August 22, 2007—
With a fearsome grin fit for a movie monster, this viperfish is a real-life predator that lurks in one of the world's most remote locations.
An international team of 31 researchers found this and other strange animals while exploring the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, an underwater mountain range that runs from Iceland to the Azores islands west of Portugal (see Europe map
Over the course of five weeks, the team cataloged a host of exotic worms, colorful corals, unusual sea cucumbers, and weird fish. Clearly, viperfish has plenty to eat.
Many of the species found on the ridge are rare and had only been discovered in recent years, scientists said. At least one species found during the survey—a tiny crustacean called a seed shrimp—is thought to be new to science.
"It was like going to a new country," said expedition leader Monty Priede of Britain's University of Aberdeen.
The survey was coordinated by the Norway-based MAR-ECO project and the Census of Marine Life program.
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Photograph by David Shale, courtesy University of Aberdeen