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. Jason

    Pass the butter and cocktail sauce!

    February 3, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  2. NoKidding

    Yum! How can we cook it? BBQ? deep fried? Boiled? all sounds good!

    February 3, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  3. jj

    I am a giant prawn

    February 3, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  4. WildWest

    He looks sickly to me. Maybe changed the gerbil out for one of dem Jumbos!

    February 3, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Trainee cant cook

    Im so startled...

    February 3, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Rodeovyn

    The Japanese fishing boats are on the way!

    February 3, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  7. dike

    yikes.. I eat shrimp but with all the references to a roach and this thing looks like one too I can not go for any crustaceans for some time...

    February 3, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Walker

    They look delicious

    February 3, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Kansas City Mike

    Know bring out the cocktail sauce and lets have a BBQ...

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


    February 3, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Marty in MA

    probably packed with cholesterol 🙂

    February 3, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  12. SAVE THE WEB!!

    Lets Farm it in aquariums and feed the world

    February 3, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Buster Bloodvessel

      Actually it probably tastes like a foot-long roach too.

      February 3, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Buster Bloodvessel

    Oxymoronic shrimp.

    February 3, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Zappa

    Don't forget to eat some more of these – they're magnificent with sauerkraut

    February 3, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Philip

    Who knows? This shrimp could be as delectable as hummingbird toungues for all we know.

    February 3, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
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