Scientists from Australia and New Zealand have identified more than 100 new species of fish in the waters that divide the two countries.
The Tangaroa, a deep-sea research ship, probed the Tasman Sea for four weeks last year, snaring 500 species of fish and 1,300 species of invertebrates. The 24 researchers also found the fossilised tooth of a megalodon, an extinct shark that was twice the size of the great white shark.
The project, funded by Australia's National Oceans Office and New Zealand's Ministry of Fisheries, uncovered weird and wonderful sea dwellers, including fish with tongues covered in teeth and fish with hinged teeth that enable them to swallow large meals. Another creature, the Pacific spookfish, uses its long snout like a metal detector to search out the electrical impulses of prey concealed in the seabed.
Among the species hauled in from more than a mile beneath the waves was the dumbo octopus, which navigates through the water with the help of a pair of flaps. According to Dr Mark Norman, a senior curator at Museum Victoria, it looks like "the cartoon character Dumbo the flying elephant".[continued]
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