Southern Fried Science loves giant isopods. There are few deep-sea animals more iconic, more charismatic, more weird and wonderful, than the deep-sea isopod. The biggest of the deep-sea isopods, the giant deep-sea isopod, Bathynomus giganteus, is a quintessentially American beast. It dwells in the deep Gulf of Mexico. The bulk of its known range falls within the United States Exclusive Economic Zone. It was first collected by American scientist Alexander Agassiz (though it was formally described by his colleague and collaborator French zoologist Alphonse Milne-Edwards). Tough on the outside, soft on the inside, fiercely independent yet able to work in massive aggregations to consume the bloated carcass of a whale, alternately terrifying and adorable, I can think of no better animal to represent the deep water of the United States better than our own Bathynomous giganteus.
So today, with an historic election looming, we decided it was past time to reflect on the things we love, the things that unite us, the things that fill us with wonder, and call upon Congress to officially adopt the giant deep-sea isopod as the National Deep-sea Animal of the United States.
To mark this occasion, we have created the All-American Isopod, a 3D-printed giant isopod in glorious red, white, and blue, to symbolize the hopes and dreams of all Americans who love giant isopods. Or fear giant isopods. Or are just curious about these weird and wonderful animals.
There are a ton of giant isopod resources here and across the web for you to enjoy. Read Kevin Zelnio’s fantastic overview of these amazing animals. Relive the Isopocalypse of 2010 with Dr. Craig McClain. Watch a couple of giant isopods just going about their day in a video filmed off the coast of Montserrat. Learn more about giant isopods in our ocean-spanning monograph: Sizing Ocean Giants. Ponder why giant isopods don’t get more giant at Deep Sea News. Learn even more interesting facts about isopods with me, right here. Or, for the 3D printer savvy, print your own giant isopod.
Our country is in turmoil as the most brutal presidential campaigns comes to a head. Let’s take a moment and reflect on the things that unite us, the things that inspire us, the things that crawl across our sea floor. Let’s make the giant deep-sea isopod our Nation Deep-sea Animal!