Giant-eyed fish discovered in Greenland

October 22, 2015 - 05:10

Discovery of a new species of fish confirms that the deep sea of the North Atlantic still hides many unexplored secrets.

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Biologist Jan Yde Poulsen discovered an unknown species of fish on a trip with the Greenland research vessel R/V Pâmiut. (Photo courtesy of Jan Yde Poulsen)

A small, elongated fish--with gigantic eyes--has been discovered off the Southeast coast of Greenland.

The little fish is the star attraction of a new scientific study, which purports that the fish belongs to a previously unknown species.

"We think of this area of the sea--just off the coast of Greenland--as relatively well understood. But this is an example of just how little we know about what’s hiding in the depths of the North Atlantic," says biologist Jan Yde Poulsen from the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources.

He has given the newly discovered species the Latin name Nansenia boreacrassicauda.

"It has huge eyes"

At the Zoological Museum in Copenhagen, fish researcher and Associate Professor Peter Rask Møller is excited about the discovery.

"It's a really interesting discovery. I completely agree that this is a new species. It looks very convincing," says Møller.

Scientists believe that the new species was not discovered until now because it is rare and lives in an area with almost no fisheries.

The fish itself is also very small--Jan Yde Poulsen says he doesn’t think it grows much beyond 30 centimetres in length.

"It has huge eyes that occupy nearly half of the head length, which is probably because they hunt in upper and deeper waters, where there’s little light. They are not caught very often far out in the Atlantic, "says Poulsen.

He adds:

"It can probably swim very fast, which is perhaps why it’s also a rare catch."

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Read the Danish version of this article on Videnskab.dk
 

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Translated by
Catherine Jex

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