February 3rd, 2012
01:49 PM ET

'Supergiant' shrimplike creatures found off New Zealand

Scientists say they recently captured “supergiant” deep-sea crustaceans nearly a foot long - the likes of which have rarely been seen - in an ocean trench off New Zealand.

The seven amphipods measure about 28 centimeters (about 11 inches) long, which is 10 times the length of normal deep-sea amphipods and nearly three times the size of what are considered giant amphipods, Scotland’s University of Aberdeen said Thursday.

They are the biggest whole specimens of supergiants ever recorded, according to the university.

The team’s deep-sea cameras also caught footage of a supergiant that scientists estimated was about 34 centimeters (13 inches) long.

Though the creatures may remind observers of shrimp, amphipods are an order apart.

Scientists with the university and New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research were looking for deep-sea snailfish when a trap made the unexpected catch.

“(After) the traps came on deck … I stopped and thought, ‘What on Earth is that?’ whilst catching a glimpse of an amphipod far bigger than I ever though possible,” the voyage’s leader, Alan Jamieson of the University of Aberdeen's Oceanlab, said in a news release. “It’s a bit like finding a footlong cockroach.”

The capture was made about 7 kilometers (more than 4 miles) below the surface, the deepest point that supergiants have been found, the university said.

Supergiants were found a few times off Hawaii in the 1970s and 1980s but haven’t been reported since, according to the university.

The scientists will now try to determine whether the species they caught are the same as those found off Hawaii decades ago.

December 2011: Giant cannibal shrimp worry Gulf Coast watchers

October 2010: New fish species found deep below ocean surface

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Filed under: Animals • Nature • New Zealand
soundoff (308 Responses)
  1. Robert

    Needs to be boiled with Kabasa sausage and dipped in melted butter.

    February 7, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  2. fellicity

    Do these remind anyone else of the face suckers in Alien?

    February 7, 2012 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • dolly

      absolutely! icky!

      February 8, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Drew

    They probably aren't edible; deep water creatures generally have high levels of ammonia.

    February 7, 2012 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Nick

    Can we eat it?

    February 8, 2012 at 3:27 am | Report abuse |
  5. JLC

    Finally some jumbo shrimp that are actually jumbo!

    February 8, 2012 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  6. tim

    wow...can we eat them?

    February 8, 2012 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  7. PMac

    Crab peo-ple...crab peo-ple!

    February 8, 2012 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. roket

    Why do people have to study creatures? Why not just take a picture and place them back where they found them. Suppose these are the only ones? What then? You killed them!!!!

    February 9, 2012 at 2:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Rbnlegnd

      There's no way that they are part of a species with a total population of 7, all of whom wandered into a collection trap. And when you pull a specimin up from that depth, you can't put it back, it's dead at that point. The conditions on the surface are just too different, the bug isn't going to survive the trip to the surface, even if you could get it back down to the depths.

      February 22, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  9. bilbo baggypants

    Awesome! We haven't discovered a lot of stuff down there yet!

    February 9, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  10. FU

    "...and they were delicious!!"

    February 9, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • queenbee

      Which is more gross, their weird size or the absence of the normal pigment?

      February 20, 2012 at 12:24 am | Report abuse |
  11. bubabanana

    congratulations. humans find a new species, a rare species and what do they do? They kill it. and some wonder why the world would be better off without the human psycho organism destroying everything it finds.

    February 10, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Whoa there

      Calm down. Where in the article does it say that they killed the specimens? Also, they weren't TRYING to catch these particular organisms...they found them by chance.

      Just because we haven't seen them before doesn't mean they are rare. I can tell you have some type of strange bitterness towards the human race as a whole, but you shouldn't jump to unfounded conclusions...

      February 10, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      I couldn't agree more. BOOOOO!!!!

      February 12, 2012 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Phoenix

      In reference to the other replies...While the article didn't say they were going to kill the creatures they found. The video shows them in jars of preservative fluids. They're dead.

      February 15, 2012 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Stop being naive and foolish. These people are scientists. It is important that they catalog these new species. The creatures are dead anyways if they were brought up to the surface. Humans are animals and animals kill other animals all the time. Why should humans be restricted from doing what comes naturally to ourselves and just about everything else? These creatures are amazing and by doing this work the scientiests may actually save a species like this by proving that its habitat needs to be protected from man, how bout that?

      February 17, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • queenbee

      Whoa there: the shrimp most likely died when exposed to the air and the lower pressures of the atmosphere. Deep sea creatures cannot usually survive our atmosphere as it implodes their insides–when creatures live with tons of pressure are brought up to new depths without being contained in a special hyperbaric chamber- which keeps their normal living pressure/conditions constant; -they usually DIE. This is a fact.

      February 20, 2012 at 12:28 am | Report abuse |
  12. strove

    Put anotha shrimp on the barbi

    February 10, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kirk Lindamood

      what i want to know is how do they TASTE?

      February 14, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  13. whatever

    Obama says all my Muslim Family and Muslim Brothers and Sisters Plus my twin Barry can eat these ,sure hope they Don't taste like Bacon. Ali Akbar

    February 11, 2012 at 6:22 am | Report abuse |
  14. tilmeismoney

    Those things, are aliens from another planet. once you eat one it takes over your body.

    February 11, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  15. john marvin

    sautee inbutter with fresh garlic and red onions

    February 12, 2012 at 9:05 am | Report abuse |
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