Robot fish shows how the deepest vertebrate in the sea takes the pressure | Science News

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Robot fish shows how the deepest vertebrate in the sea takes the pressure

Goo inside this snailfish keeps its flimsy body from being squashed

7:00am, January 3, 2018

ROBO-FISH  Tests with this robot snailfish, whose shape came from photographs of a real fish snapped from different angles, reveal why the deep-sea fish has a mysterious goo in its body.

It’s like having “an elephant stand on your thumb.”

That’s how deep-sea physiologist and ecologist Mackenzie Gerringer describes the pressure squeezing down on the deepest known living fish, some 8 kilometers down. What may help these small, pale Mariana snailfish survive elephantine squashing, says Gerringer of the University of Washington’s Friday Harbor Labs, is a body bulked up, especially at the rump, with a watery goo.

The snailfish family gets its nickname from the way some shallow-water species in thundering tides grip a rock with a little suction cup on the belly and curl up. “Quite cute,” Gerringer says, and maybe, if you squint, somewhat like a snail.

She and colleagues discovered the deepest fish in 2014 in the western Pacific Ocean’s Mariana Trench and described the newly named Psuedoliparis swirei November 28 in

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