I’ve never been a fan of insects, but there are some that I tolerate more than others. Ants are the only insects besides flies that I would tolerate being around or touching. As adorable as this panda colored insect looks, it’s actually not an ant, it’s a wasp. It belongs to a family of more than 3,000 wasps better known as cow killers or cow ants due to their painful sting. The reason they look like ants is because they are wingless females. There are also some red/orange ones often referred to as velvet ants. A lot of these species of Mutillidae are found in the southwestern United States and adjacent parts of Mexico (far away from me thankfully).
I’ve seen this image a few times and decided to find out a little more about this amazing looking octopus. This is the Bioluminescent Octopus, scientifically known as: Stauroteuthis syrtensis. It is found in the North Atlantic Ocean, at extreme depths that range from 500 to 4,000 m. It has eight tentacles that are unequal in length, the longest extending to about 14 in., and they are joined by two webs, which gives it its umbrella-like shape. There are a total of about 60 adhesive suckers on each arm, 40 of which are modified to emit a blue-green light, known as photophores. It is believed that the function of these photophores is as defense, to scare off predators, and to also lure small crustaceans, its primary diet. The texture is gelatinous (as you would expect), and it is reddish-brown and translucent (you can see its organs through its skin!).
I’ve always been amazed by deep-sea creatures, the mystery of what we haven’t discovered yet has always interested me. Unfortunately this creature is so rare there are no videos of it. The known information is known only from a few gathered specimens.
Although this little mystical-looking creature resembles a dragon, it’s only a sea slug. It feeds on other pelagic creatures like the venomous cnidarian. Picking up one of these isn’t recommended, the ability to store nematocysts within its own tissues, to be able to eat other venomous creatures, also allows them to deliver a painful sting.
These slugs don’t grow to be much larger than 3 centimeters in length. You won’t find these in U.S waters, they are found in the East and South Coast of South Africa, European waters, the east coast of Australia and Mozambique. They float upside down on the surface tension of the ocean. Their gas-filled sac in its stomach allows them to float on the water’s surface.
Here is a video of a few that were collected in New South Wales.
There is a tale about three hunters found dead around a campfire in Oregon in the 1960s. They showed no signs of injury and were not robbed. The only strange thing at the scene was a coffee pot, in which a curled up newt laid inside. a scientist named Butch Brodie became curious about the story and decided to investigate. The newt in the coffee pot-known as the rough-skinned newt-has a dull brown back, but when it is disturbed, it bends its head backward to reveal its orange bright colored belly. Bright colors are common in poisonous animals, they let others know they should probably not be eaten or messed with. Brodie wondered if the newts were toxic too.
Toxic would be an understatement, the newts produced a chemical in their skin called tetrodotoxin (TTX), 10,000 times deadlier than cyanide. We may never know for sure what killed the three hunters from Oregon, but there was definitely enough poison in their coffee pot to kill them and many more.
Another interesting fact about the rough-skinned newt is that the female newts pass some of their TTX to their eggs, to protect them from predators.
Source: Discover Magazine
In spirit of Shark Week, I recently learned that you can adopt a shark via WWF (World Wildlife Fund).
Great white sharks are found in most temperate waters through the world, and are most common around Australia, South Africa and Northern California. Their diet consists of warm-blooded mammals, primarily pinnipeds (seals and sea lions), but also whales, dolphins, fish and squid. Caught for their jaws, teeth, leather and fins, which collect high prices and are in demand worldwide, great white sharks also face the thread of accidental capture in fishing gear, and animals that survival are often killed for their body parts.
You can help the sharks out by adopting one via the adoption kits that they supply. There are different kits you can get that come with different gifts.