This is it! This is the legendary Bathynomous giganteus. The giant, deep-sea isopod that prowls the deep Gulf of Mexico, ravaging whalefalls, scavenging scraps. The living embodiment of large and in charge.
Roly poly. Pill bug. Wood louse. Whatever you call the adorable pill-sized isopods that crawl out from soggy logs, this is their cat-sized big sister.
For years, I've been fascinated by giant isopods. Though many specimens have passed through my lab, they were never in good enough condition to make a solid 3D scan. Now, at last, fortune and opportunity have coalescent around this one perfect isopod, to be immortalized and duplicated.
Read a bit about the biology and ecology of the giant deep-sea isopod in our epic monograph: Sizing ocean giants: patterns of intraspecific size variation in marine megafauna.
Observe the behavior of these mighty and enigmatic arthropods in these two videos:
Giant deep-sea isopod digging a burrow and Giant deep-sea isopod swims away
Help me continue to make true-to-life 3D models of marine organisms, as well as my other ocean science initiatives by supporting me on Patreon. Even a dollar or two a month goes a long way towards the continued development of my ocean projects.
In the deep Gulf of Mexico, there dwelt a giant isopod. In fact, there dwelt many thousands of giant isopods. One day, or, perhaps many days over the course of a field season, a great trawl descended upon them, and carried them to the surface. After many months of study, they were resigned to the deep freezer, where they waited for years, maybe decades, for the next deep-sea biologist to pull them out and study them.
But retirement happened first, and they languished until, at last, they were passed on to a colleague and friend, who recognized their value. From that great pile of isopods we found the perfect one.
This isopod was scanned with a smartphone, using 123D Catch, edited in Meshmixer and 3D Builder, and printed on a Printrbot with Repetier.