Friday, 10 February 2012

Supergiant Amphipod

So they found a massive amphipod over 4 miles deep in the Kermadec Trench off New Zealand. A good sized amphipod is usually a few centimetres long (an inch) but this thing is 28 cm (almost a foot)! And that's the biggest one they managed to drag up, they actually spotted on camera one that was 34 cm (over a foot) long.

I guess they once found a 10 cm (4 inch) one and called it the Giant Amphipod. After that there was just one place to go. I beg the world to provide for me a Super-dupergiant Amphipod!

Aside from that, they got a great sense of smell and gorge themselves on whatever scraps of rotting flesh make it to the seafloor. They got expandable stomachs to help them stuff themselves and some of them can then fast for a year. This is NOT a healthy way to diet.

This Amphipod pretty much looks like a big version of most of the tiny ones. Our very own Skeleton Shrimp is an unusual kind of amphipod. For me, a 1 foot tall Skeleton Shrimp may not be THE Holy Grail, but it's certainly A Holy Grail. (Quite a lot of the other Holy Grails are probably even bigger Skeleton Shrimps.)

But how did it get sooooo big? Dave Hubble's got a cool (freezing cold) post that explores the issue. He mainly centres it around a specific (massive) Sea Spider, but a lot of the same questions arise. It's always interesting when no-one is quite sure how good things happen!


Anonymous said...

It's so weird how, the deeper you go, the fish get smaller, but the invertebrates get bigger.

Joseph JG said...

Hahaha! So true!

Crunchy said...

"May I present... my amphipod."

Which end is the head?

Joseph JG said...

The front end!
I mean the left. They have funky legs which is where they get the name from. Amphi means on both sides or around or something like that. Whereas iso means same, so isopods have legs that all look the same. I might just be showing off, though.

Anonymous said...

I would like to say that they look like a tasty shrimp but... they look like a shrimp replica made of plastic. Do they make that plastic by ingesting the black and white stuff coming from undersea vents? It surely helps them to go for a year without food, after having a big "meal".

Those scientists who discovered it should post a video of the amphipod moving because I cannot persuade myself that this plastic thing is alive!

Joseph JG said...

Apparently it feels like plastic, too! I'd definitely like to see a video, though.

Crunchy said...

I don't know, I think if I saw a video of that thing wriggling around I'd never be able to sleep ever again.

Joseph JG said...

Ah yes, there is that problem. I can't stop myself from wondering how fast they move. Deep sea things are often slow and in the movies, giants are too. I wonder if this thing flits about with speed or if it looks like slow motion.

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