Australian scientist Al Graham, on the NORFANZ expedition, examines a pair of slickheads retrieved from a trawl. Slickheads (Alepocephalus australis) are common in waters deeper than 1,000 metres. Their soggy, limp appearance is due to their watery flesh and weak bones. This helps reduce their weight: they do not have a swim bladder for buoyancy, as gas is too compressible in the great pressure at these depths. They are found in schools near the sea floor, and feed on shrimps, jellyfish, salps (sea squirts) and comb jellies.
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This image has been provided courtesy of the NORFANZ partners – Australia’s National Oceans Office and CSIRO and New Zealand’s Ministry of Fisheries and NIWA. The use of this image does not imply the endorsement of the NORFANZ partners of the content of this entry.