The colony consists of about 60 million strange fish of the icefish species or its scientific name Neopagetopsis ionah. This fish is quite strange because its skull is transparent and apart from that, its blood is the same.
As quoted from CNN, Friday (1/14/2022) thus, the icefish is the only vertebrate so far whose blood cells are not red but transparent.
To survive in such cold temperatures, these fish develop antifreeze proteins in their transparent blood so they don"t become ice crystals.
This colony of millions of icefish was first discovered by the German Antarctic research vessel , Polarstern. They surveyed the ocean floor for half a kilometer by lowering the camera system.
"We then watched fish nest after fish nest for a full 4 hours and during that time, we studied an area of about 6 kilometers on the Antarctic ocean floor," said Autun Purser of the Alfred Wegener Institute in Bremerhaven.
"I"ve never seen anything like this in my 15 years as an ocean researcher. After that, we contacted experts who know this kind of fish. They said this fish is quite unique," he added.
In follow-up research, it turned out that the colony was 240 square kilometers wide. Most of the icefish nests are guarded by an adult fish each containing approximately 1,735 eggs. This discovery is surprising because there is such a large population of living things beneath Antarctica.
"This is a really surprising discovery in Antarctica , also significant. The amount of biomass that exists is surprising," said John Postlethait, professor of biology at the University of Oregon.