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.