Visitors to the ocean this summer should think twice before handling the colorful and cuddly octopuses they come across or find on the end of their fishing lines.
Highly toxic blue-ringed octopuses that can kill a human with a single bite have been spotted recently in Kanagawa and Chiba prefectures, even though the small creatures normally inhabit waters near Kyushu and farther south.
Researchers believe that increases in ocean temperatures have led to a spread of the octopuses farther north than their usual habitat.
According to officials of the Research Institute of Marine Invertebrates in Tokyo's Chuo Ward, the blue-ringed octopuses grow to about 15 centimeters long. While the animals are normally brownish in color and docile, they turn a brilliant yellow when attacked, and their bodies become covered with fluorescent blue spots. The octopus produces venom containing tetrodotoxin, the same toxin found in deadly fugu or blowfish. One or two milligrams of the venom can kill a human.
The octopuses normally inhabit reefs in subtropical regions stretching from Japan to Australia. However, the animals have been increasingly spotted in the Kanto region in recent years.
About 1,000 people lined up for the opening of Starbucks in Tottori City on Saturday morning. Tottori Prefecture was the final frontier for the popular coffee shop chain that now has more than 1,000 stores in Japan's 47 prefectures. (Japan Today)
Fugu pufferfish that make beautiful "crop circles" on the seabed off Amami-Oshima island in Kagoshima Prefecture have been chosen as one of the top 10 new species for 2015 by an international research institute, according to the National Museum of Nature and Science. (The Japan News)
Okayama Prefectural Police have launched an attempted murder investigation following the shooting of two organized crime members outside a hostess club in Tamano City early Saturday morning, reports the Sankei Shimbun. (Tokyo Reporter)
In a crackdown on overcharging of customers, Tokyo Metropolitan Police on Friday announced the bust of two hostess clubs in Shinjuku Ward for overcharging customers, reports the TBS News (May 22). (Tokyo Reporter)
Pedestrian crosswalk laws are all over the place no matter where you go. What's considered jaywalking varies by country, and in the U.S. each state has its own laws for exactly how far the pedestrian needs to have crossed on the crosswalk before you have to stop. (rocketnews24.com)