A video of an alligator being eaten by seemingly giant “sea bugs” went viral back in 2019 and has now received a follow up study detailing the recently discovered species.
The creatures seen in the above video are called Bathynomus yucatanensis, and while they certainly resemble a type of bug, they aren’t actually bugs at all – they are isopods. A new study published in the Journal of Natural History in August looked into the Bathynomus yucatanensis and detailed their behavior, with the researchers writing that these isopods don’t appear to hunt their prey and behavior more like a scavenger of food.
The researchers write that these strange creatures search for leftover corpses of sea creatures or any other food they can safely get access to. Notably, these isopods are capable of consuming an entire alligator corpse in just 51 days. The study details the location of the Bathynomus yucatanensis, with the researchers writing that they are common in tropical temperature areas in the deep sea. When seen in the ocean, they appear as large floating white pieces as this species can grow up to 1.5 feet in length.
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The researchers in the above video state that the alligator was placed on the sea floor, and just 24 hours later, the Bathynomus yucatanensis emerged. With this kind of speed, it appears that the Bathynomus yucatanensis is the deep sea vacuum cleaner or roomba, that simply swims along the sea floor, picking up and consuming any carcasses or corpses that it comes across.