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Dublin: 5 °C Wednesday 11 December, 2019

Terrifying but tiny - this whale-eating shrimp has been discovered in Irish waters

The shrimp was first discovered off the south-west coast.

RESEARCHERS IN THE UK have revealed they found two new species of underwater shrimp-like creatures capable of completely stripping a pig carcass in a matter of days.

The creatures are just 3mm long and live in depths of up to 4,500 metres in the North Atlantic Ocean. The scavenging crustaceans, known as ‘amphipods’ act in swarms to strip the carcasses of dead marine animals, including whales, fish and seabirds.

They were first discovered by National Oceanography Centre scientists off the coast of south-west Ireland.

The discovery was revealed in a study published this week in Zootaxa. Lead author Dr Tammy Horton said aphipods are “incredibly diverse and adaptable” and live in all marine environments.

In order to catch these new species, scientists put mackerel bait in a trap and let it descend into the deep waters. When the traps were retrieved they contained up to 40,000 amphipods.

The study also describes two groups of closely related species, one of which has been named Haptocallisoma, which means ‘grasping’ in Greek, because their feet are able to cling to whatever they are eating.

Read: Testicle-eating fish spotted in European seas for the first time>

Read: People are going wild for this contagiously funny clip of a man feeding a woman shrimp>

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