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. John Klein Lake Worth FL

    Possible result of highly radiated water runoff from Japan?

    February 3, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
  2. fernace

    They're amphipods, not giant shrimp! This is good to know though! After we've fished the oceans empty we can still find food in the deepsea trenches! Amphipod "Scampi" w/linguini, any1!?

    February 3, 2012 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
  3. c. Sheen

    I KNEW IT. I knew John Holmes was alive.

    February 3, 2012 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
  4. bobcat (in a hat)©

    @ TORI ©
    You say you're a native of Nawlins ? I absolutely love that place. We were over there a few weeks ago.

    February 3, 2012 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • TORI ©

      @Bobcat, yep I was born there. How did you like it? My Grandmother still lives there and Dad and I were there in Dec.

      February 3, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • bobcat (in a hat)©

      @ Tori

      Well you've got me ready to make another trip over there. Think I'll start with Jackson Square this time. I love all the performing artists down there. You never know what to expect.

      February 3, 2012 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
  5. bobcat (in a hat)©

    @ TORI ©
    I absolutely love New Orleans. We spent many a day night in the french quarter. Each time I go, it never ceases to fascinate me.

    February 3, 2012 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • TORI ©

      @bobcat,it is so rich in culture and the architecture is astonishing. Did you frequent the infamous clubs?

      February 3, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • bobcat (in a hat)©

      TORI ©
      Well girl, you've got me all fired up again. Looks like I'm going to have to make another trip over there. I never do regret my visits.

      February 3, 2012 at 11:16 pm | Report abuse |
  6. bobcat (in a hat)©

    The way I love this lifestyle here, you would swear I was born and raised here.

    February 3, 2012 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse |
  7. hamsta

    easy way to make beignets:stick frozen biscuits in deep fryer then dip in powdered sugar

    February 3, 2012 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
  8. bobcat (in a hat)©

    @ Tori
    You guys sound like my kind of people. I like to get stuff started too. When you can jumped on, it's just that much funnier.

    February 3, 2012 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
  9. TORI ©

    @bobcat, we love to laugh and get things started. Yes, we sound like we are all cut from the same cloth.

    February 3, 2012 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Cat-Cat

    Shrimps from other countries = eat human waste!

    February 4, 2012 at 9:04 am | Report abuse |
  11. Brian, Detroit, MI

    All of these people ranting about "god". It is time for them to learn that "god's" time is over. We live in the real world, imaginary things and magical powers like walking on water, DO NOT EXIST!!!.

    February 4, 2012 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
    • nuh

      So then where did ampiphods come from?

      February 5, 2012 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • AGuest9

      Absolutely, Brian.

      February 6, 2012 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • BillG

      Not everyone who believes in God is a gun-toting, science-hating, gay-stoning, woman-demeaning jerk. Some happen to be gay, super liberal psychology majors... Oh yeah, that's me.

      February 6, 2012 at 11:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Leif

      @nuh. Who created God? If these creatures had to have been created by a higher power,
      then the same applies to God. I'll tell you who created God.. Human beings did.

      February 7, 2012 at 3:50 am | Report abuse |
  12. ???

    Wow this is so cool. The fact that these scientists discovered such new and large specimens from the ocean trench is remarkable! It is not surprising though that such crustaceans were found at an ocean trench. Other unusual creatures such as the gulper fish and the deep-sea angler are only a couple of many trench dwellers. I hope that these scientists would eventually conduct research on these shrimp's behavior so that we can understand differences and/or similarities among related genera.

    February 4, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  13. Umptysquat

    I'm wondering what it tastes like with some garlic butter... Mmmmm, amphipods...

    February 4, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • kkim84

      LOL, I was thinking the exact same thing. Was thinking what a steamed super giant shrimp-like creature would taste like (with extra bay seasoning..mmmmm)...I can only imagine it would taste just like shrimp/lobster hybrid? lol

      February 6, 2012 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
  14. mccgeno

    they look delicious.

    February 4, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Food

    Looks like Redlobsters or Applebee want to get their hands on this one. Gold rush seafood.

    It's looks yummy went you cook red.

    February 4, 2012 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
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