Supergiant Amphipods Discovered Over 4 Miles Deep in New Zealand's Kermadec Trench

Posted on February 3, 2012

Supergiant Amphipod Giant Prawn

Supergiant amphipods were discovered over 4 miles deep in Kermadec Trench, north of New Zealand, by scientists from the University of Aberdeen and the National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research (NIWA), who led a joint UK/New Zealand expedition to the area.

Amphipods are a type of crustacean which are particularly common in the deep sea. Typically deep sea amphipods are 2 to 3 centimeters long with the exception of the slightly larger 'giant' amphipod found in Antarctica. The 28cm to 34cm long (about one foot long) supergiants dwarf the Antarctic giant and are about ten times the size of regular-sized amphipods.

Voyage leader Alan Jamieson, from the University of Aberdeen, says, "At 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."

Take a look:

Photo: Oceanlab, University of Aberdeen, UK