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)

    It isn't a shrimp. Read the article. It is an amphipod. They aren't even in the same taxonomic Order as shrimp. It's right there in the article. Read it before commenting.

    February 3, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eat Drink Sleep

      IDoes it taste more like shrimp or lobster?

      February 3, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew Zimmern

      If it looks good, eat it.

      February 3, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Andrew Zimmerman:
      I had no idea it had to even look good for you to eat it…lol…

      February 3, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Dubya Bush­­™

    I bin doin' a lot of new clear fishin' lately so ya might wanna stay away.

    February 3, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Philip

    And come on. We pickled tumbleweeds during the dust bowl years. A foot long coconut shrimp sounds good to me. I'm always still hungry after eating the three "large" shrimp eateries feed...Joe's Crabshacks, etc. They should look into farming them if their mercury count isn't too high.

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

      Philip, you pickled tumbleweed during the dust-bowl years?
      Gotta say, you wear your age well…

      February 3, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      During the dust bowl years? apparently Joey and yourself are closer in age than we all thought. 🙂
      Also it's the Fruits and grains till noon that does the trick... right? he he

      wink wink

      February 4, 2012 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      Gotta say DONNA your all over philip why dont you go throw your self on top of him

      March 3, 2012 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  4. Moe from Tennessee

    I I would keep him for a pet and feed him butter, salt, pepper, butter and garlic

    February 3, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  5. jt

    Baguio City, Philippines Island, 1976. Had one for dinner there, that was larger than that. May not have been this exact species, but it was large enough for the tail to hang off the edge of a dinner plate. Absolutely delicious. They didn't call it a prawn either. Just a Jumbo Shrimp.

    February 3, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bogus

      I guess you've never had lobster before.

      February 3, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Philip

    @Prob not...and that artificial crab meat isn't crab but we still eat it. Well, I don't. Anyway, it would be nice to have a giant shrimp that satisfied like a giant burger. Might even be healthier for you.

    February 3, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Neil

    Break out the cocktail sauce!

    February 3, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ak2k

    eeewwwww....heebie geebies

    February 3, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jack from Tennessee

    II wonder if he knows Sponge Bob?

    February 3, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  10. elnido

    Foot long shrimp? How about 1/2 lb shrimp? Check out Nicaragua, Rio San Juan and the shrimp in the river. Absolutely delicious! Don't know about their taxonomy, but they do have small pincers...maybe a kind of crayfish? Don't know, but I could eat them every day!

    February 3, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  11. banasy©

    Are you going to picket the shrimp’s funeral?

    February 3, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  12. ZoeyKay

    Get the fryer ready!!!

    February 3, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Janet Perry


      February 3, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jim

    Thirty minutes later a Korean trawler went by and stripped the ocean clean. Or maybe not . . . yet.

    February 3, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Why Not?

    Leave the animal where it is? It has a place far beyond what we know and who are you to bring it to the surface and put another animal and species at risk of human madness of basically cleansing the planet of all creatures. Put it back and leave it alone would be much better. Ego riding this one .. look what I found look what I found .. this animal belongs in the ocean not in your hands ... let it go ..

    February 3, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • J.C.

      Sadly, by the time they brought it up from that depth, it was already dead.
      Maybe take a picture next time. Lasts longer.

      February 3, 2012 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yummo

      It doesn't belong in the ocean... it belongs in my belly!

      February 3, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kana

      Got cocktail sauce?

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

      How would they dissect it if they left it at the bottom of the ocean?

      February 3, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Maggie Phelps

    @ Banasy: As long as there are demonic seafood in this world my father and I will stand firm against the crustacean agenda... burn in hell shrimp supporter!

    February 3, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      I'd suggest to send you down 4 miles under water and leave you there, with Bin Laden, where your rotten body will be eaten by the very same seafood you so much hate

      February 3, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      You’re cracking me up, Mags.
      Thanks for making me lmao! 🙂

      February 3, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
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