The deep-sea isopod looks similar to a roly-poly you might find in a backyard, except it can grow up to a foot long and lives between 300 and 800 meters under sea. Chicago’s Field Museum keeps giant isopod specimens preserved in alcohol for research. As Invertebrates Collection Manager Jochen Gerber explains, giant isopods are scavengers that eat dead fish, crustaceans, and even whales. When he shows them to people, they often draw comparisons to the creatures in the Alien films, says Gerber.

In the video above, Atlas Obscura gets a close-up look at what it takes to maintain these unusual specimens.

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