Animals | February 2, 2023 1:20 PM | hangbony
This whalefish (family Cetomimidae) was spotted by Steve Haddock and his team on their recent R/V Western Flyer expedition 2,013 meters (6,604 feet) offshore of Monterey Bay. We’ve only encountered these obscure fish 16 times in 34 years of deep-sea exploration with our remotely operated vehicles (ROVs). Whalefishes lack external scales and pelvic fins, and their eyes are very reduced as adults.
The eyes’ lenses are lost after they transform from the larval stage, along with the ability to form images. Instead of relying on sight to survive, they use an enhanced capacity to feel their surroundings. They have a highly sensitive lateral line system, with sensory pores that run over the head and down the length of the body to help them feel vibrations in the water around them. Whalefishes have rarely been seen alive in the deep, and many questions remain regarding these remarkable fish. With each deep-sea dive, we uncover more mysteries and solve others.
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