Scientists Find ‘Giant’ Shrimp in Gulf of Mexico’s ‘Midnight Zone’

June 19, 2019

A shrimp larger than a human hand? Yep!

During a deep-sea expedition Sunday, a “giant” shrimp was discovered in the Gulf of Mexico, The Miami Herald reports.

Scientists found the shrimp between 3,937 and 4,921 feet down while they were conducting a mission called “Journey into Midnight: Light and Life Below the Twilight Zone.”

The expedition is supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NOAA posted photos Monday, showing the difference between their enormous discovery and the normal size of such a shrimp — the length of a fingernail. The shrimp is of the genus acanthephyra.

The deep sea “midnight zone” — below 3,280 feet — is where “giganticism in animals is found exclusively,” wrote expedition member Tamara Frank. There’s a lack of predators that far down, she noted, but added that food was scarce.

With few predators, creatures can experience “indeterminate growth, meaning that there is no set size at which they stop growing like in humans – as long as they get enough food, and aren’t eaten, they just keep growing and growing,” Frank wrote on NOAA’s Ocean Exploration and Research site.