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Independent radiation of snailfishes into the hadal zone confirmed by Paraliparis selti sp. nov. (Perciformes: Liparidae) from the Atacama Trench, SE Pacific

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Thom Linley, Dr Johanna Weston



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2022, The Author(s).Snailfishes are among the most rapidly radiating families of marine fishes, resulting in a global distribution from the coastal intertidal to deep subduction trenches. The true diversity and distribution of deep-water snailfishes, particularly at hadal depths (>6000 m) and in the Southern Hemisphere, remain uncertain due to the rarity of samples. Here, we present the snailfish diversity at near-hadal and hadal depths in the Atacama Trench, which runs along the southwest coast of South America. Using free-fall baited cameras and traps, we documented at least three species of hadal snailfishes between 5920 and 7608 m based on distinct morphologies. One snailfish specimen was recovered from 6714 m, which we describe herein as Paraliparis selti sp. nov., based on a combined morphological and molecular taxonomic approach (16S, COI, and Cyt-b). Paraliparis selti sp. nov. is morphologically distinct from described snailfishes due to a combination of high number of; vertebrae (65) particularly the abdominal vertebrae (12), dorsal fin rays (60), anal fin rays (52), and caudal fin rays (8); comparatively low number of pectoral fin rays (18) which forms a deep notch with two widely spaced non-rudimentary rays. Micro-CT was used to minimise dissection of the specimen and to provide a digital holotype. Paraliparis selti sp. nov. highlights the importance of the Liparidae at hadal depths and provides evidence for at least two independent radiations of snailfishes into the hadal zone.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Linley TD, Gerringer ME, Ritchie H, Weston JNJ, Scott-Murray A, Fernandez V, Canto-Hernández J, Wenzhöfer F, Glud RN, Jamieson AJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Marine Biodiversity

Year: 2022

Volume: 52

Issue: 5

Online publication date: 01/10/2022

Acceptance date: 29/07/2022

Date deposited: 23/06/2023

ISSN (print): 1867-1616

ISSN (electronic): 1867-1624

Publisher: Springer Science and Business Media Deutschland GmbH


DOI: 10.1007/s12526-022-01294-0


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Funder referenceFunder name
Advanced European Research Council