One of the giant isopods at an aquarium in Japan has shed its exoskeleton - and it could be the first time the moulting process of these weird and wonderful animals has ever been observed.
The isopod — a male, known as No. 5 — has been at the Toba Aquarium in Mie Prefecture since 2012. It’s around 25cm/10in in length and weighs 1.25 kg.
It took more than six hours to cast off the back of its shell, but so far it hasn’t shed the front half, reports
The aquarium said that it could be the first time this has ever been seen.
It is unknown when the isopod will shed the remaining front skin, but it is being kept under close observation.
Giant isopods are crustaceans distantly related to the shrimp and crabs, and are members of the genus Bathynomus. They are important scavengers of the deep sea benthic environment, where they feed on dead animals and fish.