While alligators may be apex predators during their lifetime, when they die, many return to the watery depths to become just another part of the food chain, shows new research.
In the first-ever ‘food fall’ involving sea-faring reptiles — in this case Alligators —researchers dropped two carcasses to the bottom of the ocean to find out just how their bodies might be disposed of.
What they discovered was that, like other animals of scale that live in the Earth’s oceans, the Alligator carcasses quickly became a feast for a bevy of bottom-feeding sea bugs called isopods.
For those unfamiliar with the scavenging sea creatures, they may look strikingly similar to a land insect known as Armadillidiidae, commonly referred to as Pill Bugs or ‘Roly Poly bugs.’
The similarity is no coincidence, according to researchers.
Both the isopods and pill bugs come from the same order of animals.
One major difference, aside from their size — giant isopods grow to be roughly the size of an American football — is their insatiable appetite.
In the video, scientists observed some of the creatures gorging on the carcass until they were almost completely immobile.