Newly Discovered Shrimp-Like Creatures Can Eat a Pig

posted: 08/06/15
by: Danny Clemens
Pig-munching amphipod
Courtesy National Oceanography Centre

Watch out, hungry hungry hippos: there's a new champion eater in town.

Two new species of "submarine shrimp-like" creatures that devoured all of the meat off of a pig carcass in less than nine days has been discovered by researchers from Britain's National Oceanography Center:

This video, which originally went viral in 2012, shows the creatures feasting away at a caged pig carcass submerged in the ocean. Researchers observed a thick layer of the shrimp-like creatures covering the dead pig, entering the carcass via its orifices and ravenously eating the animal from the inside out.

Although the video is several years old, the creatures are just now being officially described. Scientifically known as amphipods, the small crustaceans only grow to be 3mm long and live 4,500 meters below the surface of the North Atlantic Ocean. Outside of a laboratory setting, biologists have observed large swarms of amphipods devouring whales, fish and seabirds.

The amphipods travel in massive groups: after lowering a trap full of mackerel bait, researchers retrieved more than 40,000 of the small creatures from the Atlantic.

"Amphipods are incredibly diverse and adaptable; there are currently around 10,000 species known to science. They live in all marine environments, from shallow waters to the ocean's deepest trenches, on land and in fresh water," explained study lead author Tammy Horton.

Similar creatures have also been found off of West Africa.

Learn more about shrimp:

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