This Bloodsucking Sea Parasite Just Happens to Look Exactly Like Delicious Sushi

Don't adjust your screen and don't reach for the soy sauce. The real, living, breathing marine creature you see is what you are seeing in the Japanese aquarium. It just happens to look like salmon sushi.
Aquamarine Fukushima's most famous resident is this sea creature snack. It can be found at the aquarium, which is located on the east coast Japan. Aquarium staff identified the creature in a tweet as an isopod, an order of long flat armor-plated crustaceans found both on land and in sea.

Vice spoke with Mai Hibino, an aquarium caretaker, to confirm that the nigiri-shaped star likely belonged to the genus Rocinela. This genus includes more than 40 species.

Rocinela isopods are parasites that live on dead or decaying animals.

Although most members of the genus look dull and brown, it is possible that Fukushima’s famous sushi pod may have had more than a meal from one its former hosts, Hibino stated.

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Vice reported that Hibino said that parasitic fish may have transferred the [isopod's] color to the isopod.

The unusual isopod was caught by fishermen in a net close to Rausu, Japan's northernmost Island. Hibino stated that the creature was caught at depths of 2,600-4000 feet (880-1200 meters), and appeared to have a full stomach upon its discovery.

Unfortunately, it is impossible to know what the isopod ate in order to get its raw-fish skin. The aquarium stated that the isopod, which measures just 1 inch (3 cm) in length, could easily have been stowed away on larger sea creatures.

This is the norm for isopods. More than 10,000 species have been identified so far, with diets and habitats varying widely.

In 2020, ZooKeys journal published a description of the largest known isopod: a puppy-sized chonker. Its sinister, domed shell earned it "Darth Vader" as scientists described it in ZooKeys. This is one crustacean that we wouldn't invite to dinner.

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Live Science originally published this article. You can read the original article here.