After the Schmidt Ocean Institute’s research vessel plunged deep beneath the Pacific Ocean, it came back with a treasure trove of high-resolution footage featuring rare deep-sea creatures.
The remote operated vehicle (ROV), which explored Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, spotted and took samples of five previously unknown species of black corals and cones. The ROV also collected the first sample of the Great Barrier Reef’s ancient bedrock foundation, which is believed to be between 40 and 50 million years old.
But perhaps more exciting, the ROV also captured footage of the prismatic ambush predator Rhinopias agroliba, an extremely rare creature that has never been before in Australia. This tangerine-colored fish uses its pectoral fins to “walk” across the sea bed.
“It was very strange — it had this beautiful red color and it walked on its pectoral fins like a set of hands,” said Robin Beaman, a scientist from James Cook University. “That has never been seen in Australia — the closest we know of is in Hawaii. This is a huge range extension. It tells us a lot about how animals have spread around the globe and what ecosystems they favor.”