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Biology, Strange

Deep Sea Find: A Faceless Fish

A mysterious fish with no face has been rediscovered after more than 100 years.

Researchers in Australia have discovered a bizarre “faceless” deep-sea fish — last seen over 100 years ago.

The roughly 15-inch long fish, officially known as a Faceless Cusk, was rediscovered over the weekend more than 13,000 feet deep in waters south of Sydney by scientists with the Museums Victoria and the Australian government’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, the Guardian reported.

The fish isn’t winning any beauty contests: it has no visible eyes, and an entirely featureless head, save for two nostrils. The last one of its kind was seen by scientists aboard the HMS Challenger near Papua New Guinea in 1873.

“This little fish looks amazing because the mouth is actually situated at the bottom of the animal so, when you look side-on, you can’t see any eyes, you can’t see any nose or gills or mouth,” chief scientist and expedition leader Dr. Tim O’Hara told the Guardian Wednesday. 

… Since May 15, the scientists have been engaged in a month-long study of the ocean’s abyss stretching from northern Tasmania to central Queensland. They’ve so far found bright red spiky rock crabs, bio-luminescent sea stars and giant sea spiders the size of a dinner plate.

“The experts tell me that about a third of all specimens coming on board are new totally new to science,” O’Hara said. “They aren’t all as spectacular as the faceless fish but there’s a lot of sea fleas and worms and crabs and other things that are totally new and no one has seen them ever before.”

The voyage has also dredged up a bunch of garbage – which O’Hara said was just as “amazing” as the sea life they’ve found.

“There’s a lot of debris, even from the old steam ship days when coal was tossed overboard,” he said. “We’ve seen PVC pipes and we’ve trawled up cans of paints.

“It’s quite amazing. We’re in the middle of nowhere and still the sea floor has 200 years of rubbish on it.”


Typhlonus nasus is a species of cusk-eel found in the Indian and Pacific Oceans at depths from 3,935 to 5,100 m (12,910 to 16,732 ft). This species grows to 28.5 cm (11.2 in) in standard length, and is the only known member of its genus.
The fish is named after its appearance due to having an extremely reduced “face”. The mouth is located on the underside and the front and sides of the head display no recognizable features of a face similar to other fishes or eels, such as eyes.


We probably look pretty strange to them too. Wait, I take that back. They have no visible eyes. Well, they do have eyes, but under the surface. It’s an evolution thing. If we lived where they do long enough, we might look more like them. 

T. nasus is found in the Indian and Pacific Oceans and lives at depths ranging from 3,935 to 5,100 meters (12,910 to 16,732 feet). It is the only known member of its genus. And while the faceless fish appears to have no eyes, they are present but buried way under the surface.


The diversity of life here is amazing and cool. I hope we can help some of it survive the mass extinction event we are now experiencing.


About Xeno

E pluribus unum.


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