Alien of the Deep

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by James Owen


Photograph courtesy Julius Nielsen, Greenland Institute of Natural Resources Looking like a creature from the Alien movies, this nightmarish "longhead dreamer" anglefish (Chaenophryne longiceps) was until recently an alien species to Greenland water. The dreamer, which grows to a not-so-monstrous 6.7 inches (17 centimeters) in length, is 1 of 38 fish species found around the Arctic island for the first time, according to a recent study led by biologist Peter Moller of the Natural History Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen. Ten of the species new to Greenland are new to science too. All 38 were discovered since the last such survey in 1992. Rising ocean temperatures due to global warming—which could be drawing unfamiliar fishes to the region—and increased deep-sea fishing may be responsible for the spike in fresh fish faces seen off Greenland, according to the study, published in February in the journal Zootaxa. (Learn about global warming.) —James Owen


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