Crustaceans eating away island off Hiroshima

Crumbling islandAn island off the coast of Higashihiroshima is crumbling away due to countless crustaceans that have made holes in its rocks and caused its highest peak to completely disappear.

The rocky Hoboro Island has become a breeding ground for huge numbers of creatures known in Japanese as nanatsuba-kotsubumushi, a type of isopod.

"It's rare, even on a global scale, to hear of biological erosion that has proceeded on such a large scale and at such a rapid pace as to alter the landscape of an island," said Yuji Okimura, an emeritus professor at Hiroshima University.

According to land records of Hoboro Island compiled in 1928, the island was 120 meters long, and its highest point stood 21.9 meters above sea level. In a photo taken between about 1955 and 1965, the island had two rocky peaks, and vegetation was growing on the highest of the peaks.

Now, however, the highest peak has almost completely vanished, leaving only one rocky protrusion about 6 meters high. Because of this, most of the island is submerged at full tide.

Link & Image: Mainichi News via Boing Boing
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