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Natural World

Giant isopod dies after 5-year hunger strike

February 17, 2014 | Comment icon 21 comments



Giant isopods live in the depths of the ocean. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.5 OpenCage
The huge deep sea crustacean was kept at a Japanese aquarium and hadn't eaten for 1,869 days.
The peculiar creature sprung to fame after footage of it appeared online and the story of its sudden refusal to eat went viral. One of nine giant isopods kept at Japan's Toba Aquarium, the last thing it was thought to have eaten was some fish back on January 2nd 2009.
Measuring an average of up to 36cm in length, giant isopods are rarely seen but are thought to be abundant in the cold depths of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. A relative of the common woodlouse, the isopods are of little interest to fishermen and the few that are caught tend to end up being scavenged before they can be reeled in.

"It's sad that we were unable to feed it," said Takeya Moritaki of the aquarium's breeding research department. "I'm grateful to have had it, since it helped to create an opportunity to bring giant isopods into the spotlight."

Source: The Japan News | Comments (21)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #12 Posted by pallidin 8 years ago
Actually, some animals can live for far longer than 5 years without food if they enter a dormant state. Tardigrades, for example, can perform "cryptobiosis", where they dry themselves out and can last for decades, if not centuries, without food or water. You're right, my bad. I should have said no active creature. Again, though, as I recall from reading somewhere a while ago, that specific isopod would no longer eat it's native food source, whatever that is, so they infused the tank water with nutrients, which kept it alive for 5 more years. Wish I had the link. Sorry.
Comment icon #13 Posted by beelzebufo 8 years ago
You're right, my bad. I should have said no active creature. Again, though, as I recall from reading somewhere a while ago, that specific isopod would no longer eat it's native food source, whatever that is, so they infused the tank water with nutrients, which kept it alive for 5-years. Wish I had the link. Sorry. Yeah I wasn't saying you were wrong about the isopod, I just got the sudden urge to be a smart***.
Comment icon #14 Posted by pallidin 8 years ago
I hear you. I do that myself from time-to-time; for myself especially after a beer or 2 Still, you gave good info, thanks.
Comment icon #15 Posted by Rogue Suga 8 years ago
Poor thing
Comment icon #16 Posted by coolguy 8 years ago
Rip.thats cool looking they should have put it back in the ocean
Comment icon #17 Posted by EllJay 8 years ago
Horrible creature, looks like it's taken out of a horror movie. I can't help feel itchy and scratch myself all over when I see it. But it's to bad that he died though. Could be many different things that held him from eating. He might not function that well when he is out of the water pressure he is used to at the bottom, or the light he gets. Down there it's pitch dark, and it might have screwed with his senses or something, who knows. Here is a face only a mother could love.
Comment icon #18 Posted by MJNYC 8 years ago
they should have released it.
Comment icon #19 Posted by mesuma 8 years ago
They should eat it, only seems right.
Comment icon #20 Posted by beelzebufo 8 years ago
I wonder how it would taste. Maybe like a really big shrimp?
Comment icon #21 Posted by Xynoplas 8 years ago
In other news, the cafeteria has a new menu item.


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