Clear clams found off Hokkaido provide window into thriller of the deep sea

The Japanese archipelago perches on the fringe of the Eurasian tectonic plate, the place the Philippine and Pacific plates slide beneath it. Due to this distinctive convergence, the japanese fringe of the Japanese coast shortly drops off right into a sequence of trenches, a few of which lengthen practically 10,000 meters beneath the floor — making them among the many deepest on the planet. The organisms that inhabit these punishing environments are little-known, with solely a handful of surveys having been performed.

Current sampling means that the creatures who make these inky depths their dwelling are principally polychaete worms, crustaceans — just like the predatory amphipod Rhachotropis saskia found in 2018 — and bivalve mollusks. They have to eke out their existence in an alien panorama, devoid of sunshine and poor in vitamins. And certainly, they seem like aliens — many are eyeless and colorless.

A number of the mollusks that dominate these environments had been described in a 2020 paper written by Gennady Kamanev of the Nationwide Scientific Middle of Marine Biology on the Russian Academy of Sciences. Within the publication, he catalogs a sequence of outstanding clams from the Kuril-Kamchatka trench, east of Hokkaido. The three newly found species belong to a household often known as the Thyasiridae, a lot of which have tailored to deep sea habitats. Thyasirids are additionally ample within the neighboring Japan Trench.

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