The 27 Best Deep-Sea Species #21: Pram bug, Phronima sp.

Deepsea4_2Pdhb_0000_0004ad_l

#21 Phronima spp. (Phylum: Arthropoda, Class: Malacostraca, Order: Amphipoda, Family: Phronimidae)

Pram bug Phronima sp. is a nasty deep-sea amphipod that carves its home from the guts of an unfortunate salp. It’s small, less than one inch, but like most amphipods, its ugly and ferocious. After consuming the innards of the pelagic jelly, Phronima crawls inside it like a new translucent mobile home, and there she lays her eggs. Don’t get between an ovigerous pram bug and a double-wide. You’ll regret it.

Pram bugs usually inhabit the deep-sea, but they have been known to invade Scotland. Cause to worry? “Yes," you might say, "run for your lives! They’re the evil inspiration for HR Giger’s Aliens, with four compound eyes that scan 270 degrees, so there’s no escape. Scotland’s doooomed."

But actually, “no”, the part about Aliens is a rumor. Wikipedia says the Xenomorphs in Aliens were inspired by the painting Necronom IV. It does not resemble Phronima. HR Giger’s agent says Giger never “inspired himself by animals, terrestrial or marine”. Oh well, his loss. This YouTube link shows video of a living specimen  trapped in a jar. – PE

Images courtesy Natural Visions, UK and National Geographic

Peter Etnoyer (406 Posts)

PhD candidate at Texas A&M University- Corpus Christi and doctoral fellow Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies.





4 comments on “The 27 Best Deep-Sea Species #21: Pram bug, Phronima sp.
  1. Sweeeeet! The ultimate amphipod!
    Wow, that really is his loss, and not sure I would believe the agent to say he was NEVER inspired by animals terrestrial or marine…

  2. Pingback: Cartoon 01/06/2010 | Ripley's Believe It or Not!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>