Here's an unusual video from the science community depicting an act most humans would normally never get the chance to witness.
As part of a scientific experiment, researchers in Louisiana dropped a dead alligator into the Gulf of Mexico and recorded giant isopods as they feasted on the reptile's body.
Researchers with the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON) used the carcasses to “examine the role of alligators in biodiversity and carbon cycling in the deep oceans,” Craig McClain, a researcher with LUMCON who worked on the experiment, wrote in a blog post. Apparently, food 2,000 meters below the gulf’s surface can be hard to come by.
A video captured of the event shows multiple giant isopods (scientifically known as Bathynomus giganteus) feeding on at least one of the carcasses. The pink, football-sized creatures (which are basically giant pill bugs, per Sciencealert) took roughly a day to find the food, soon swarming the gator hoping to get their taste, as the scavengers can sometimes go multiple years without food, according to the Aquarium of the Pacific.
"I was surprised there were already giant isopods all over it," the researchers say in the video. "I thought it would take a while for them to get the chemical cues that would allow them to sort of locate a food fall like an alligator."