The lice that live on elephant seals can survive the pressures of the deep sea
Paul Souders / Getty Images
Seal lice – blood-sucking marine insects that live on seals, sea lions and walruses – can survive the crush of the deep ocean, withstanding the equivalent of pressures found 2000 metres deep for several minutes. One louse even survived the pressures found at 4000 metres deep.
Seal lice (Lepidophthirus macrorhini) live out their entire lifecycle on their marine hosts, and previous research has shown that these insects survive being submerged in seawater for days by entering an immobile, low metabolism state …