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. buddy


    February 3, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Trout Slayer

    "Immediately after scientists answered the question of 'what the hell is it?' every person on board the vessel wondered if it was tasty."

    February 3, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nonny Mouse

      LOL! My exact thoughts! "Yeah, but is it tasty?"

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

      Glad they chose to go with this picture instead of the next scene where the giant shrimp had formed a suction cup with his face and was impregnating him with an even more evil creature that should be popping out of his stomach right about now...

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

    yes, more demons for me.
    hot sauce please

    February 3, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  4. bbk713

    I don't care what it is, I just wonder if it tastes good sauteed in butter, white wine, shallots, and garlic and served over angel-hair pasta with a little Parmesan and some parsley...

    February 3, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  5. pdennism

    How about leave the creature in the ocean where it belongs to live normally. A dead supergiant shrimp in the name of show-and-tell sucks!

    February 3, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  6. soul2squeez


    February 3, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Smythe

    But what do they taste like when poached in butter?

    February 3, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Quincey9

    Waitress,...I'll need a bib please..oh, and more sauce.

    February 3, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Hungry

    Yah, but how does it taste!

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

      Like chicken?

      February 3, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • TruAmerikan

      Pass the butter please.

      February 3, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Zabel

    Lobsters and shrimp are closely related to cockroaches, both biologically and in scavenging behavior. Food for thought, next time you order at Legal Sea Food.

    February 3, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jim p.

    Looks like a mutant cross-breed between a shrimp and a weta...hide your daughters, those things may charge when wounded.

    February 3, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  12. John

    Evolution in the making.

    February 3, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Vinsanity

    Please pass the coctail sauce

    February 3, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  14. ggkthx

    Looks like a roach, of you who want to eat this just be dirty and pick them off the floor.

    February 3, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • TruAmerikan

      Shrimp, crab, and lobster are all considerd bottom feeders. They are the garbagemen of the sea. I'll bet they would taste great on the grill.

      February 3, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  15. mac jones

    I love it the scientist kills things without remorse at all. Ok yes, kill, and be happy about it, but show some respect. Frankly......either you get this or you don't.

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

      Who said scientist were pacifist ? Scientist do all kinds of things folks might not consider to be 'gentle'

      February 3, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jaime

      How was he not showing remorse? I think it was accidentally caught, right? Like it got stuck in a trap

      February 3, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • ObjectiveGuy

      Seriously??? These creatures are FOOD for people and for other creatures. The scientist needs to catch, kill, and disect it to figure out what it is. It's called research. Why should he have remorse??? Do you have remorse when you eat a steak? And, if you're a nutjob vegan, do you have remorse when you munch on a handful of grass? Think of the parentless baby grass left in the wake of your feeding frenzy! Let's not be silly here.

      February 3, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dubya Bush­­™

      "Frankly......either you get this or you don't." We get it. You're nuts.

      February 6, 2012 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
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