Technology & Science

Tasman Sea produces freaky species

Researchers find hundreds of new underwater species in Tasman Sea

Hundreds of new underwater species, including sharks and a giant sea spider the size of a dinner plate, have been discovered by scientists in the Tasman Sea between Australia and New Zealand.

The month-long expedition collected and photographed specimens at depths of more than two kilometres.

The voyage around Lord Howe and Norfolk Islands was the most complex survey ever conducted in Australian waters.

Researchers from Australia and New Zealand say the expedition has made some extraordinary discoveries.

One creature, the fangtooth, has teeth longer than its head. To avoid piercing the fish's brain when it shuts its mouth, the teeth fit into opposing eye sockets.

Then there's a wonky-eyed jewel squid its left eye is much larger than the right. Researchers believe the big eye looks out for food, while the small one watches for predators.

These new life forms have adapted to the harsh conditions beneath the ocean where water pressure is hundreds of times greater than at the surface.

In total, 500 species of fish and 1,300 types of invertebrates were discovered, including deep-sea sponges and a prickly shark.

It's expected to take more than a year to classify them all.

The spiders recovered from the icy depths are not related to those found on land. Some have bodies so tiny that their internal organs have been pushed down inside their hollow legs.

A giant fossilized tooth of an extinct shark known as a megalodon was also found, possibly lying undisturbed on the ocean floor for millions of years.