In a Japan first, isopod at Toba Aquarium molts


Toba Aquarium in Mie Prefecture said Sunday that it has confirmed a giant isopod’s shedding of its skin — the first time such occurrence logged in the country.

“It could possibly be the first observation in the world. We hope this could help discover the mysterious ecology,” the aquarium said.

The creature, which devours dead animals and fish that sink deep into the sea, is called “the scavenger of the deep sea.”

The aquarium’s male isopod, No. 5, was caught in the Gulf of Mexico and brought to the facility in 2012, measuring 25 cm and weighing 1.25 kg.

At around 7:30 a.m. on Friday, a member of the breeding staff found it molting. It took about six and a half hours for the creature to cast off the back half of its skin.

It is unknown when the isopod will shed the remaining front skin, and the aquarium said it will keep observing the creature.