The popular “No. 1″ giant isopod of Toba Aquarium in Mie Prefecture, famous for his five-year “hunger strike,” passed away last Friday, according to aquarium officials. No cause of death has been found yet after the autopsy, although its refusal to eat anything for the past five years may have played a role in its demise.
No. 1 is one of nine giant isopods that are kept by the aquarium, but became known to the rest of the world as the one that for some unknown reason, has been on a “hunger strike” since January 2, 2009. Its last meal was a 50g morsel of horse mackerel, and since then has refused to eat anything. On Valentine’s Day, his keeper, Takeya Moritaki of the breeding research department, went to offer the 29-centimeter long isopod kibinago, or silver-stripe round herrings, at around 5:00 PM when he found No. 1 dead. “It’s sad that we were unable to feed it. I’m grateful to have had it, since it helped to create an opportunity to bring giant isopods into the spotlight,” said Moritaki.
No.1’s 1,869 day hunger strike is probably the longest recorded period of time that an animal has been observed to have gone without any form of sustenance. Researchers will now try to find out why it did so and to discover more things about their specie. Meanwhile, the makers of a giant isopod iPhone case (because of course you need one) expect that their sales will increase now that No. 1 is once again in the news.
[ via Yomiuri]