Skip to main content

Giant Isopod

Of the nine members of the genus Bathynomus, B. giganteus is the largest. These crustaceans, closely related to shrimp, look like something out of science fiction, but they are in fact real, living creatures that crawl around in the deep sea of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Giant Isopods live at depths of over 2,000 feet and can grow to nearly a foot and a half in length!

(Image Source)
Like the Giant Squid and the Giant Tube Worm, Giant Isopods are an example of deep sea gigantism, which causes animals on the sea floor to grow far larger than their near-surface counterparts. One thought on why this happens is that the large size helps compensate for the huge amount of water pressure that is placed on the creatures by their deep habitat. Giant Isopods have a rigid exoskeleton that also lets them roll up into a ball to avoid danger.

Giant Isopods are opportunistic, carnivorous feeders, and they have to be! They live in an area where food is scarce, and so they will gorge on whatever they can find. This often includes parts of dead fish and larger marine creatures, and it is believed that they may also hunt slow moving deep sea dwellers as well. They are also capable of surviving for weeks without food, and adaptation that helps them to survive.

Another adaptation comes in the form of their reproductive habits. Giant Isopods lay eggs, rather large ones in fact, and these eggs are incubated in a pouch created by the female. When the eggs hatch, the young have already bypassed the entire larval stage, and look like tiny versions of the adults. This helps them to survive easier early in life.


Popular posts from this blog


For anyone who was counting, yesterday was our birthday-- four years! Four years filled with animals from A to Z, more than 1,100 of them! I can't thank my readers enough, it's been wonderful!

And in celebration of that milestone... I'm taking a break. Hopefully not forever, but for a little bit at least. In the mean time I plan on getting a new layout out, along with some updates to some of the older articles.

I'll post updates here and on the Facebook page, I'm also brainstorming some new animal-related projects, so keep an eye out!

Thanks again for four awesome years!

Harpy Eagle

I think we'll just start his post off with a video.

Yup. That's what Harpy Eagles (Harpia harpyja) do. They soar above the treetops of the Amazon, and swoop in to grab unsuspecting sloths, monkeys, opossums, anteaters.... but sloths are apparently their favorites. They are one of the largest species of raptor in the world.

Harpy Eagles are the only member of genus Harpia, so named after the Harpies, winged death spirits in Greek Mythology that had eagle-like bodies and the heads of women. In the Jason and the Argonauts story, the Harpies tortured king Phineas by always snatching food out of his hands, leaving him perpetually hungry until Jason and his band relieved him. They resorted to similar snatching in The Aeneid, and were also said to have grabbed who people in other myths as well. In short, a very appropriate name for an eagle that makes its living grabbing tree dwellers while they are just doing their thing.

Though it is the only member in its genus, the Harpy Eagle is …

Common Brushtail Possum

The Common Brushtail Possum is a species of Marsupial found in Australia. As the name probably suggests, they are a common animal, and have the largest range and most abundant population of any Australian Marsupial.

The Brushtails do in fact have very bushy tails, though the underside had a naked patch. This is because the Possum's tail is prehensile, and that patch allows them to grip things better. They feed on a variety of plants, including fruits and Eucalyptus, and have also been known to eat the occasional animal. The species is also nocturnal, meaning that they need to find dark places to sleep in during the daytime- possibly even inside a house roof!

Common Brushtail Possums are arboreal creatures, and are excellent climbers. The females even have front-facing pouches for their offspring, in part so that they don't lose them. Some other marsupials, especially those that dig, have backwards facing pouches to keep dirt and debris away from their developing infants.

A ba…