All kinds of fascinating discoveries are likely lying in wait for us in the deep sea. Now scientists have pulled a new monster out of the waters off the coast of Indonesia. The creature is a new species of “supergiant” isopod, a huge marine relative of the common pillbug.
The discovery was made during the South Java Deep Sea Biodiversity Expedition 2018 (SJADES 2018). At depths between 950 and 1,260 m (3,115 and 4,135 ft), the team found two specimens of giant isopods that were soon determined to belong to a new species.
Named Bathynomus raksasa, the holotype, or physical specimen that serves as the basis for the description and name of the new species, is a male that was measured to be 36.3 cm (14.3 in) long, which puts it among the largest giant isopods ever found. The second specimen was a female measuring 29.8 cm (11.7 in). Along with being bigger on average, the team noted other differences when compared to the closest known species, Bathynomus giganteus, including smoother “skin” and different body proportions and shapes.