The giant isopod is a subspecies of the crustacean family. At first glance, he looks creepy and frightening, but there is something very nice about him. Read a few interesting facts about this creature.
Isopods dwell on the bottom
They are related to other marine crustaceans - for example, shrimp and crab, as well as to some terrestrial ones.
These cuties live at a depth of 160-2000 meters and prefer a clay bottom for shelter. Isopods belong to cold-water crustaceans. They can be found in the Pacific Ocean, South China and Japan Seas.
They are really gigantic
Isopods grow in length from 18 to 35 cm, but can be even larger. In 2010, one such specimen was caught. Its length was 70 cm.
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Scientists can not for certain give the reason for such "gigantism", but, most likely, this is one of the adaptation options. The larger they reach, the easier they tolerate the high pressure of the deep ocean.
They have different colors.
The shell of these crustaceans has several overlapping sections. Their color is usually brown and pale lilac.
They are predators
Although it is generally believed that they are scavengers that feed on the dead remains of marine life, there is a version that they can also eat sentient beings. For example, sea sponges.
They live in a state of "energy conservation"
Since there may be little food in deep waters, and sometimes you have to look for it, giant isopods limit their energy costs. They already have a very slow metabolism, which they artificially slow down in order to survive.
These creatures practically do not move. They can lie still for a very long time. A case is known when the isopod was in artificial conditions and did not eat for as long as 5 years.
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They have something in common with cats.
For example, eyes, or rather their structure. Giant isopods have widely spaced fixed "complex" eyes with more than 4,000 distinct faces. Cats and crustaceans (and some other animals) have a layer in the back of the eye called the tapetum. The tapetum reflects the light entering the eyes through the retina back. This feature of the eyes increases the ability to see at night.
By the way, like cats, the eyes of isopods glow in the dark.
They probably do not see very well ...
Where isopods live, it is quite dark, so vision is not an important sensory organ for them, nor for many other deep-sea animals. They use other senses to move around, communicate with each other, find food and mate.
Scientists conducted experiments with artificial light sources to understand how isopods react to them. When, for example, a flashlight shines on them, they do not change the position of their body, do not move, and do not try to hide. Therefore, it is likely that they see poorly.
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Use their “antennas”
Giant isopods have two sets of “antennas” that they use to explore the environment.
They use small antennas for chemical "sensing", examining the composition of water or intended food. And large antennas are for the physical, exploring obstacles, density, hardness and other physical properties of the environment.
Females protect eggs
Isopods lay eggs that are larger than the offspring of any marine invertebrate in size. The average egg size is 1.3 cm. But this is not the most interesting.
The female carries the brood in a special “bag” until they grow up. To avoid the attack of predators, a caring mother with her offspring lies at the bottom, buries in soft sand. And there she hides until the eggs are ready for “hatching”. This is exactly the situation when a slow metabolism of isopods is especially useful to them.