Pacific tonguefish live in molten sulphur cauldrons

Blackcheek tonguefish

From the BBC:

Fish dance on sulphur cauldrons

By Jonathan Amos
Science reporter, BBC News, San Francisco

These fish thrive in conditions that would kill most other fish

Scientists have witnessed the extreme lifestyle of tonguefish that like to skip across pools of molten sulphur.

The animals – a type of flatfish – were filmed on three expeditions to undersea volcanoes in the western Pacific.

Huge numbers were seen to congregate around the sulphur ponds which well up from beneath the seafloor.

Researchers from the University of Victoria, Canada, are trying to work out how the creatures survive in such a hostile environment.

“There are a lot of toxic heavy metals coming out of these active volcanoes,” explained Dr John Dower, a fisheries oceanographer. …

This type of habitat will support a range of specialised animals such as crabs, shrimp, mussels, and worms – but very few fish. And the flatfish seen on the Mariana Arc seamounts are a first. …

They have been assigned to the taxonomic genus of Symphurus but they are a species new to science.

The team intends to describe their behaviour and ecology in detail in a forthcoming journal paper.

Pacific fish research: here.

Records Smashed As Danish Angler Lands Monster 8-foot, 444-pound Halibut: here.

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