Rare Sea Creature Dies before World's 1st Confirmation of Shedding

Society

Toba, Mie Pref., Dec. 10 (Jiji Press)--A rare deep-sea crustacean at an aquarium in Japan has died, before what would have been the world's first confirmation of the creature fully shedding its old exoskeleton, the aquarium said Tuesday.

The male giant isopod at Toba Aquarium in the central prefecture of Mie was confirmed in October to have shed the back half of its old exoskeleton, only the fifth such instance ever confirmed in the world. It died before shedding the front half.

The cause of death is unknown, and the aquarium in the city of Toba plans to conduct an autopsy. The aquarium began raising the male giant isopod, collected from the Gulf of Mexico, in late May 2014. It was roughly 30 centimeters long and weighed about a kilogram.

"We were expecting the world's first observation of the shedding of the front half of its body, so it's death is really regrettable," an official of the aquarium said.

The giant isopod is related to the woodlouse and has the tendency to begin shedding its old exoskeleton from the back half of its body, according to the aquarium.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press