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Australian Volcanoes and the Fish Who Call Them Home

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The waters of Sydney, Australia’s underwater volcanoes are warm, acidic, and not very friendly to budding life forms—but nature, as it so often does, has defied the odds!

Several species of fish call these underwater volcanoes home, including one especially unnerving find: the fanged scaleless blackfish.

Read on to find our more about this unique deep-sea dweller, as well as the accidental discovery of the volcanoes themselves!

A welcome surprise

A team of scientists from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization was in for a surprising treat when they discovered the fish larvae they were looking for, and a string of impressive underwater volcanoes they never even set out to find! The doubly significant discovery happened when the team’s research instrument, RV Investigator, detected a change in elevation several miles below the surface.

These volcanoes off Sydney’s coast may be newly found, but they are by no means young—in fact, estimates place them at about 50 million years old!

The fearsome-faced fish

The scaleless blackfish, one of the many odd residents of Sydney’s extinct volcanoes, doesn’t look like a fish you would see at your average lake or island destination. The aptly-named fish does not have any scales contributing to a multi-colored, varied appearance—instead, its small, slick body is comprised of an intimidating black sheen. The wide eyes and uniquely translucent fangs of the fish only add to its frightening, alien-like appearance.

Other species discovered in the region include fanged finds like the chauliodontidae, a creature known to scientists but not expected to be found in the acidic volcanic waters, and a mysterious near-translucent eel.

The scaleless blackfish may seem scary, but don’t worry—it tends to keep to the volcanic undersea, not the sunny shores of Australia’s most famous coast!


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