Fierce Snailfish (aka ‘Weird Fish’)

Fierce Snailfish (Genioliparis ferox)

This strange fish, Genioliparis ferox (Stein), was first described in 1978 from a single specimen and never seen afterwards. It was imaged at 2901 m at the Slope Base Site during ROPOS Dive R1757. It is a ferocious mid-water predator, with many sharp teeth.
Photo Credit: NSF-OOI/UW/CSSF; Dive R1757; V14

The Genioliparis ferox is an extremely rare fish, having only been sighted four times, and filmed twice since the Visions’ 14 cruise. It was dubbed the “weird fish” by the Visions’ 14 science party upon its sighting. The weird fish lives in Northeastern Pacific Ocean deep waters. Little is known about the fish and its habits other than that it is a ferocious predator.

It is about 35 cm in size, with a pale body and darker head, but due to lack of previous sightings we are unable to determine if that is the average size and coloration of the fish or not. It was found at 2901 water depth, swimming above the sediment at Slope Base. Similar to other snailfish, they have loose, gelatinous, scaleless skin (which can help distinguish them from other deep-sea fish, like cusk eels and rattails, that can be seen at Slope Base).

Priede, et al. 2020: