A video of one of the world’s deepest known species of damselfish has been shared by one of the three people who described it. Chromis abyssus was discovered in 2007 and described in 2008 by ichthyological legends Richard L. Pyle, John L. Earle, and Brian D. Greene, of the Bishop Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii.
Specimens were collected at over 60m/197′ depths from a single locality in Palau when new techniques including mixed gas diving and rebreathers made discoveries in the mesophotic (50-150m/164′-492′) zone possible.
86 species of Chromis
At the time of publication, there were some 86 species of Chromis and 34 of those inhabit depths over 50m/164′. Their zooplankton diets versus benthic algae make survival possible for them down there, with nine species being restricted to deep water, and five of those species only being found over 60m/197′ depth prior to the Chromis abyssus discovery.
The Deep Blue Chromis, Chromis abyssus, was described along with four other new species, Chromis brevirostris, circumaurea, degruyi and earina, and apart from two specimens of C.brevirostris, all were found at depths over 85 meters/279 feet.
As Brian Greene states in the video, the team at the Museum were not only deep-diving pioneers but pioneers in digital recording of science including digital photos, video, open-access scientific papers on the internet, and the embedding of hyperlinks.
Because of digital records like theirs, we get to report on new fish as and when they are described and also get a glimpse of them going about their daily lives in their natural habitat.