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. Tim

    157 Japanese fishing boats are currently in route.

    February 3, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • dolly

      that is so f'n funny!

      February 8, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill


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

    Couple more and you got yourself a cocktail heh heh

    February 3, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Food Channel Host

    Wow! What do they taste like!!

    February 3, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • TheZel

      cocktail sauce silly

      February 3, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • dreamer96

      You see this is exactly why we should be afraid of alien contact...the first thing we do when we find a new life form is roll it in beer batter and fry it. or boil it and serve it with cocktail sauce, or throw it over a fire and broil it...hum looks yummy..

      February 3, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • BRod


      February 3, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Menace_One

    Id pay $14 a pound for one of those.

    February 3, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Killing_time

    They better catch a supergiant paper cup of cocktail sauce. That looks delicious!

    February 3, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Norm

    You could at least explain "why" God hates shrimp.
    Their better be a good reason for it or you can go jump in a lake.

    February 3, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Office Junkie

    was it just me, or did anyone else think the guy in the picture looked like Ewan McGregor?

    February 3, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • FoodNetwork

      Bobby Flay. I had high hopes he was already shipping them to his restaurants.

      February 3, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • TORI ©

      I would hope Bobby Flay wouldn't even consider that. My Iron Chef dad has given this a thumbs down. This mutant is considered a bottom feeder and the waters off of NZ may be loaded with radioactive materials. Any restaurant that tries to capitalize on this will only do it to increase their profit margin.

      February 3, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • poodlebites

      Really? And you eat Gulf shrimp and oysters?

      February 3, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • works4me

      The Gulf shrimp are fine. What disturbs me is that Publix (major southern supermarket chain) buys their shrimp from Taiwan. Now that's nasty... I refuse to eat 'em.

      February 3, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |

      "Any restaurant that tries to capitalize on this will only do it to increase their profit margin." – TORI

      Holy crap. No way? That's the whole point of owning a business.. increasing the profit margin.

      February 3, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • bob

      This is the second time i've read about these GIANT shrimp............but no one ever says if they've eaten them let alone are they safe to eat?

      February 3, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Probably not.

      What you probably heard about before were tiger prawns, which are edible, and delicious.
      This is a completely different animal, and as the story CLEARLY SAYS, these aren't shrimp.

      February 3, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • brilliantbob

      Because their edibility is not the most important aspect of this discovery, m0r0n. If they found a chunk of frozen sewage in the desert, would you like to know nothing more than how it tastes?

      February 3, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      OMG, that comment had me laughing to tears!

      February 3, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Meant for brilliantbob.

      February 3, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  8. BOMBO ©

    Coming up on 100 comments so far. Thank you, giant amphipods, for distracting CNN commenters from that tedious abortion debate.

    February 3, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hugh Jass

      Should amphipods be allowed to abort their spawn? Should g ay amphipods be allowed to spawn? Should it be legal to possess co ckle spat? Film at 11

      February 6, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • dolly

      I agree, we need to talk about the termination of the spawn! An over population of these creatures could prove disasterous to the human race.
      Nice one, Hugh Jass

      February 8, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  9. dreamer96

    You see..This is exactly why we should be afraid of contact with alien life...every time we find a new form of life we roll it in beer batter and fry it...or boil it...so what do you think aliens might do to us...It does look yummy though..boiled and a little cocktail sauce on the side please...

    February 3, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • dolly

      Yeah, you are absolutely right, Dreamer... just put it back in the water and walk away very, very slowly......

      February 8, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Erik

    I can tell you why God hates shrimp. Follow this word pattern for proof: Shrimp - Lobster - Rock Lobster - The B52s - Airplane Bomber - Death and Destruction - Cute Bunnies - God.

    See? Open your eyes once and a while and you'll see the world for the very first time and realize that Charles Nelson Riley was the most brilliant actor to bless this place you call Earth.

    February 3, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scott M.

      Classic dude. CNR was totally underrated.

      February 7, 2012 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carawaigh

      Here comes a bikini whale AAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!

      February 8, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • dolly

      Ha! Ha! Ha!
      that is so funny!

      February 8, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • mark

      i am convinced you're charles manson......only he would bable something of this nature.

      February 11, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Smokey

      Do you remember CNR on Lidsville? Best. show. ever....

      February 11, 2012 at 8:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joi

      Hilarious!!!! Love it!!

      February 14, 2012 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
    • nogood


      Your prophetic writings will be studied and deconstructed for centuries to come.

      February 15, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mary

    What abortion debate? I thought that was about breast a cancer program.

    February 3, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • DeeNYC

      giant shrimp are not babies!

      February 3, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  12. F. Phelps

    @ Norm I preach the word of The Almighty, my son.

    "Shrimp, crab, lobster, clams, mussels, all these are an abomination before the Lord, just as gays are an abomination. Why stop at protesting gay marriage? Bring all of God's law unto the heathens and the sodomites. We call upon all Christians to join the crusade against Long John Silver's and Red Lobster. Yea, even Popeye's shall be cleansed. The name of Bubba shall be anathema. We must stop the unbelievers from destroying the sanctity of our restaurants."


    February 3, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cj

      LOL I thought I read some rediculous stuff before but you topped it all !!!

      February 4, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jake

      Trolling Much?

      February 6, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • InsertRandomNameHere

      That has got to be the funniest thing I have read in some time. Well written, and I appreciate your use of how over the top some people can be with religion using humor and sarcasm.

      February 7, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill


      Preach it from on high!

      February 10, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • dc


      February 27, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Good Grief

      What a freak.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:34 am | Report abuse |
  13. DeeNYC

    That doesn't look like a shrimp, looks more like an isopod. look up giant isopod and prepare to be freaked out.

    February 3, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ryan

      Amphipods have laterally compressed bodies and legs of various shapes and sizes (unlike isopods) which the picture above indicates.

      February 3, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • RJones

      What is looks like is good eating!

      February 3, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  14. ron

    There were seven LEFT, after the feast!

    February 3, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  15. kurtinco


    February 3, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
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