More than 100 never-before-seen species and a huge underwater mountain are discovered off the coast of Chile during ‘mind-blowing’ deep sea expedition

It covers almost 70 percent of the Earth's surface, yet only five percent of our world's ocean has been explored.  Now scientists exploring the waters off the coast of Chile have discovered a huge underwater mountain that is home to an array of weird and wonderful creatures
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It covers almost 70 percent of the Earth’s surface, yet only five percent of our world’s ocean has been explored.

Now scientists exploring the waters off the coast of Chile have discovered a massive underwater mountain that is home to an array of weird and wonderful creatures.

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From deep-sea corals to lobsters, experts at the Schmidt Ocean Institute believe more than 100 new species are lurking down there.

“We far exceeded our expectations on this expedition,” said Dr. Javier Sellanes, who led the expedition.

‘You always expect to find new species in these remote and poorly explored areas, but the amount we have found, especially for some groups such as sponges, is astonishing.’

It covers almost 70 percent of the Earth's surface, yet only five percent of our world's ocean has been explored.  Now scientists exploring the waters off the coast of Chile have discovered a huge underwater mountain that is home to an array of weird and wonderful creatures

It covers almost 70 percent of the Earth’s surface, yet only five percent of our world’s ocean has been explored. Now scientists exploring the waters off the coast of Chile have discovered a huge underwater mountain that is home to an array of weird and wonderful creatures

From deep-sea corals to lobsters, experts at the Schmidt Ocean Institute believe more than 100 new species are lurking down there.  In the photo: a Chaunax

From deep-sea corals to lobsters, experts at the Schmidt Ocean Institute believe more than 100 new species are lurking down there.  In the photo: a Chaunax

From deep-sea corals to lobsters, experts at the Schmidt Ocean Institute believe more than 100 new species are lurking down there. In the photo: a Chaunax

The team came across the new mountain while exploring the Salas y Gomez Ridge.

This 3,000-kilometer-long underwater mountain range includes more than 200 seamounts stretching from the coast of Chile to Easter Island.

With the help of an underwater robot, the scientists were able to descend to a depth of 4,500 meters.

There they mapped a total of 20,377 square miles (52,777 square kilometers) of the seafloor.

This resulted in the discovery of four new seamounts – each with its own distinct ecosystem.

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The highest of these seamounts, which the team unofficially named Solito, is 3,530 meters high.

The team came across the new mountain while exploring the Salas y Gomez Ridge.  In the photo: a spiral coral

The team came across the new mountain while exploring the Salas y Gomez Ridge.  In the photo: a spiral coral

The team came across the new mountain while exploring the Salas y Gomez Ridge. In the photo: a spiral coral

With the help of an underwater robot, the scientists were able to descend to a depth of 4,500 meters.  Pictured: A rarely seen whiplash squid

With the help of an underwater robot, the scientists were able to descend to a depth of 4,500 meters.  Pictured: A rarely seen whiplash squid

With the help of an underwater robot, the scientists were able to descend to a depth of 4,500 meters. Pictured: A rarely seen whiplash squid

The team mapped a total of 52,777 square kilometers of the seabed.  In the photo: a stocky lobster

The team mapped a total of 52,777 square kilometers of the seabed.  In the photo: a stocky lobster

The team mapped a total of 52,777 square kilometers of the seabed. In the photo: a stocky lobster

For perspective, that’s more than four times taller than the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai!

Although the new creatures have yet to be formally named and identified, they were captured on camera by the underwater robot.

A bright red fish known as Chaunax was spotted at a depth of 1,388 meters, while elongated Dermechinus urchins were documented at 516 meters.

A curious, stocky lobster was spotted on coral at a depth of 669 metres, while stunning photos show a rarely seen whiplash squid at 1,105 metres.

Other new creatures discovered during the dive include a web-like sponge, a spiral coral and a spiny hedgehog.

A bright red fish known as Chaunax was spotted at a depth of 1,388 meters, while elongated Dermechinus urchins (pictured) were documented at 516 meters

A bright red fish known as Chaunax was spotted at a depth of 1,388 meters, while elongated Dermechinus urchins (pictured) were documented at 516 meters

A bright red fish known as Chaunax was spotted at a depth of 1,388 meters, while elongated Dermechinus urchins (pictured) were documented at 516 meters

Other new creatures discovered during the dive include a web-like sponge (pictured), a spiral coral and a spiny sea urchin

Other new creatures discovered during the dive include a web-like sponge (pictured), a spiral coral and a spiny sea urchin

Other new creatures discovered during the dive include a web-like sponge (pictured), a spiral coral and a spiny sea urchin

“Complete identification of species can take many years,” said Dr. Jyotika Virmani, executive director of the Schmidt Ocean Institute.

‘Dr. Sellanas and his team have an incredible number of samples from this astonishingly beautiful and little-known biodiversity hotspot.”

“Schmidt Ocean Institute is a partner of the Nippon Foundation – Nekton Ocean Census Program, which has a goal of finding 100,000 new marine species over the next decade and, once identified, these new species will be part of that list.”

'Dr.  Sellanas and his team have an incredible number of samples from this astonishingly beautiful and little-known biodiversity hotspot,” said Dr Virmani.  In the photo: a hedgehog

'Dr.  Sellanas and his team have an incredible number of samples from this astonishingly beautiful and little-known biodiversity hotspot,” said Dr Virmani.  In the photo: a hedgehog

‘Dr. Sellanas and his team have an incredible number of samples from this astonishingly beautiful and little-known biodiversity hotspot,” said Dr Virmani. In the photo: a hedgehog

Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) SuBastain deployed from research vessel Falkor at the start of a scientific dive

Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) SuBastain deployed from research vessel Falkor at the start of a scientific dive

Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) SuBastain deployed from research vessel Falkor at the start of a scientific dive

WHAT ARE SEA SPIDERS?

Sea spiders are marine arthropods distantly related to arachnids.

But like regular spiders, they typically have eight main appendages, which also allows them to absorb oxygen through diffusion.

They number approximately 1,300 individual species.

Sea spiders range in size from just a few millimeters to specimens as large as 50 centimeters.

They are cosmopolitan – meaning they live all over the world – and can survive in both marine and estuarine environments.

Although they are most commonly seen in shallow waters, they can also live up to 7,000 meters underwater.

Sea spiders are carnivorous and predatory or parasitic.

They generally eat other creatures, such as sponges, bryozoans and worms, while some take bites from mollusks but do not kill them completely.

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