A breeding colony of 60 million fish has been discovered in Antarctica’s ice-covered Weddell Sea. The previously unknown ecosystem covers an area the size of Malta. https://t.co/9HOrso7EHy
— CNN (@CNN) January 14, 2022
These are fish with a transparent head and blood, and the only vertebrates that do not have red blood cells. To survive at low temperatures, the body of ice fish produces an antifreeze protein that stops the growth of ice crystals.
It is reported that the colony covers an area of more than 240 square kilometers and is a concentration of fish nests-pits about 15 centimeters deep and 75 centimeters in diameter and lined with small pebbles. On average, the nests are located at a distance of about 1.7 meters from each other, and each of them contains about 1500-2500 eggs.
It is noted that the breeding colony was first discovered in February 2021 by the German polar research vessel Polarstern, which conducted a survey of the seabed about half a kilometer under the ship. It used a car-sized camera system attached to the stern that transmitted images to the deck during towing. The discovery of such a cluster of fish nests, separated from the muddy seabed by a circle of stones, was a complete surprise for the researchers.