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Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum
Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Visiting Scientist Feature: Ms. Conni Sidabalok

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Visiting Scientist Feature: Ms. Conni Sidabalok

We’re back yet again with another visiting scientist feature – this time, on Ms. Conni Sidabalok from the Research Center for Biology, Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), in Cibinong, Indonesia.

Ms. Sidabalok was here to sort and examine marine isopod specimens collected from the SJADES 2018 expedition.

During her 3-week visit, she examined marine isopods from the families Cirolanidae, Aegidae, Limnoriidae, and Corallanidae.

This also included the ‘star’ specimen from the expedition, the deep-sea super giant isopod, which the team affectionately nicknamed ‘Darth Vader’.

Measuring over 25 cm in length, ‘Darth Vader’ is unlike any other marine isopod Ms. Sidabalok has encountered before – the ones she normally studies are on average 5 mm in size.

It is rare to encounter such massive super giant isopods, which makes the discovery of ‘Darth Vader’ even more iconic, she said.

It is also the first record of the super giant isopod from Indonesia. Around the world, super giant isopods have been found in the Gulf of Mexico, Coral Sea, South China Sea and some other locations.

During her visit, Ms. Sidabalok examined about 30 specimens. Among these specimens, at press time she reckons that there is one new species from the genus Bathynomus. More research has to be done to determine if there are any other new species from the rest of the specimens.

We had a great time hosting Ms. Sidabalok, and look forward to the results of her research! 🙂