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September 15, 2019

Giant Isopod Found Deep Underwater


This just goes to show how little most of us know about the oceans. I’m sure some marine biologist reading this will go “Duh, it’s a Bathynomus giganteus, better known as giant isopod! An important scavenger in the deep-sea benthic environment…”, but the rest of us will just stare with our mouths open. Didn’t one of those make a cameo in District 9?

A giant isopod may be one of approximately nine species of large isopods (crustaceans related to the shrimp and crabs) in the genus Bathynomus. They are thought to be abundant in cold, deep waters of the Atlantic. Bathynomus giganteus, the species upon which the generitype is based, is the largest known isopod and is the one most often referred to by the common name “giant isopod”.


French zoologist Alphonse Milne-Edwards was the first to describe the genus in 1879 after fishing a juvenile male B. giganteus from the Gulf of Mexico; this was an exciting discovery for both scientists and the public, as at the time the idea of a lifeless or “azoic” deep ocean had only recently been refuted by the work of Sir Charles Wyville Thomson and others. Females were not recovered until 1891.

Via: treehugger.com

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