A previously unknown living creature was found in the depths of the Pacific Ocean

An extensive fault zone at the bottom of the central part of the Pacific Ocean with an area of ​​about 4.5 million square meters. km, known as the Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ), is considered a treasure trove of rare metals and minerals. However, scientists recently discovered previously unknown creatures here at a depth of about 5 km.

They belong to xenophyophores (Xenophyophoroidea) - a superfamily of unicellular protozoa - foraminifera. One of the most abundant microorganisms living at extreme depths, they were first described as early as the late 19th century.

The recently discovered species are representatives of a previously unknown genus Abyssalia, named after their habitat - the abyssal zone located at a depth of over 3000 meters. During an expedition in 2018, on board the research vessel RV Kilo Moana, scientists discovered two representatives of the genus Abyssalia - A. foliformis and A. sphaerica in the western part of the CCZ.

Xenophyophores are covered with shells of microscopic adhered particles. In the case of abyssals, their shells consist of a homogeneous spongy mesh without a distinct surface layer.

A. sphaerica is spherical, somewhat dandelion-like, while A. foliformis is flatter and leaf-like.