Scientists have discovered a brand new species of giant isopod in a survey off the coast of Indonesia. They said this species can grow up to 20 inches in length and looks like pill bugs.
Presently, there are already 20 species of these animals that have been recorded. However, there may be many more that remain undiscovered in the depths of the ocean.
Sea cockroaches found in West Java
Although humans have already started exploring outer space, there is still a lot more to learn also on the Earth's surface. For example, the oceans are one of the places that humans have yet to fully explore.
It's a place where humans still don't know what species may be lurking in its deep and dark surface. Understandably, the knowledge from the seafloor comes very slowly as it is a pretty difficult place to study as it requires a lot of high-tech equipment.
In 2018, a group of scientists did an expedition off the coast of Indonesia hoping to fill in some of those knowledge gaps. They collected as many animal specimens as possible to classify the new species they found.
The researchers spent weeks collecting thousands of species from dozens of different locations in West Java. It took a great time for the scientists to sift through the specimens they found.
But now, they have published a new research paper where they describe one of the dozen new species they have identified. Others may feel uneasy about their new discovery of the new species of "sea cockroach," but these creatures are absolutely adorable, desccribed by BGR in their report.
New species of giant isopods
The new species the scientists found is called Bathynomus raksasa, which belongs to the group called giant isopods. These animals have been dubbed as the cockroaches of the sea, however, they do not appear close to that insect, but instead, they resemble that of the friendly pill bug or woodlouse.
These creatures are not particularly fearsome, and they spend their lives scraping along the bottom of the seafloor foraging for food and generally staying out of other creatures' way.
B. raksasa is the twentieth giant isopod ever documented as of today. Although it may look very similar to other isopods, B. rakshasa is on the larger side when it comes to size. They can grow up to 20 inches which are considered to be large for a "sea bug," such as crabs or lobsters, but they have a very special space in the ocean ecosystem.
They work like garbagemen of the seas as they scavenge on dead sea creatures that drift down to the ocean floor. This serves as their vital link in the food chain.
According to scientists, these creatures are abundant in the world, maybe because they are of little interest to predators. These creatures are not meaty at all that is why humans and other predators have little interest in them.
Additionally, their hard armor protects them well from any attacks. They can curl up like a ball when they are in danger, and they can also go for extended periods without food which makes them incredibly resilient.