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Bathynomus giganteus

One of true rarities/oddities in natural history: the Giant Deepwater Isopod or Bathynomus giganteus. This creature was first discovered in 1878 off the coast of the Dry Tortugas when a scientific expedition detected a specimen in its nets. A year later, Milne-Edwards described the 226 mm specimen. The discovery of such a giant deep-sea isopod had a strong impact on the public’s imagination and several illustrations of the animal appeared in popular books. It took two more years before more specimens were caught.
The giant isopod is known from the Atlantic and Pacific but is believed to occur in all oceans in isolated pockets. It lives at depths of 150 down to 2250 m where it scavenges sunken cadavers or hunts. On occasion, the isopod is trapped in deep sea pots and during the haul it feasts on the fish or crab; these encounters remain rare. Due to its habits and habitat, this species remains rare both in institutional collections and certainly in private collections.

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