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Last Updated: Friday, 6 August, 2004, 16:53 GMT 17:53 UK
New ocean species uncovered
Anglerfish, Census of Marine Life
This new find is unlike most anglerfish
Scientists exploring the depths of the mid-Atlantic ridge were excited to uncover a wealth of new species, including a bright red squid.

The two-month long, Norwegian-led expedition is part of the international Census of Marine Life (CoML).

The 10-year census, which began in 2000, aims to record all known marine life, in an aquatic "Doomsday Book".

The latest study used deep-sea probes to explore the undersea mountain ridge, running between Iceland and the Azores.

Mountain range

A team of marine scientists set out on 5 June to investigate the marine creatures living along the Earth's largest mountain range. The mid-Atlantic ridge rises to 1.3 miles above sea level in Iceland and the Azores, but is submerged in-between.

The expedition, which covered 4,000 miles and passed twice along the entire length of the underwater ridge, used a variety of sophisticated equipment, including underwater robots and video cameras, as well as a manned submersible.

The pioneering trip, which was the first of its kind, uncovered 300 new species of fish, and around 50 species of squid and octopus.

Hundreds of exciting new species have been found by the census

One of the new fish that the marine scientists hauled aboard their boat, was similar to an anglerfish - which has a kind of in-built "fishing rod" to attract prey.

However, the researchers say the fish is not quite like other anglerfish - which are yellow and flat, and usually live on the sea bed. The new find is brown and bloated and was discovered in mid-depths.

Scientists are also inspecting a bright red squid, which was found at a depth of about one mile, to decide whether it is a new species.

The decade long census, which will be completed in 2010, is divided into seven parts. As well as the mid-Atlantic ridge, scientists are examining the Pacific shorelines, the Gulf of Maine, hydrothermal vents, coastal salmon runs - and more.

"Most other marine surveys concentrate on commercially important species or charismatic animals like sharks or whales, but we are casting our net far wider," said Jesse Ausubel, Program Director of CoML.

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