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Faceless Fish Emerges From the Australian Abyss

Jun 01, 2017 11:09 AM EDT

The Australian wildlife is truly a strange bunch, but rarely do their marine animals get much attention. Recently, an array of strange and wonderful deep sea creatures was unearthed during a voyage to the parts of the ocean never before explored.

According to a report from Phys Org, the month-long journey focused on waters off the eastern seaboard that reached up to 2.5 miles underwater. A region that is far too deep for humans to reach, the scientists used nets, sonar and deep-sea cameras to help them take a peek at what lies beneath. Several thousand specimens were retrieved so far.

One of the weird creatures they encountered was a faceless fish that's only been previously recorded once in Papua New Guinea in 1873. The faceless fish had no eyes nor a visible nose, according to Tim O'Hara of Museums Victoria. Its mouth is found underneath and it measures at about 40 centimeters.

"This little fish looks amazing because the mouth is actually situated at the bottom of the animal so, when you look side-on, you can't see any eyes, you can't see any nose or gills or mouth," O'Hara told The Guardian via satellite phone. "It looks like two rear-ends on a fish, really."

The environment in this region has intense pressure, freezing temperatures and very little food, so the deep-sea creatures develop unique traits for survival.

In the depths these animals are found, its often too dark to need eyes or creatures produce their own light with bioluminescence. Most are small and slow with a jelly-like body.

Another creature found during the expedition was a carnivorous sponge with lethal silicon spines they use to hook small crustaceans for food.

"We've got 27 scientists on board who are leaders in their fields and they tell me that around one-third of what we've found are new species," O'Hara said.

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