or is it a very large cockroach? Neither. These giant isopods (Bathynomus giganteus) are crustaceans and related to decapods like shrimp and crabs as well as to pill bugs. They rule the deep, chilly waters of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and are considered a good example of deep-sea gigantism—a phenomenon where invertebrates in deep waters are much larger than their shallow-water relatives. This species can grow to be over 16 inches long and have compound eyes with over 4,000 individual facets, making them extremely sensitive to fast movements in dark waters.
Photo: Orin Zebest