There are gi­ant woodlice liv­ing at the bot­tom of our oceans (well, sort of)

Focus-Science and Technology - - CONTENTS -

Dive down to the ocean’s gloomy depths and you’ll find an ar­ray of fas­ci­nat­ing crea­tures, one of which might be this gi­ant deep sea iso­pod. Grow­ing to a length of 76cm, they look like huge un­der­wa­ter woodlice, one of their dis­tant rel­a­tives. You can find them skim­ming the seafloor 2,000m be­low the ocean’s sur­face, or for an eas­ier view­ing, catch them in the Nat­u­ral His­tory Mu­seum’s ex­hi­bi­tion Life In The Dark.

Life In The Dark il­lu­mi­nates the buzzing ecosys­tems that ex­ist in the dark­est caves and the deepest oceans, and re­veals the ex­traor­di­nary di­ver­sity of an­i­mals that thrive in a world with­out light. Im­mer­sive in­stal­la­tions recre­ate en­vi­ron­ments that are off-lim­its to most hu­mans, with many usu­ally in­ac­ces­si­ble species on dis­play to the gen­eral pub­lic for the first time.

“At any one time, half the world is in dark­ness – and no sun­light ever reaches the deep sea or un­der­ground caves,” said Prof Ge­off Boxshall, sci­ence lead on the ex­hi­bi­tion. “Yet the night-time world is teem­ing with life, and both the deep sea and caves are in­hab­ited by a myr­iad of species. Even in the ab­sence of light, life has found a way.”

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