'Superprawn' snared off New Zealand

2012-02-03 12:11

Wellington - Scientists have captured a "supergiant" crustacean in waters 7km deep off New Zealand, measuring 10 times the normal size of related species.

The "supergiant amphipod", which resembles a monster prawn, was found during an expedition to the Kermadec Trench north of New Zealand by scientists from the University of Aberdeen and Wellington's NIWA marine research institute.

Amphipods are normally up to 3cm long and the University of Aberdeen's Alan Jamieson said he was stunned to find the 28cm giant when emptying traps on his research vessel's deck.

"I stopped and thought 'what on earth is that?' whilst catching a glimpse of an amphipod far bigger than I ever thought possible," he said.

"It's a bit like finding a foot-long cockroach."

Another amphipod, which was filmed by the expedition but not captured, was an estimated 34cm long.

"It just goes to show that the more you look, the more you find," NIWA principal scientist Ashley Rowden said.

"For such a large and conspicuous animal to go unnoticed for so long is just testament to how little we know about life in New Zealand's most deep and unique habitat."

Supergiant amphipods have been found only once before, in the 1980s. But that was off Hawaii, about 7 000km to the north, and NIWA said it was yet to determine if the latest catch was a new species.

Scientists said they did not know why the deep-sea creatures evolved to such a huge size.

  • Lisa - 2012-02-03 12:21

    So interesting, but such an anti climax seeing as there are no pics !!!

      RatexZa - 2012-02-03 12:33

      Yes, now I have to google it :)

      RatexZa - 2012-02-03 12:34

      Here is the link:

      Shistirrer - 2012-02-03 13:34

      Tx Ratex for the link to the pic. U-u-u-ugly mother of a prawn! Wonder if it tastes like any other prawn?

      Burtfred - 2012-02-04 10:40

      I looked at the pic - I wouldn't eat that thing. It looks like an overgrown fly larvae

  • - 2012-02-03 12:45

    mmmm prawn tempura

  • Kyle - 2012-02-03 12:57

    I feel like prawn tonight

      Warren - 2012-02-03 14:18

      yes buttered prawn for me thanks.

  • John - 2012-02-03 13:04

    Gee, thanks for nothing. wheres the pics. idiots

  • PointBlank - 2012-02-03 13:27

    Ocean Basket here I come!!

      Lincoln - 2012-02-03 17:25

      @ pointblank.. ha ha ha!!! thats super hilarious!!! Funniest joke ive seen the whole day! LOL LOL LOL LOL

  • EyesEars - 2012-02-03 13:31

    Must be all the nuclear and / tests done in the oceans that are busy affecting the sealife. Would not want to eat that. Don't know what is in it. Not long before the discovery of another "bigfoot" like creature in the waters.

  • tony.delucchi - 2012-02-03 13:35

    I like the refernce to a big cockroach!

  • Luke - 2012-02-03 14:23

    F*kken prrrrrawn!!!

  • james.such - 2012-02-03 14:35

    As previous comments mention, I do not understand why News24 would publish such an article without a photo or link to a photo??? Utter waste of time and bad news reporting...

  • J-Man - 2012-02-03 14:55

    Pictures or it didn't happen.

      janalbert.vandenberg - 2012-02-03 15:40

      as above:

  • hans.dewet - 2012-02-04 09:29

    "did not know why the deep-sea creatures evolved to such a huge size" - May be that they didn't evolve

      Burtfred - 2012-02-04 10:08

      Hans dewet Maybe you haven't evolved yet either.

  • CathleenThompson - 2012-02-04 11:36

    Pic and video, don't tease.

  • Faizie - 2012-02-04 11:52

    In SA we have super Tenderprawneurs

  • Dan - 2012-02-05 19:45

    I want six of those fried in garlic butter!!!!!

  • Dan - 2012-02-05 19:48

    on second thought , before i have 6 of those , i should probably take a geiger counter with to see how much they glow in the dark . Maybe these okes migrated from Fukushima or Chernobyl

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