Systematic: Amphibian (non amniotic tetrapod) lissamphibien (modern amphibian), anura (order of frogs and toads), family pipidés. Benthogyrinus is the only genus of amphibian survive the sixth extinction caused by humans. It includes only one species, B. giganteus.
Etymology: The Greek "Benthos", depth, and the Latin "gyrinus" the tadpole.
Cousin of the XXI century: Xenopus laevis, or African clawed frog, a frog up to 10 cm long. In the Xenopus laevis, the eggs hatch gives rise to a freshwater tadpole that, several weeks later and under the hormonal secretions effect, is transformed into a frog.Evolution: Among the dynamically evolving process behind Benthogyrinus giganteus, hormone irregularity has favored the emergence of large tetard surpportant saltwater. At Benthogyrinus, thyroid no longer secrete hormones metamorphosis. The mature individual, half frog tadpole half, only has two small rear legs. This amphibian aquatic remains all his life and he retains larval features: talking about neoteny. This phenomenon is observed in several amphibians of the 21st century, as the axolotl, which keeps larval characters (gill, tail) and aquatic life in the state to adult.
Distribution: The depths of the oceans, especially areas of upwelling, riches of plankton.Size: 40 meters for females, and 15 meters for males. This is one of the largest marine animals the world has ever known. Like other amphibians, growth Benthogyrinus is continuous: It only stops his death. As its life expectancy is long (up to 50 years), Benthogyrinus reached gigantic sizes.
Morphology: Benthogyrinus owns a flat skull very special, boomerang-shaped, with large expansions on odds. This morphology is not new in the evolution of amphibians already in Permian (late Paleozoic era), the famous Diplocaulus had already adopted a head-shaped boomerang to impress the females and / or increase lift, thus its buoyancy. Benthogyrinus mouth devoid of teeth and tongue, widely opens downward. The eyes are reduced and in lateral position. The body is covered with a soft skin on the belly and a thick leather on the back. The back legs are reduced to small expansions by a rudder. The tail, very long (almost two-thirds of the body) and flexible, actively involved in locomotion. It is laterally flattened and has, above and below, bone-forming rays real fins.
Ecology: At the difference his cousin 21st century, Benthogyrinus exclusively aquatic. It occupies the ecological niche of current baleen whales (baleen), with the difference that it prefers deep, up to 6000 meters deep. Its tolerance to salt water (euryhalinity), rare among lissamphibians, is due to the presence of a salt gland located between the palace and the brain (as in certain marine turtle of the 21st century). This organ also plays a role and sonar helps adults identify themselves in the deep sea. Benthogyrinus relishes zooplankton (like Stegoichthys, fish-plankton) that absorbs large quantities and inside of the mouth filter using its gill bones. Predators include Rhombosepia imperator.
Reproduction: It takes place on the surface, in the warm waters of upwells. Males begin to attract females with love songs. Once close enough ladies, they begin nuptiles impressive parades composed ballets and jumps. The suitors then await the night the female lays about 500 eggs gelatinous with a diameter of 70 cm each. These translucent balloons float on the surface in the form of clusters and constitute veritable organic islands. The male is then invited to fertilize the eggs, gently manipulates it between his little hind legs. 500 eggs laid, 300 are fertilized in the night, but very few manage to hatch: first hatched tadpoles eat those still in the egg.
Embedded wildlife Benthogyrinus
The spine of Benthogyrinus is coated with a thick leathery skin, a genuine crust which supports many parasites and commensals. These feed on the waste produced by the great amphibian and in turn make her toilet. This phenomenon already exists in modern whales.
Cyamus ornatus, the "lice decorated" Compared cousin of the 21st century (cyamus ovalis) C.ornatus is much larger (30 cm diameter) and its shell decorated with colored pustules. It has only one pair of antennas. Almost blind, this veritable "cleaner" feeds on dead skin from his bed, he spots thanks to its mouthparts (or maxillipeds).
Neoctopus fucus is a cleaner octopus (1 meter long) nestled near the mouth of Benthogyrinus. Grazing of leftover food which strews its host mouth, Benthogyrinus, thanks to its extendable beak he acts, he and his fellows, of toothbrush while mimicking an alga so as not to arouse the curiosity of predators. The mimetic power already exists in some octopus today.
Caprella vernei, whose name is dedicated to French novelist, poet, and playwright Jules Verne, is a futuristic kind of crustacean (20 cm long), caprellidae, which looks like a praying mantis. Detrivore herbivore, it feeds on algae and other organisms encrusted on the leather of his host, Benthogyrinus. The caprellidae kind already exists today.