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 Bathynomus giganteus, a really cool isopod!
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filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 04/03/2010 :  15:40:08  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Some folks find isopods disgusting, especally when they discover one in a fish's mouth snacking on it's tongue and being all but impossible to dislodge. Me, I think they're remarkable. This one, a bathypelagic species is big enough that it's hook-clawed, physical features can be easily seen.


What's not to love?

A submarine exploring the ocean's depths recently returned with an unexpected visitor: a crablike critter called Bathynomus giganteus (commonly known as giant isopod) that has left many readers startled and horrified.




This giant isopod (a crustacean related to shrimps and crabs) represents one of about nine species of large isopods in the genus Bathynomus. They are thought to be abundant in cold, deep waters of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
Photo of Bathynomus giganteus courtesy of NOAA Vents Program

In a posting to social bookmarking site Reddit, a deep-sea technician detailed finding the Bathynomus giganteus, asking the site's readers to help identify what exactly the bizarre-looking creature was.

The post reads, "I work for a Sub-sea Survey Company, recently this beast came up attached to one of our ROVs. It measures a wee bit over 2.5 feet head to tail, and we expect it latched onto the ROV at roughly 8,500 feet depth.

"Unfortunately, the e-mail that these pictures were attached to came from a contractor, and the ship he was operating from (and therefore location) is unknown, so I can't tell you what part of the Earth this beast was living."

The pictures reveal Bathynomus giganteus to be a giant isopod, a large crustacean that dwells in deep Atlantic and Pacific waters. This particular creature is a deep-sea scavenger that feeds on dead whales, fish and squid.


Tough looking critter, isn't he But then, when you live in or near the Abyss and meals don't drop by all that often, you've got to be tough.




"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 04/03/2010 :  22:31:39   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
That is one fair-sized woodlouse!

Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
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Chippewa
SFN Regular

USA
1496 Posts

Posted - 04/04/2010 :  01:25:14   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Chippewa's Homepage Send Chippewa a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Wild! Is this creature a Great Big relative of the little garden variety sow bug? (Armadillidium vulgare)
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H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 04/04/2010 :  10:34:29   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Chippewa

Wild! Is this creature a Great Big relative of the little garden variety sow bug? (Armadillidium vulgare)
Yes. Most people don't realize that sow bugs (aka pill bug, potato bug, roly poly) aren't insects at all, but crustaceans. They've evolved to live in very damp environments rather than the sea. This guy is their big cousin.

I've also heard that these giant isopods taste good--sweet, and rather like lobster. But I don't think I'm a brave enough man to test that claim.
Giant isopods are of little interest to most commercial fisheries owing to the typical scarcity of catches and because ensnared isopods are usually scavenged beyond marketability before they are recovered. However, in northern Taiwan and other areas, they are common at seaside restaurants, served boiled and bisected with a clean lateral slice. The white meat, similar to crab or lobster in texture, is then easily removed. The species are noted for resemblance to the common woodlouse or pill bug, to which they are related.


"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
Edited by - H. Humbert on 04/04/2010 10:38:47
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Chippewa
SFN Regular

USA
1496 Posts

Posted - 04/05/2010 :  00:14:12   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Chippewa's Homepage Send Chippewa a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by H. Humbert

Yes. Most people don't realize that sow bugs (aka pill bug, potato bug, roly poly) aren't insects at all, but crustaceans. They've evolved to live in very damp environments rather than the sea. This guy is their big cousin.


And who needs Martians when Earth has creatures like this?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bathynomus_giganteus.jpg
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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9677 Posts

Posted - 04/05/2010 :  01:36:02   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Somehow, I'm reminded of Starship Troopers. What an awesome movie.

Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
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"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

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Send them unarmed civilians for target practice..
Collateralmurder.
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filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 04/06/2010 :  17:55:18   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Isopods are remarkable in their variety and their anatomy. Their order is something like 300 myo -- evoluton got another one right. They range in size from 0.012 inches to the bruiser in the OP. Indeed, it is probable that all of us have ingested them at one time or another.

"Isopods are relatively small crustaceans with seven pairs of legs of similar size and form, ranging in size from 300 micrometres (0.012 in) to nearly 50 centimetres (20 in) in the case of Bathynomus giganteus.[1] They are typically flattened dorso-ventrally, although many species deviate from this plan, particularly those from the deep sea or from ground water.[1] Isopods lack an obvious carapace, which is reduced to a "cephalic shield" covering only the head.[4] Gas exchange is carried out by specialised gill-like pleopods towards the rear of the animal's body. In terrestrial isopods, these are often adapted into structures which resemble lungs, and these "lungs" are readily visible on the underside of a woodlouse.[1] Eyes, when present, are always sessile, never on stalks.[4] They share with the Tanaidacea the fusion of the last abdominal body segment with the telson, forming a "pleotelson",[4] and the first body segment of the thorax is fused to the head. The pereiopods are uniramous, but the pleopods are biramous.[4]"

For the most part, they're pretty innocuous but they have their dark side:


Parasitic isopod of the suborder Epicaridea eating the tongue of a fish.

If you like, you can google up a recipe for Bathynomus giganteus. They are indeed very tasty and I'd like to find one.




"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!

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