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. Brian

    These look like prehistoric shrimp from the age of the dinosaur or something....hopefully the shrimpers didn't catch all of them. The shrimp at least deserve to live freely in their natural environment so they aren't placed in a lab or cooked and eaten.

    February 3, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  2. JamieIRL

    YUM

    February 3, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ELH

    These are obviously mutants, caused by exposure to the Bikini Island nuclear tests. There are bigger ones that will probably destroy Tokyo unless stopped by Godzilla.

    February 3, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      i was getting hungry for seafood until i read your post

      February 3, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      Ahahahahaha!!!

      February 3, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Buster Bloodvessel

      Don't eat it – try to communicate with it.

      February 3, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Christie M. R.

    Great – yet another creature we will feel we should sell for profit to eat. I am not a vegetarian, but I do believe we need to control ourselves and eat in moderation. Not everything is a commodity. Not everything is made to destroy. We should be happy with what we have, and stop being so greedy.

    February 3, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • lled789

      The first thing I thought of when I saw the pic of that dude holding it was “I would love to sink my teeth into that thing!! I bet it taste great!!” If you don’t want to that’s fine….more for me.

      February 3, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Badmoonrising

      Happy? Content? Satisfied with what we have? Never happen.

      February 3, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Buster Bloodvessel

      "We should be happy with what we have, and stop being so greedy." I'll be happy when I've lived forever and learned everything and been to every planet in the infinite universe and flown inside a sun and brought all my dead friends back and written a thousand books and played my guitar at Carnegie Hall, and not before then. And that's only half of what I want, because I want that for all my friends too and even my enemies. Infinite power and knowledge still isn't enough for me because I am a human being.

      February 3, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • KKDenver

      I bet you'd taste great with some BBQ sauce

      February 3, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Z

      Yummm! Shrimp cocktail?!

      February 3, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Whoa

      Where in the article does it mention eating these creatures? Fishing for them? Flipping them for profit? Don't be such a cynic...we don't even know if they taste good yet.

      February 3, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  5. stefanielynn

    Looks like dinner to me.

    February 3, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Paul

    Yeah but how do they taste?

    February 3, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  7. CMFP

    I can see the Red Lobster commercial now. Good by popcorn shrimp... Hello deep friend giant trench shrimp platter.

    February 3, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • patrick

      Red Lobster would stuff popcorn shrimp into these – like a turducken with shrimp

      February 3, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Buster Bloodvessel

      More like "corncob" shrimp than popcorn.

      February 3, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  8. BOMBO ©

    Bottom feeder. Scavenger. Dirty.

    February 3, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Buster Bloodvessel

      Shrimp and catfish are bottom-feeders, and I think lobsters are too.

      February 3, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Roz

      So are lobsters...yum!

      February 3, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • TruAmerikan

      Yes they are. YUMMMM!!!!! King Crab too!!!

      February 3, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Dr Zoidberg

    OH NO! That's my cousin Eddie. Put him back! Put him back!

    February 3, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  10. johnharry

    put them back in the water, and leave the area. Man has already screwed up everything, leave them alone

    February 3, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Shaun

    nom nom!

    February 3, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Lori

    Scampi

    February 3, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  13. sh

    In South America they are called Logostinos,...on the menu at almost every restraunt....and this is news to scientists???

    February 3, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Roberto

      RE: sh

      It's "langostinos," and those are what we call squat lobsters or crayfish.

      February 3, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  14. mike

    SHRIMMMMM!!!!!

    February 3, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  15. boytjie

    Hmm it just needs some peri peri sauce and accompanied by a beer

    February 3, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
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