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Animals possessing bilateral symmetry, segmented bodies and jointed exoskeletons.

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The Big, The Deep, and the Creepy
Teacher Contributed

The Big, The Deep and The Creepy


Deep-sea Isopods

Student Exploration

Super Creepy Crawly

Many people have a "shudder" response to certain organisms, particularly arthropods like spiders and insects. This response has been exploited by the makers of horror films to the delight of millions. But we all know that's make-believe except maybe in the deep-sea.

Bathynomus giganteus makes its living as a scavenger which in the deep-sea helps account for its size. Here are some giant isopods at work.

Here's some footage which nicely shows their multiple jaws.

Here's some footage of "babies" in captivity making short work of a fish

Here's Dr. Chris Mah of the Smithsonian Institute showing off a preserved specimen from the Smithsonian collection

You can find out more about these amazing animals here

Extension Investigation

Use the resources below to answer the following questions

  1. How have these isopods shown human impact in the deep-sea?
  2. What animal that may be in your backyard is related to Bathynomus giganteus? What characteristics do they have in common?
  3. In what way do scientists feel that animals may be responding to life in the deep-sea similarly to how they respond to life on islands?
  4. How does the biodiversity of organisms in the deep sea change with the availability of resources?

Resources Cited

Youtube source WingerdTiger http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xeOSXtBCY30&playnext=1&list=PLF9D1B26FF5D47706&feature=results_main

Youtube source OceanContent http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJ1C1N4OG9s&playnext=1&list=PLDB3B9AEAFBBD166E&feature=results_video

Youtube source EnosuiMovie http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3aW_75EG0XA&feature=fvwrel

Youtube source EnosulMovie http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=0po1CkgTPgA&NR=1

Youtube source cdellamore http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F61jT90GaAI

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