IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


20th January, 2024 Environment


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  • An international team of marine biologists has discovered a unique isopod, a form of crustacean, that has been formally identified as a new species of the genus Booralana from the deep waters of The Bahamas.

Key Points about Isopods:


  • Isopods are part of the class Malacostraca, which also includes crabs, lobsters, and shrimp.
  • The order Isopoda consists of over 10,000 species, ranging from marine to terrestrial environments.

Habitat and Adaptations:

  • Isopods inhabit various ecosystems, including terrestrial environments like leaf litter, soil, and rotting wood, as well as aquatic habitats.
  • They are characterized by their flattened, segmented bodies, with seven pairs of legs and a distinctive exoskeleton.

Feeding Habits:

  • Isopods are primarily detritivores, playing a crucial role in nutrient cycling by consuming decaying organic matter.
  • Some species may also feed on fungi, algae, and other small organisms.


  • Isopods breathe through gills, which are modified structures known as
  • Their ability to respire on land is facilitated by the presence of specialized structures that allow them to retain moisture.


  • Isopods typically reproduce sexually, with females carrying eggs in a pouch-like structure called the marsupium.
  • After hatching, the young isopods resemble miniature adults and undergo a series of molts to reach maturity.

Ubiquitous Presence:

  • Isopods are widely distributed across various ecosystems on Earth, adapting to both terrestrial and aquatic environments.

Evolutionary History:

  • These crustaceans have a long evolutionary history, dating back more than 300 million years.

Size Variation:

  • Isopods exhibit a range of sizes, with many species measuring only a few centimeters in length.

Ecological Roles:

  • In deep-sea ecosystems, isopods primarily function as scavengers, playing a vital role in recycling energy.

Scavenging Behavior:

  • Despite their crucial role as recyclers, there is evidence that some isopods, particularly in deep-sea environments, can exhibit predatory behavior, attacking living vertebrates such as sharks.

Longevity without Eating:

  • Isopods are known for their remarkable ability to survive for several years without consuming food.

Example - Booraland nickorum:

  • Booraland nickorum, a newly discovered isopod in Bahamian waters at depths exceeding 500 meters, shares traits with its counterparts.
  • This species showcases resilience and adaptability similar to other isopods, surviving in challenging deep-sea conditions.

Ecological Importance:

  • Isopods contribute significantly to the decomposition of organic matter, aiding in nutrient recycling in ecosystems.
  • Their role as decomposers helps maintain soil fertility and contributes to the overall balance of natural systems.

Economic Significance:

  • While isopods are not of direct economic importance, they are valuable indicators of environmental health and ecosystem functioning.
  • Some species may be studied for their potential in bioremediation efforts.



Consider the following statements regarding isopods:

1.Isopods are exclusively marine crustaceans that primarily inhabit deep-sea ecosystems.

2.The evolutionary history of isopods dates back approximately 100 million years.

3.Isopods are crucial scavengers in ecosystems, contributing to energy recycling.

Which of the statements is/are correct?

a) 1 only

b) 2 only

c) 3 only

d) 1 and 3 only

The correct answer is:

c) 3 only


  1. Incorrect: Isopods are not exclusively marine; they are found in various ecosystems, including terrestrial and aquatic environments. They are not restricted to deep-sea ecosystems.
  2. Incorrect: The evolutionary history of isopods dates back more than 300 million years, not 100 million years.
  3. Correct: Isopods are indeed crucial scavengers in ecosystems, playing a significant role in recycling energy by feeding on decaying organic matter.

Therefore, the correct answer is option (c) 3 only.