Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Bahamas shark station comes under attack - but the monster isn't Jaws, it's a foot-long woodlouse from 8,500ft down

When 'teeth marks' appeared in cables of an underwater camera system in the Bahamas and the camera cut out, the scientists in charge began to look around for a cuplrit. 

Edd Brooks of the Bahamas Cape Eleuthera Institute took a closer look at the cables and found that the teeth marks looked like a huge crustacean had gnawed on them. 

The truth was even stranger: they were under attack from a foot long undersea woodlouse. 

'There’s nothing else with mandibles that sharp,' says Brooks. 'It was a Bathynomus attack.'

The beast normally lives 8,500ft under water. Called the Bathynomus Giganteus, it is a super-sized cousin of the humble woodlouse.

Its legs are arranged in seven pairs, and its front two are able to manipulate and bring food to its four sets of jaws. 

It is a scavenger that feeds on dead whales, fish and shrimp.

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