When most people think of a shrimp, they do not bring to mind a ruthless, predatory killing machine. But that is exactly what marine biologists witnessed in a recent trip to the bottom of the ocean floor.
In a scene that was definitely not included in ‘Finding Nemo’, a giant deep-sea Caridean shrimp was filmed battling a mid-water dragonfish before eating it alive.
The fight ended when the 10 centimetre-long shrimp impaled the fish, ate its flesh and then proceeded to consume its stomach contents, including another smaller fish that was already in its gut.
This remarkable display of predatory behaviour, which has not previously been seen by humans, was recorded at approximately 998 metres below sea level by the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research.
The team, who are currently stationed in Samoa, had been at sea for 23 days completely a total of 19 dives, when they saw the underwater phenomenon.
The team said: “Another example of how exploration can reveal things we would otherwise never know about. Deep-sea shrimp are typically observed as being scavengers, not hunters, and scientists wondered how this shrimp was even able to capture the fish.”
The project has been commission to explore remote Pacific marine protected areas and today (4 April) they will begin a mapping-only expedition.
This is focused on the waters making up American Samoa, Rose Atoll Marine National Monument, National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa, Western Samoa and the Cook Islands in New Zealand.