According to one study, snail fishes use their soft skeleton and partially open skull to survive the intense crushing pressure in some of the deepest areas of the ocean.
The researchers captured several snail fish to study how they had adapted to the deep sea and compared them with closely related species that live in shallow water.
The snailfish lives in some of the deepest areas of the ocean, known as the area of the fairies, between six and 11 km below the surface.
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It is believed that the area is among the most hostile areas of the earth, due to high pressure, darkness, low temperatures and scarce food resources.
Despite these problems, snail fish are the main predators in the food web of the hadal zone and are the most common and dominant fish family in the area.
The principal investigator, Wen Wang, and his colleagues found that the snail fish trapped in Mariana's pit had a transparent skin, an inflated stomach, soft bones and incomplete skulls, unlike other similar shallow-water species.
The research team discovered that osteocalcin, a gene that regulates tissue mineralization and skeletal development, is cut in the hadal snail.
The truncated gene can contribute to the unusually soft skeleton of the species by preventing bones from mineralizing.
It is believed that the not completely closed skull of the snailfish protects the brain by making sure that the crush pressure does not push it out.
The study also found multiple copies of genes that cause cell membranes to become more fluid, which researchers believe could help cells to function at extreme pressures in the deep sea, and the loss of several photoreceptor genes. resulting in poor light vision of the snail fish.
The researchers said the extensive internal and external adaptations of the deepwater snailfish have helped them withstand the immense pressures and challenges of living in the deep sea.
They came to the conclusion that the document, which was published in Ecology of nature and evolution, could help shed light on how species can adapt to extreme environments.