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Jul 27 2014

Meet the Giant Isopod

The Giant Isopods are deep sea creatures that look like some monster out of an Alien movie! This strange creature was discovered in 1879 by French zoologist Alphonse Milne-Edwards who pulled this beast from the depths of the Gulf of Mexico.

Weird Looking Deep Sea Creature

Discovering this giant isopod was exciting for scientists and the public because it refuted the theory that no life existed below 300 fathoms. These deep sea scavengers live anywhere from 560 feet to over 7,000 feet below the cold deep waters of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans.

While they do resemble their earth bound cousins the woodlouse, or roly poly, I on the other hand can’t help but think the late Jim Henson was inspired by these creatures
when he created the garthim character for his hit movie the Dark Crystal. They are the largest isopods in the world with an average length between 7.5 and 14 inches long, and weighing over 3.5 pounds.

They are protected by a calcaerous exoskeleton and when attacked by predators, they can roll up into a ball to protect their vulnerable underside. They feed on what ever might fall to the bottom of the ocean, but because food is scarce, they also prey on slow-moving creatures like sea-cucumbers and sponges.

They have adapted and known to survive over 8 weeks without food in captivity, but when the opportunity presents itself, they will gorge themselves to the point of incapacitation.

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