The Darth Vader Isopod is quite the site to see.

Imagine taking a stroll on the sea shore and coming across a cockroach the size of a rabbit! Well, a cockroach-like animal that can grow to up to 20 inches has been discovered by a team of biologists, and it’s been affectionately nicked-named Darth Vader….

The animal falls in the category of ‘isopods,’ which are a species of animals that are crustaceans that live in fresh water, in the sea and even on land. The biologists who found this isopod believe it to be one of the largest of it’s species that can be found around the globe today. Not only does it look one-of-a-kind, but it is also quite rare; so rare, that it is the first giant isopod species that big to be discovered by scientists in over a decade.

The alien like sea cockroach has an average length of 13 inches. This is about 30 times larger than other species of isopods. On any ocean floor, there can be about 10,000 different species of isopods and crustaceans. Though the larger species of isopods can be about as large as 14.2 inches and as small as 7.5 inches, this creature is so far the largest to be discovered by researches….so far.

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Remember this giant isopod we fished out from the deep-sea and affectionately nicknamed โ€˜Darth Vaderโ€™ for its likeness to the Star Wars character?โฃ โฃ Meet ๐˜‰๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜บ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฎ๐˜ถ๐˜ด ๐˜ณ๐˜ข๐˜ฌ๐˜ด๐˜ข๐˜ด๐˜ข, a marine isopod (Crustacea) collected from dark and cold depths of the Indian Ocean during the 2018 joint Singapore-Indonesia South Java Deep Sea Expedition (SJADES). โฃ โฃ The new species has grabbed the headlines internationally over the past two weeks, arousing much curiosity over its gigantic size and unusual appearance.โฃ โฃ The enormous size and significance of the find inspired its name โ€œraksasaโ€, which is the Indonesian โฃword for giant. How big you ask? Averaging 33 centimetres, the giant isopod is around 20 times larger than pillbugs, to which it is related!โฃ โฃ The expedition continues to bear fruit with scientific discoveries two years on, and this rewarding discovery is merely one out of 11 new species from the voyage. Swipe to see some of the new โฃ crustacean species, but do check out our latest update for ALL the new species, including two new papers just published today! ๐Ÿ‘€ Link in Bioโฃ โฃ โฃ 1-3: ๐˜‰๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜บ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฎ๐˜ถ๐˜ด ๐˜ณ๐˜ข๐˜ฌ๐˜ด๐˜ข๐˜ด๐˜ข, a new giant isopod speciesโฃ 4: ๐˜•๐˜ฆ๐˜ฑ๐˜ฉ๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฑ๐˜ด๐˜ช๐˜ด ๐˜ณ๐˜ข๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜บ๐˜ถ๐˜ข๐˜ฆ, a new clawed lobsterโฃ 5: ๐˜›๐˜บ๐˜ฑ๐˜ฉ๐˜ญ๐˜ฐ๐˜ค๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ค๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฑ๐˜ด ๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ฅ๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ด, a new crabโฃ 6: ๐˜Ž๐˜ญ๐˜บ๐˜ฑ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฐ๐˜ค๐˜ณ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜จ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ณ๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ๐˜ด๐˜ต๐˜ณ๐˜ช๐˜ด, a new shrimpโฃ โฃ #SJADES2018 #NUSResearchโฃ โฃ All photos by SJADES 2018

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Prior to it’s rather cool, slightly dark. Star Wars- themed nick-name, the species was known as Bathynomus raksasa. Just doesn’t have the same oomph, does it? The name originates from the word ‘rakasa’ which is Indonesian for giant. The alien like creature was first spotted in 2018 in the Indian Ocean on the coast of Indonesia, specifically a place known as Southern Java. After its discovery, researchers classified the creature as a species on its own due to some special features it had such as the shape of its head, its spine and abdominal features as well as the attributes of its shield.

Like other isopods, the B. rakasa species has some common features like two antennae sets, four jaw sets and a body that is segmented into seven sections. In a study of the creatures done recently, a female and a male Darth Vader Isopod were taken from the south coast of Java in Indonesia. This was an expedition that involved scientists and researchers from the Institute of Sciences from Indonesia and the Tropical Marine Science Institute from Singapore. The leader of this expedition was Conni Sidabalok who is from the Research Center in Singapore. The two isopods used in the study were discovered rom a depth of 3,000 to 4,100 feet, and it was found that there are even more isopods as deep as 8,500 feet underwater.

The Darth Vader Isopod is truly an example of the great bio diversity that exists in the world today. This discovery also shows that there is still so much that is yet to be found in our oceans.

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