February 02, 2012
Giant, Foot-Long Prawn Found Near New Zealand
By Chad Love
Trout aren't the only things that grow huge in New Zealand. Researchers probing the depths off the coast of New Zealand have discovered a giant "super prawn" that tapes out at almost a foot long.
From this story in the (UK) Mirror:
An expedition to one of the deepest parts of the ocean has discovered a "supergiant" species. The huge crustacean was discovered more than four miles deep in waters north of New Zealand by scientists from the University of Aberdeen. The creature is a type of amphipod, commonly found in the deep sea, which are usually 2cm-3cm long. The new specimen measured 28cm.
Using submergence cameras and a large trap designed by the university's Oceanlab, the team was able to explore up to depths of six miles. The team was hoping to find specimens of deep-sea snailfish which have been photographed before but have not been seen since the 1950s. Expedition leader Alan Jamieson said: "The moment the traps came on deck, we were elated at the sight of the snailfish as we have been after these fish for years.
"However, seconds later I stopped and thought 'What on earth is that?' whilst catching a glimpse of an amphipod far bigger than I ever thought possible. "It's a bit like finding a foot-long cockroach." Seven specimens were caught in the trap and up to nine were photographed gathering around the camera system. Scientists say the term "supergiant" was coined by US researchers when they found some large amphipods in the early 1980s. The supergiant amphipod has not been reported since and has faded into the realms of rare and mysterious deep-sea creatures. Dr Jamieson said: "The surprising thing is that we have already been to this deep trench twice and never come across these animals before.
Wow, a foot-long aquatic cockroach. I've eaten worse. Wonder how it'd be dipped in butter...