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. Crocker's Common Sense

    A little butter and lemon and ........ mmm....

    February 12, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Carnival Ring Toss Dude

    Oh no, Shrimp Baby has returned and brought his whole family to take revenge on the human race! Someone call Mike Dawson!

    February 13, 2012 at 12:35 am | Report abuse |
  3. R Ballard

    I was a shrimp fisherman at one time and we caught these thing all the time. We called them sea lice. And no we never tried to eat one.

    February 13, 2012 at 6:15 am | Report abuse |
  4. Sarge

    Looks like a Chestburster from Alien.

    February 14, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Kam

    A personal Demon cannot overshadow the gift of greatness from God, in life or death.

    February 15, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jeff

    This is what happens when you retrieve a little shrimp from the compresssion of being 4 miles down and bring him to the surface where he expands like a balloon.

    February 18, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Eric

    Tomorrow they are going to find bigfoot.

    February 19, 2012 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
  8. me

    Cnn simply doesn't do its research on scientific stories. This is the second article today that claims some type of biological anomaly being discovered when instead it is actually pretty standard. These are deep sea amphipods, they are very common in the deep ocean, and any marine biologist would know this. They also get much bigger then what CNN claims. The other story CNN ran was claiming that some fish with "wings and legs" was found in China, when in fact it was just some species of Sea Robin. Which again, is a pretty standard and common fish. CNN: Do you even have a science editor for your website.?..are they adequately educated?

    February 21, 2012 at 12:57 am | Report abuse |
  9. Emma

    That is not a shrimp because unless it is a carnivore(which it is not)it should not be so big . I think it is a sand crab because they can be small or big plus by its features it might be a little confusing witch is why scientists confused it with the two.

    February 21, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Emma

    That is not a shrimp because unless it is a carnivore(which it is not)it should not be so big . I think it is a sand crab because they can be small or big plus by its features it might be a little confusing witch is why scientists confused it with the two creatures ithink they should disect it and see if the organs and body parts match up with anything else recorded.

    February 21, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Max

      I'm much more interested in the "wrap it in bacon and see what it tastes like" test.

      February 22, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      Yeah, those pesky scientists haven't a single clue of what they are doing. Thank you for enlightening them on how to properly do their job. I also want to applaud you for pointing out that it is not carnivorous based merely on the photo (because the text did not state that), even though it had a viable food source of deep-sea snails. I, additionally, like the fact that you declared it not "shrimplike" without performing any dissection or other scientific study. We should fire all of those silly PhDs and hire you as the Minister of Marine Biology!

      February 28, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Emma

    That is not a shrimp because unless it is a carnivore(which it is not)it should not be so big . I think it is a sand crab because they can be small or big plus by its features it might be a little confusing witch is why scientists confused it with the two creatures I
    think they should disect it and see if the organs and body parts match up with anything else recorded.

    February 21, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • sweetness

      witch as in a wicked witch??? bah

      February 24, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Otasawian

    It's not a "Shrimp Like" creature, it's one of the creatures from the movie ALIEN. Destroy it before it starts to multiply and spray deadly acid all over the place.

    February 21, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
  13. troy

    why do they look like the tequilla worm monster in Poltergeist? im just saying

    February 23, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  14. matt houston

    yummy

    February 23, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Liesmith

    Kill it with fire!

    February 23, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
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