby Gals"], about which scientists apparently know very little other than the detailed classification here. The species was classified by Nielsen in 1977. Almost 30 years have elapsed, now.

The government's NOAA site cannot seem to agree on the depth at which it was found. Look under Abyssopelagic Zone here where the zone is defined as between 13,100 feet and 19,700 feet. Not 27,000 feet, is it?. The latter depth is only found in the Mariana Trench (an entirely different ocean).

Why is no photo available? Why does Wikipedia have no article on this species? "Some of you guys read too much conspiracy theory stuff." - Chapomatic

I agree with Chap, by the way and admit that his quote was used out of context (exactly as he appears to have applied it, originally).

All of these inconsistencies (errors or conspiracies) kind of shake your faith in the accuracy of even government sites on the WWW, don't they? Hmmm!

2 Comments:

At 01 August, 2006 19:41, Anonymous Anonymous said...

NOAA page

Excerpt: "The Puerto Rico Trench is the deepest part of the Atlantic Ocean, with water depths exceeding 8,400 meters"

Other sites note that 8,370 meters is the deepest that anyone has seen that species, not that it specifically lives there. The available databases provide a band in which this fish is found, spreading from the Bathypelagic to the Hadal zones (~3000 to 8400 meters).

 
At 02 August, 2006 15:52, Blogger Vigilis said...

Anonymous, thanks for confirming the error in NOAA's paragraph on the Abyssopelagic Zone. The zone's actual depth (8,372m not 6,000) at the Puerto Rico Trench is consistent with the record fish sighting (Abyssobrotula galatheae).

Fundamental questions still remain relative to this species, however:

It was reportedly first seen in the PR Trench at 27,460 feet in 1977 (about 30 years ago). If it is also seen in shallower depths from 3000m [9843 feet] why are no photos or even drawings available?

The species could only have been identified with necessary detail if artificial light were used at such depth. Why then are there no photographs?

My guess is either the original classification was in error, or there have been no subsequent, confirming sightings of the species at such depth.

We want to see a certified photo.
With the technology now available (evidenced today even by the multiplicity of Wikipedia's arcane articles, for instance), one might think 30 years has been sufficient time to better document and confirm a longstanding record, no?

 

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