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2021 Rewind: Japan's 36-armed octopus and other rarities of nature

From a 36-armed octopus to brightly colored creatures, Japan had its share of natural rarities in 2021. Below is a selection of some of the unusual creatures and natural phenomena the country encountered in 2021.

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    The octopus at Saikai National Park Kujukushima Aquarium Umi Kirara with 36 branched arms is seen in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture, on July 7, 2021. (Mainichi/Hiroshi Watanuki)

    << 36-armed octopus on show at Japanese aquarium>>

    SASEBO, Nagasaki -- A 36-armed octopus has debuted at an aquarium in this southwestern Japan city. Visitors to the Saikai National Park Kujukushima Aquarium Umi Kirara in the Nagasaki Prefecture city of Sasebo marveled as the octopus deftly used its 36 limbs of various sizes to catch food. Full story.

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    Blue bees are seen buzzing above a flower at Fukuoka Prefectural Central Park in the city of Kitakyushu's Kokurakita Ward on Sept. 7, 2021. (Mainichi/Takashi Kamiiriki)=Click/tap photo for more images.

    << 'Lucky' blue bees buzz around park flower bed in Japan's Fukuoka Pref.>>

    KITAKYUSHU -- A rare species of blue bees said to bring happiness have been spotted in a park in this southwest Japan city. The Thyreus decorus bees, characterized by their blue and black stripes, measure between 1 and 1.5 centimeters long, and do not make their own nests. Full story.

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    A bright yellow tree frog is seen at the Ongagawa Mizubekan natural science education center in Nogata, Fukuoka Prefecture. (Mainichi/Yasuhiro Takeuchi)

    << Bright yellow tree frog found in Fukuoka>>

    NOGATA, Fukuoka -- A yellow tree frog has been brought to a natural science education center in this southwestern Japanese city, following a rare blue tree frog found last month. The approximately 2-centimeter-long yellow frog was found by 67-year-old Kurumi Suenaga in her home garden in the city. Full story.

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    This photo shows the golden weather loach, above, and an ordinary brown one in Oe, Yamagata Prefecture, on April 23, 2021. (Mainichi/Jo Kamiuse)

    << Rare golden weather loach to go on public display in Japan; name suggestions welcome>>

    OE, Yamagata -- A rare golden weather loach that was found in this northwestern Japan town will go on public display on April 29, and the public is being invited to suggest a name for the creature. Full story.

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    A golden demon stinger, left, and an ordinary one are seen at Enoshima Aquarium in this photo provided by the facility.

    << Rare golden demon stinger debuts at aquarium near Tokyo, creates social media buzz>>

    FUJISAWA, Kanagawa -- A rare golden demon stinger recently debuted at Enoshima Aquarium in this east Japan city, creating a buzz on social media and elsewhere with posts such as, "It will likely bring good luck." Full story.

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    "Ice bubbles" are seen in Lake Nukabira in Kamishihoro, Hokkaido Prefecture, on Jan. 6, 2021. The formations are created when gas and other substances gushing from the bottom of the lake freeze near the surface and become trapped in multiple layers. (Mainichi/Taichi Kaizuka)

    << 'Ice bubbles' on surface of frozen lake delight photographers in northern Japan>>

    KAMISHIHORO, Hokkaido --- "Ice bubbles" on the surface of a frozen lake in Japan's northernmost prefecture are attracting photographers keen to catch a glimpse of the beautiful disk-shaped formations created by nature. Full story.

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    A moray eel, left, puts its head into the mouth of a black-spotted moray at the Susami Municipal Aquarium of Crab and Shrimp in Wakayama Prefecture. (Photo courtesy of the aquarium)

    << Jaw dropping: Moray placing head in eel's mouth at Japan aquarium creates Twitter buzz>>

    SUSAMI, Wakayama -- A video that shows a moray eel putting its head into another moray's mouth at an aquarium in this west Japan town has created a buzz on Twitter. Susami Municipal Aquarium of Crab and Shrimp director Atsushi Hirai spotted by coincidence a roughly 90-centimeter-long moray eel suddenly putting its head into the wide-open mouth of an about 170-centimeter-long black-spotted moray. Full story.

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    A new species of deep-sea fish, scientifically named "Narcetes shonanmaruae," is seen after being caught in Suruga Bay, off the coast of Shizuoka Prefecture. (Photo courtesy of JAMSTEC)

    << Mysterious new apex predator discovered in dark depths of Japan's Suruga Bay>>

    TOKYO -- A new species of deep-sea fish measuring over a meter long has been discovered in Japan's deepest bay by a research team led by the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC). Full story.

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    A "Wataboshi Kurage" jellyfish is seen in this photo provided by the Enoshima Aquarium.

    << East Japan aquarium finds new jellyfish species, names it after bridal headdress>>

    FUJISAWA, Kanagawa -- An aquarium here has discovered a new species of jellyfish in waters near the island of Enoshima, confirmed after repeated analyzation. Full story.

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    And finally, if the preceding wonders of nature were not fishy enough, we arrive at an article on a horde of mullet that mysteriously found their way to the mouth of a central Japan river.

    A large school of mullet is seen in the Myokei River in the city of Toba, Mie Prefecture, on Feb. 10, 2021. (Kazushige Hayashi)

    << Huge, expanding school of mullet fish occupies central Japan river mouth>>

    TOBA, Mie -- In a rare spectacle that has attracted many local onlookers and created quite the splash, a horde of mullet fish has swarmed the mouth of a river in this central Japan city. Full story.

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