Not all the monsters of the depths have sharp teeth and crushing jaws.
In a spooky video recorded a mile and a quarter deep in the Gulf of Mexico, you see a gang of isopods the size of a soccer ball, crustaceans like polies or bug bugs, going to the city on an alligator . times its size.
Researchers Craig McClain and Clifton Nunnally, of the marine consortium of the universities of Louisiana, who produced the images, say it may have been months or years since these bugs have eaten.
Once a strong piece of "food" perches on the ocean floor, these lobster cousins use their formidable jaws to break the scaly crocodile armor to feed on its juicy muscle.
"They have this incredible ability to pile up, store that energy and basically have no other food for months or years," says McClain.
The crocodile shell was actually donated to the LUMCON research team by the state of Louisiana, where the animals were humanely slaughtered as part of their program to curb the populations of alligators. They are particularly interested in the fall of alligators because they are the closest thing on earth today to ancient marine reptiles. Isopods have ancestors that date back 300 million years.
Scientists believe that some of the creatures that feed on today's crocodiles also existed millions of years ago.
It took less than a day for these lower feeders to eat half of the lizard's abdomen. Some get so full they can barely move after the meal.
"They eat so much that they basically become immobile or stupefied in their actions, and then that may be the fact that they have gorged themselves so much in an effort to get this rare resource that they really have, you know, inhibit proper locomotion. "says Nunnally.
Once the isopods have been filled, other scavengers will finish the decomposing remains.