Where there’s volcanoes, there’s usually lava, ash and UFOs … unless the volcanoes are underwater. Scientists who recently discovered four extinct volcanoes off the coast of Sydney also found something else … the waters in and around them were filled with bizarre nightmarish sea creatures that had never been seen before. Underwater aliens?
Both the volcanoes and the scary new fish came a surprise to the scientists from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) who were looking for lobster larvae while using satellite images and new sonar equipment on their new boat, the Investigator. They found the 50-million-year-old extinct volcanoes 155 miles (250 kilometers) off the coast of Sydney in June 2015. The largest of the calderas or craters is a mile (1.6 km) across and its rim is 0.4 miles (700 meters) high. The chain of four volcanoes stretches over 12 miles and will help scientists better understand how Australia and New Zealand separated at about the same time these volcanoes formed.
The bizarre fish were the second surprise bonus of the expedition. They were living with the lobster larvae, which the researchers were surprised to find in such large numbers so far from where they were hatched.
This tiny little monster is a scale-less blackfish. Its fangs deliver a mean bite and its tail can sting prey.
The idiacanthidae is an eel-like fish that appears to be a tiny member of the black dragonfish family.
The possible horror movie star of this fish school is the chauliodontidae (shown here again to make sure you have nightmares), a viper fish with long fangs and a face only a mother or a really hungry larger fish could love.
Whether these fish are new species or just new to the Sydney coastal waters, their discovery, along with the four underwater volcanoes, shows just how little we know about the watery depths of our planet.