• Weird Nature

11 Freaky Facts About Bathynomus Giganteus, The World's Largest Isopod

In the deepest depths of the ocean, there lives a mysterious creature that looks like an enormous woodlouse. This is Bathynomus giganteus, the largest isopod in the world. Known colloquially as the giant isopod, these monstrous arthropods make their home in one of the most isolated and desolate environments on Earth. They inhabit every corner of the globe, always scuttling across the seafloor and waiting for their next meal. Some people might think they almost look cute, but don't be fooled. Bathynomus giganteus is terrifying. 

These freaky isopods may look like their roly poly cousins, but they are much more than just big woodlice. They are excellent scavengers, ferocious predators, and spectacular survivors. They have to be, if they want to survive the harsh reality of deep sea living. While they may make your skin crawl, these amazing and sometimes frightening facts will leave you with a newfound resepct for these giant ocean isopods.

  • They Come In A Variety Of Colors

    These creatures are not just giant -- they're extremely colorful. They can be tan, red, purple, and even a beautiful lilac color. 

  • They Have Existed At Least Since The Time Of The Dinosaurs

    Photo: Chan T. Y. & Lin C.W./Museum national d'Histoire naturelle / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY 4.0

    Giant marine isopods are part of a lineage that stretches back 160 million years. They first appeared during the height of the age of dinosaurs and are even older than the famous tyrannosaurus rex. They were around before the separation of the supercontinent known as Pangea. Today, different species of giant isopods around the world are extremely similar to each other, leading experts to believe that there has been very little evolutionary change in these animals since they first evolved. 

  • Chemoreceptors Allow Them To Track Prey In Total Darkness

    While they do have a pair of compound eyes, each of which have about 4,000 points where light can enter, vision is not their primary sense when it comes to finding prey. They use chemoreceptors in their antennae to pick up faint chemical signals in the water, which often leads them to food. They may also have a sense of mechanoreception, meaning that they can detect even the slightest changes or abnormalities in water pressure.