Giant isopods are typically found in the cold, deep waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. They have uniramous thoracic legs arranged in seven pairs, the first of which is modified into maxillipeds to manipulate and bring food to the four sets of jaws. A newly released video shows these creatures feasting on the corpse of an alligator, without having any issues breaking through its scaly skin. “They have this amazing ability to gorge themselves, store that energy and then basically not have another meal for months to years afterwards,” said Craig McClain of the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium. Read more for the video and additional information.
“Isopods are crustaceans with ancestors dating back 300 million years. The giant isopods feeding on the alligator seemed well-adapted to their role as scavengers. In less than 24 hours, several were immersed halfway into the alligators’ abdomen, chowing down from the inside. The researchers set the alligator carcass down nearly two months ago and plan to return to the site later this week,” reports Live Science.