Few biological studies have investigated the hadal depths within oceanic trenches that plummet from 6000 meters (m) to the full ocean depth of almost 11,000 m. Here we present the deepest known in situ observations of fish: a hadal snailfish, Pseudoliparis amblystomopsis (Andriashev 1955), from 7703-m deep in the Japan Trench, which was obtained using a baited video lander. The maximum number of fish we observed was unexpectedly higher than trawl catch records of any known hadal fish. We describe changes in fish abundance and associated behaviors over time, including feeding, resting, and swimming. In light of these new observations, we reappraise the occurrence and diversity records of hadal fishes that have been constructed from fragmentary and often misleading information derived from historical explorations and global data sets. This reappraisal suggests that hadal fish diversity may be lower—although some hadal fish species may attain much larger populations—than previously thought.
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