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Island hopping is the crossing of an ocean by a series of shorter journeys between islands, as opposed to a single journey directly to the destination. In military strategy, it is the method of conquering islands in a steady sequence, usually with a defined endpoint. The strategy was employed by the United States in the Pacific War against the Empire of Japan during World War II. Island Hopping began from the Midway Islands (named so because of their proximity between Hawaii and Japan) and culminated in the defeat of all Japanese Island colonies, leaving only mainland Japan.
Oceanic dispersal in biology, where terrestrial species migrate by sea from one landmass to another, is often achieved by rafting on mats of tangled vegetation—the outcome of which is called a rafting event. This process may be facilitated by geographically intermediate islands that break up the migration into a number of shorter steps. Colonization of a series of islands (or larger land masses) by a sequential rafting process is sometimes described as island hopping. Such a process appears to have played a role, for example, in the colonization of the Caribbean by mammals of South American origin (including caviomorphs and monkeys).
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