Scientists captured "Super giant Crustacean in New Zeland
Scientists have captured a "super-giant" crustacean in waters seven kilometres (4.5 miles) 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 three centimetres (around an inch) long and the University of Aberdeen's Alan Jamieson said he was stunned to find the 28 centimetre (11 inch) 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 34 centimetres 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." Super-giant amphipods have been found only once before, in the 1980s. But that was off Hawaii, about 7,000 kilometres (4,500 miles) 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. -
A huge crustacean has been found lurking 7km down in the waters off the coast of New Zealand. The creature - called a supergiant - is a type of amphipod, which are normally around 2-3cm long. But these beasts, discovered in the Kermadec Trench, were more than 10 times bigger: the largest found measured in at 34cm. Alan Jamieson, from the University of Aberdeen's Oceanlab, said: "It's a bit like finding a foot-long cockroach."
"I stopped and thought: 'What on Earth was that?' This amphipod was far bigger than I ever thought possible." The strange animals were found using a large metal trap, which had been equipped with a camera, housed in sapphire glass to keep it safe from the high pressures of the deep sea. Seven specimens were caught in the trap and nine were captured on film by the team from the University of Aberdeen, in Scotland, and the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa), in New Zealand. The largest specimen brought back up to the ship measured 28cm in length, while the biggest spotted on camera was 34cm-long.
Amphipods have been found living in large numbers at the very bottom of ocean trenches, deep, narrow valleys in the sea floor that can plunge down to nearly 11km. The creatures are small, but extremely active, and seem to thrive in this place where the pressure is one thousand times greater than at sea level. The name "supergiant" was first coined after large specimens were caught in the 1980s off the coast of Hawaii. They have been seen since in the Antarctic, where they grew up to 10cm, but these are now dwarfed by this latest find.
Dr Ashley Rowden, from Niwa, said: "It just goes to show that the more you look, the more you find. "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." Over the last few years, scientists have been surprised by the life that is found in ocean trenches. These deep-sea spots were once thought to be barren; too dark, cold and with too much pressure for anything to survive. But researchers have found a wealth of life in the deepest of the deep. As well as swarms of amphipods, they have uncovered shrimp-like creatures called isopods and snailfish that live 7,700m down. -
Last edited by ~Maliha~; 06-04-2012 at 01:13 PM.
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