Recently discovered “sea bugs” can eat entire alligator carcasses

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These creatures look like something you might see in a Men In Black movie, but believe it or not, you can find them on Earth, in the deep sea below.

A group of researchers recently discovered a new species of giant “sea bugs” that live on the ocean floor.

These sea bugs are actually isopods known as Bathynomus yucatanensis. Like other isopods, they are often thought of as insects, although they don’t fit the category.

These isopods were made famous by observations in a 2019 viral video of them eating an alligator in the first-ever alligator feeding event in the deep sea.

The researchers in the video above state that the alligator was placed on the sea floor and less than 24 hours later the sea bugs emerged to feed.

Now researchers are studying these sea bugs in more detail.

A new study published in August in the Journal of Natural History examined the Bathynomus yucatanensis and detailed its behavior, with the researchers noting that these isopods don’t appear to hunt their prey and behave more like a scavenger, so they are . nothing to worry about.

They’re still pretty scary to look at.

The “sea bug” is believed to be capable of eating an entire alligator carcass.
Ming-Chih Huang, Tadashi Kawai, Neil Bruce on the Journal of Natural History

In the study, the researchers say these creatures look for leftover corpses of sea creatures or other food items that they can easily get their hands on. The most remarkable thing about them is that they can eat an entire alligator carcass in just 51 days.

The study also details where these creatures are found. They are most common in tropical temperature areas in the deep sea. Researchers have been able to find them in the waters off Taiwan, near Pratas Island – an island in the northern part of the South China Sea – and off the Yucatán Peninsula in the Gulf of Mexico.

These sea bugs can grow up to 1.5 feet in length from the creature’s head to its tail. Because of their whitish color, when seen in the ocean, the explorers look like giant chunks of rice floating in the ocean.



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