Maybe it has a naturally charming disposition, or maybe it’s been watching a lot of Bob Ross. Either way, the happy little fish seen above has just made headlines for being the deepest fish ever recorded—at a staggering 26,831 feet (8178 meters) below the ocean's surface.
The Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, or JAMSTEC, announced late last week that its researchers had captured footage of the snailfish deep in the Mariana Trench, beating the old record for witnessing deep-sea life by 85 feet. Their vessel, Kairei, was lowered into the trench with 4K high-definition cameras and loaded with bait in the hopes of attracting visitors. As the Kairei continued its descent, passing the shrimp-like amphipods, several snailfish—believed to be the same Mariana snailfish species first spotted in 2014—appeared. Hours later, another was spotted, this time at the record 26,831 feet. That's more than five miles down.
Scientists continue to be amazed with findings in the little-explored trench. Considered the deepest part of the world’s oceans, the hadal zone is home to creatures that endure oppressive conditions—total darkness, extreme pressure, and chilly temperatures. It’s believed no fish can survive an environment deeper than about 27,000 feet. This snailfish likes to live on the edge.