A huge deep-sea insect – Er, Isopod – has been discovered in the Gulf of Mexico

Dorsal and ventral aspects of a newly discovered giant isopod species.

Scientists recently trapped a giant isopod off the coast of Mexico, and after studying its anatomy and DNA, they decided that crustaceans are an entirely new species.

Deep-sea isopods inhabit the sea floor and burrow for Carrion and marine snow that become all dead things in the ocean. in 2019The isopods became famous in the Gulf of Mexico when a video was caught of them devouring dead crocodiles deliberately drowned by scientists; in 51 days, all the rest From the carcasses of reptiles spines and skulls.

recent study describe it Pathinomus yucatanensis, a subspecies of the giant isopod species that can grow up to 1.64 feet from an oblong head to a rounded tail. Team work is published in the Journal of Natural History.

“It is increasingly clear that the species of Pathnomous It may be very similar in general appearance, and also that there is a long history of misidentification of species in the genus,” the researchers wrote..

The first food for a deep-sea crocodile falls

To the naked eye, this misidentification is understandable. Giant isopods move like gigantic moving grains of rice; It’s only when you turn them over Above that you can see their many legs and antennas.

Relatives of the ground lice and their beloved name Rowley-polys (also known as pills), the dorsal sides of the giant isopods are encased in a painted exoskeleton. they Gigantism may be an adaptation for them Abyssal habitat, a pattern seen in Japanese spider crabs, paddlefish, and larger squids.

TThe research team compared the new isopod species with its closest relatives in G.Olf. that they I found it B. Yucatanensis It is slightly thinner and shorter than its cousins, and has a greater number of protruding spines than its tail.

Newly discovered species are also yellow Of its closest relatives, it is white more transparent.

JGenetic analysis also supported the assignment of new species, such as the creature’s DNA Mraw like Giant isosceles B. giganteus than other species in GOliv B. maxeyorum.

In addition to getting to know the new isopod, the researchers also showed that a species of isopod in the South China Sea was historically misidentified as a species that lived farther south, in the Coral Sea off Australia.

The research complicates our picture of giant isopods. Although animals can be viewed as a monolith, they have noticeable Diversity in rank them. Not all creepy crawlies are the same — but most of us Maybe they don’t look closely enough to see their accuracy differences.

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