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. Hal

    Look at the giant shrimp and the scientist holding it. Which one is more likely to be invited to parties? yeah, the shrimp.

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

      Now that literally made me laugh out loud!

      February 3, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  2. computino


    February 3, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  3. cpc65

    They'll shortly be fished to extinction.

    February 3, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jeremy Piven

    Wondering about the mercury levels... if its high I'll take 6 dozen of the suckers before any future jobs requiring skill.

    February 3, 2012 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  5. DMS

    Heh! Couple things: Crabs and lobsters are basically arachnids (like spiders or scorpions). I've seen video of people eating spiders; this leads me to believe there's almost nothing we cannot or won't eat. Normally, amphipods are too small to consider outside of soup or some kind of nasty "fish paste," but ones this size – no problema. Throw that amphipod on the barbie and hand me a beer! And here's a blast from the past, sung to the "Chicken of the Sea" tuna commercial: "Ask any lobster, ya happen to see, what's the best lobster, A-rach-nid of the Sea."

    February 3, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bobby Bankston

      It's been a while since 7th grade biology, but I do remember enough to know that shrimp and lobsters are NOT arachnids, they're crustaceans.

      February 3, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Tango Chaser

    I'm surprised it survived the ascent to the surface.

    February 3, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Raedwulf

    Seems quite a few are thinking of a king size shrimp dinner. Some of you don't read the head line, it's Shrimplike, not a shrimp.
    Others believe this creature from the depths was caught on purpose, the scientists were actually looking for a snailfish to study and 7 of these amphipods just happened to be in the net. They knew of their existence having seen a similar species in Hawaii.
    As for studying them, I think they should, they are dead anyway, let me clarify, it was by accident. We have a better grasp of what goes on in space it seems than the ocean depths.

    February 3, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Emeril Lagasse

    anyone have a good recipe for these tasty morsels?

    February 3, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  9. hamsta

    @tori most of the seafood eaten in new orleans is of the bottom feader categorie-crab crawfish oyster flounder etc.... and some of it like oysters can be eaten raw like oysters.let me see you eat raw chicken.

    February 3, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • TORI ©

      @hamsta, I wouldn't eat any seafood from NO. Raw chicken, no thanks.

      February 3, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Fruit Gingrich

    Romney is taking credit for the discovery.

    February 3, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  11. pop

    Ship to RED LOBSTER huge PROFIT!!!

    New Shrimp lobster taste = $$$$

    February 3, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  12. via85

    But, does it taste good?

    February 3, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  13. titan2005

    Shrimp cocktail anyone?

    February 3, 2012 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  14. LiveFREEordie

    Sauté With butter and garlic...Yumm!

    February 3, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
  15. TigerPrawn Fan

    Tiger Prawns are bigger than that and I know that they taste great. Some have already been found in the Gulf of Mexico.

    February 3, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
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