Antarctica Icefish Breeding Colony

The deep sea scientists have found an icefish breeding colony in the Weddell sea of Antarctica. The scientific name of the icefish is Neopagrtopsis ionah.

About the discovery

The species was discovered in February 2021. However, their breeding nests were discovered recently.

About the Ice Fish

The blood of the ice fish is transparent in colour. They do not have red blood cells. They do not have haemoglobin to transport oxygen. It is an evolutionary adaptation. It is not a happy evolution. They absorb oxygen through their skin. They have huge hearts. They were found at a depth of 90 metres to 200 metres.

About the ice fish nests

  • The nests were a foot wide. Each nest had more than thousand eggs. The males guard the nests from the predators such as starfish until the eggs hatch. The males also clean the nests now and then. They use their elongated jaw to clean the nests. Each nest is guarded by a single male ice fish.
  • Currently there are 60 million active nests. They are spread over 92 sqaure miles in the Antarctic sea.
  • This is the largest fish breeding colony discovered in the world.
  • These nests held a fish biomass of 60,000 tonnes.
  • The size of the nests is more than three – quarters a metre.

Unique Warm waters

The ice fish nests were found in a warm patch of water. This was unique and strange to the scientists. The temperature of the water here was 35 degrees Fahrenheit.

Abandoned nests

Around 31 miles from the current breeding spot, the scientists discovered another patch of nests. Those nests were abandoned. They are now occupied by corals and sponges.

Weddell sea

It is located in the southern ocean. More than 10,000 square kilometres of ice in the Weddell sea disappeared in 2002.  The sea has the clearest water.

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