An team of scientists from the United States and New Zealand have found "bizarre deep-sea communities" living around methane seeps off New Zealand's east coast. And no, it's not a colony of sea monkeys. Quiet at the back!

"The 21-member expedition – led by scientists from WHOI, NIWA, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and the University of Hawaii at Manoa (UH) – has spent the last two weeks exploring cold water seeps and other 'chemosynthetic' ecosystems around New Zealand's east coast onboard NIWA's deepwater research vessel Tangaroa."

"Cold seeps are areas of the seafloor where methane gas or hydrogen sulphide escapes from large stores deep below. Like hydrothermal vents, cold seeps support unique communities of animals living in symbiosis with microbes that can convert these energy-rich chemicals to living matter (a form of 'chemosynthesis') in the absence of sunlight."

After doing a couple of trips to the Tasman Sea, watching bottom trawlers hauling up dead, partly-exploded deep sea 'life', we could have told them there was some pretty weird stuff down there...

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