Sunday, November 14, 2010

Underwater Robot Pulls Up Giant Isopod

Recently, when a deep-sea surveying company hoisted up their underwater robot-cam, they were surprised to see this enormous and rare specimen of Bathynomus giganteus had attached itself to it.

Bathynomus giganteus is a Isopod, one of the most diverse orders of crustaceans on the planet. Though this example is unusually large - two and a half feet long - some have been found even larger, and on the other end of the scale, some isopods are so tiny they're microscopic. They are direct cousins of the common Woodlouse which is, for many of us as children, our first experience with crustaceans. Isopods virtually identical to the ones we have today first appear in the fossil record about 300 million years ago.