Deep Eels

Swarm of eels found in the abyssal deep sea.

Voyage to the bottom of the sea….literally! 

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

The deep ocean is cold, dark — and the least explored place on Earth. Scientists have had a hard time figuring out what lives down there! 

So Astrid Leitner from the University of Hawaii and other oceanographers dived in! They sent a video camera over three thousand feet down to the ocean bottom. They baited the camera with some fishy snacks about five feet away, then sat back to watch the action.

And? One video caught a swarm of more than one hundred eels! They were a deep-sea species called the cutthroat eel. In fact, this was the largest number of cutthroat eels recorded in one place.

Turns out, the sea floor supports more life than we thought. And that has big implications for ocean explorers. What other new species – or monsters? – are lurking in the deep?!

Next time you’re swimming in the deep ocean and something touches your foot, blame the eels! Or no–that’s just your other flipper.

Reference: Astrid B. Leitner, Jennifer M. Durden, Craig R. Smith, Eric D. Klingberg, Jeffrey C. Drazen. Synaphobranchid eel swarms on abyssal seamounts: Largest aggregation of fishes ever observed at abyssal depths. Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers, 2020; 103423 DOI: 10.1016/j.dsr.2020.103423.