Scientists in Louisiana captured video of massive soccer sizes that devour a dead alligator they put on the seabed in the Gulf of Mexico earlier this year.
In February, scientists Craig McClain, Clifton Nunnally and River Dixon dropped two alligators in the ocean in what they described as a "first attempt at reptile attack."
The researchers at the Louisiana University Marine Consortium wanted to catch a first-hand glimpse of deep-sea food and what could have happened millions of years ago when extinct reptiles fell to the bottom of the sea.
Louisiana State donated the "humanely euthanized" alligators in the study, the researchers said.
The reptiles were weighed and taken "tens of miles" off the Louisiana coast where they were dropped into the ocean, where they sank about 1
Isopods are related to roly poles or pill errors found on land.
"They are scares that eat dead animals," one of the researchers said in the video.
The pink colored isopods crawled over and inside the dead body as they settled for a full 6 minute video. They ate so fast that they seemed to be "motionless or stupid", the researchers noted.
One of the most surprising findings was how easily the isopods could eat through the hard shadow of the dead alligator.
"Of course, their crushing and crushing mandibles made the simple work of the shed," the video researcher said.
These types of cases are described as "food falls", and the researchers believe that alligators and crocodiles may be the last food source for some invertebrates that lived millions of years ago.
"In fact, the alligator and crocodile food fall as the last remaining refuge of specialized invertebrates that were also in ancient oceans," the video said.
ever deep-sea alligator food falls
Alligator falls can be common in the sea, according to the video. Hurricanes and other tropical storms are believed to carry reptiles out to sea.
The researchers plan to return to the site in a few months to see which other species the dead alligator may have attracted.