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Phronima is a genus of small, deepsea hyperiid amphipods of the family Phronimidae. It is found throughout the world's oceans, except in polar regions.[1] Phronima species live in the pelagic zone of the deep ocean. Their bodies are semitransparent. Although commonly known as parasites, they are more technically correctly called parasitoids.[2] Instead of constantly feeding on a live host, females attack salps, using their mouths and claws to eat the animal and hollow out its gelatinous shell.[3] Phronima females then enter the barrel and lay their eggs inside. The parasitoid then propels the barrel through the water as the larvae develop, providing them with fresh food and water.[3]


The genus Phronima contains these species:[4]


It has been said[9] that the creatures in the Alien franchise were inspired by Phronima.[10] Although some people believe the aliens in the Alien movies were inspired by a painting done by H. R. Giger,[11] the similarities in appearance between Phronima species and the so called "xenomorphs" from the Alien franchise are too great to ignore. The most obvious similarity is the large crest located on the top of the head of both creatures. Although the crest in the xenomorph species appears to act as some type of armor, this crest adorned by Phronima is actually a set of upward-facing eyes. [12]


  1. ^ a b James K. Lowry (2003). "Phronimidae". Peracarida : Amphipoda, Cumacea, Mysidacea. Volume 2, Part 2 of Crustacea: Malacostraca in Zoological catalogue of Australia. CSIRO Publishing. pp. 339–344. ISBN 978-0-643-06902-2. 
  2. ^ http://www.livescience.com/43076-meet-phronima-the-barrel-riding-parasite-that-inspired-the-movie-alien.html.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ a b Damond Benningfield (June 8, 2008). "Phronima". Science and the Sea. University of Texas Marine Science Institute. Retrieved October 11, 2010. 
  4. ^ WoRMS (2010). "Phronima Latreille, 1802". In J. Lowry. World Amphipoda database. World Register of Marine Species. Retrieved October 11, 2010. 
  5. ^ http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Phronima/classification/.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Phronima/classification/.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Phronima/classification/.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ "Animal Diversity Web". University of Michigan Museum of Zoology. 
  9. ^ The Blue Planet, episode 2, about 4 minutes after the start
  10. ^ "Deep Sea Creature That Inspired the Alien Series". deepseacreatures.org. Retrieved 29 October 2012. 
  11. ^ "Did Phronima inspire the design of the Alien Queen?". ARTHROPODA. 
  12. ^ "Did Phronima inspire the design of the Alien Queen?". ARTHROPODA. 


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