This monstrosity surfaced on the Web this week, after first surfacing attached to a remotely operated undersea survey sub. While this 2.5-foot specimen is indeed more monstrous than most of its species, it's really just a harmless, friendly giant isopod, a sea scavenger that dwells in the deep, cold waters of the oceans.
Resembling giant woodlice, isopods are oceanic bottom-feeders, dining mostly on whale carcasses and the like. The vast majority of them are found at depths below 1,200 feet, so they are not generally sought out in any commercial capacity and therefore we don't see them very often. However, we hear isopod is something of a delicacy in Taiwan, where its white, lobster-like meat is boiled and enjoyed in seaside restaurants.
Most isopods reach lengths of just over one foot at the high end of the spectrum, so either this one truly leviathan-sized or the description of its length has been a bit exaggerated. But hey, what's a good fishing story if you don't embellish a little bit.
Makes one think what else is down there that we don't yet know about
Screw science, I want to know if we can eat them!
I read the headline and assumed that they were interrupting undersea cables. Thank goodness I was wrong.
Under-sea rolly-polly's! Amazing!
Looks like some sort of zergling
I bet that thing tastes delicious....
@beardedmonkey07 - I wonder if they are spawned in pairs?
Can you imagine just how much that thing will stink after 6 jours in the sun?
@ 0:53 you can see a Hydralisk in the background...eerie.
Aw, it's cute!
But as for "harmless", those claws look pretty sharp.
The claws do look sharp but there are other harmless animals that have sharp appendages also (sloth for example.) The article said it feeds on whale carcasses so i would imagine that it uses the claws to rip bits of meat off of the carcass.
I love how almost 20% of people ask if their edible...and I whole heartily support the answer to that question. Popsci, you have a mission. You must capture one of these creatures alive, deliver it fresh to a fine seafood cookery, and prepare said creature as a meal to...scientifically declare just how delicious it is.
I hypothesize that it would be quite delectable boiled with a large tub of melted butter at it's side...
Read the article people.
". The vast majority of them are found at depths below 1,200 feet, so they are not generally sought out in any commercial capacity and therefore we don't see them very often. However, we hear isopod is something of a delicacy in Taiwan, where its white, lobster-like meat is boiled and enjoyed in seaside restaurants."
Apparently it tastes like lobster.
Looks like they moved District 9 under the sea!
MMMM... MMmmm.. mmmmm. Big bug thing , boiled with garlic and butter. MMMMmmmmm...
Thanks mitEj I can read. I am not going to take the Taiwanese word on this though. I want to know first hand, straight from under one of those segmented plates. mmmm om nom nom nom. I can taste it already dripping with butter. gahhhh....
Sierra 34 is right PopSci; make this happen.
A frined of mine studing marine biology refers to them as giant aquatic cockroaches
well i think if you eat one of them then you will get really sick it has been feeding on DEAD ROTTEN WALE CARCASS there the trash cans of the sea and ocean some people say you are what you eat and this is not because i am grossed out i mean i want to eat stir fried grasshoppers and that's because i now there not likely to make me sick since they can be eaten raw as well cooked i mean people usually get sick from sea crustations and that because they eat nasty things i have seen a crabs eat it's own poo and that not some thing i want to eat.PS sorry i was just being concerned for your health but it's good you are curious about eating different foods.
@ zombie joe. haha good one.
Also theres an article on yahoo making it seem like these 'monsters' are some type of new thing haha.
Don't you people read? They specifically say "isopod is something of a delicacy in Taiwan, where its white, lobster-like meat is boiled and enjoyed in seaside restaurants."
A quick price check showed a vendor with 20 for $15, but they weren't giant.
Ask no more... for those people who are asking whether they're edible, yes they are! And not only in Taiwan but also in most Asian countries, I believe. I'm from the Philippines and we certainly eat them there. In Macau and Hong Kong (and perhaps in China), they're sold in the market though not as big as those in the photos. They're certainly tasty (I recently broke my front tooth trying to bite the shell off, awww!). After cooking, the meat and the shell turn purplish, pretty much like when lobster and other crustaceans change their color when cooked.
It's April First and you're all fools!
PopSci gotcha all.
You have to remember that a number of the seafood delicacies that we enjoy are scavengers which feed upon the the same type of food sources.
Lobsters, crabs, shrimp, numerous species of fish all eat other dead animals.... Yet, you are only concerned that these critters eat undersea carrion?
All I gotta say is... pass the clarified butter, please.
Rick vonBerne was right. After all, it is April 1.
its not a joke there are so many you tube videos
AND the article was posted on 03.30.2010 at 3:20 pm
it says so under the title
Unless the equipment in the picture is operated by the 50-Foot Woman and those lever handles are 4 or 5 inches thick, this creature is just your average large isopod - about 10 to 12 inches long. As far as how they taste...eating deep fried consumers of decaying flesh and their own poop is a bit beyond my gastronomic limits. Why do you think there's such a concern about mercury and other heavy metals in seafood? But then, I suppose, after you've eaten enough of it, well, it just doesn't matter anymore, does it? (Have you ever seen "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"?) You can have my share of isopods.
Didn't anyone else notice that the article says they are a delicacy in Taiwan? I'd guess that means they are edible....
In the youtube video... were those like giant 3 foot crabs at the end, or did they just zoom in?
The Lochness monster now seems more believable.
Wow!Happy April Fools' Day!