Tag Archives: animal

Weird Animal Monday: Calico Crab

Hepatus Epheliticus
Hepatus Epheliticus

This may not be exactly a weird animal, but it definitely isn’t your average looking crab either. You can find these beautifully  patterned crabs in the western Atlantic Ocean from the Chesapeake Bay to the Dominican Republic. It is no bigger than your local crabs, with a 3 in-wide carapace. It lives at depths of up to 151 ft on sandy and muddy substrates. It often carries the sea anemone Calliactis tricolor on its back, or lies buried in the sand, with only its eyes exposed. These crabs reproduce in the summer, and their eggs are carried by the female until they hatch.

There’s not much else to say about these crabs, other than the way they look, they’re not much different than your local common crab. Here’s an awesome video I found from user eastendsi of a Calico Crab he found on Sanibel Island Beach.

Source: Wikipedia

Weird Animal Monday: Feather Star

Characterized by a mouth on the top surface that is surrounded by feeding arms.
Characterized by a mouth on the top surface that is surrounded by feeding arms.

Although it may be hard to tell from just images alone, this is a very weird creature. From photos it resembles an aquatic plant but they are in fact marine animals. They are Crinoids, and they live in depths as great as 9,000 meters. When they are adults, they are attached to the sea bottom by a stalk and are commonly called sea lilies. When they are unstalked and out swimming, they are called feather stars. The majority of Crinoids are free-swimming and have only a vestigial stalk.

Crinoids feed by filtering small particles of food from the sea water with their feather like arms. The tube feet are covered with a sticky mucus that traps food that floats past. They then use the arms to propel the mucus towards its mouth located in between all the arms. It doesn’t have a true stomach so the esophagus connects directly to the intestine. There are both male and female Crinoids (Feather Stars), and they reproduce by releasing sperm and eggs into the surrounding water.

Why do I think these are weird animals? If the description you just read about them doesn’t convince you, check out the video below.

Source: Wikipedia

Weird Animal Monday: Orchid Mantis

Camouflaged to mimic orchid flowers.

Mantis are already really neat and unique creatures, but this particular species has taken it to the next level. This is the Orchid Mantis, characterized by brilliant pink or brown coloring and physical adaptation for camouflage, mimicking parts of the orchid flower. Its four legs resemble petals, and its front pair are used for grasping prey, as with other mantises. It can actually change its color to either pink or brown, depending on its surroundings.

This mantis is carnivorous, as with other mantises. It is an ambush predator, which means it likes to sit patiently until prey comes around, then it snatches it and eats it. The way this creature catches food is slightly unique to its species.

“The nymph has what Cott calls “Special Alluring Coloration”, where the animal itself is the “decoy”. The insect is pink and white, with flattened limbs with “that semi-opalescent, semi-crystalline appearance that is caused in flower-petals by a purely structural arrangement of liquid globules or empty cells”. The mantis climbs up and down the twigs of the plant until it finds one that has flowers. It holds on to these with the claws of its two rearmost pairs of legs. It then sways from side to side, and soon carious small flies land on and around it, attracted by the small black spot on the end of its abdomen which resembles a fly.”

Source: Wikipedia

Weird Animal Monday: Rainbow Wrasse

Found around the Mediterranean Sea and in the North Atlantic Ocean.

This brightly colored fish accurately called the “Rainbow Fish”, can be found in the Mediterranean Sea and in the North Atlantic Ocean from Sweden to Senegal. It feeds on smaller prey such as shrimp and even sea urchins. This fish is a Sequential Hermaphrodite, which means that it can change sex at some point in its life. These fish are typically found near the shore in places with seagrass or rocks.

It almost looks like it would glow even more under a black light.

Source: Wikipedia

Weird Animal Monday: Saddleback Caterpillar

The hairs around its body secrete irritating venom.

These little caterpillars whose faces appear to resemble masks worn by the Samurai eventually turn into a species of moths native to eastern North America. Their spike looking hairs secrete an irritating venom that causes a lot of pain and discomfort. This caterpillar has Aposematic coloration, which means they they have dark colors mixed with bright colors to warn predators that they are toxic. They produce a glue-like substance on their undersides that help anchor them to leaves to help prevent predators from easily yanking them.

I’m not big on caterpillars but this one seems to interest me for the way it looks and its defense mechanisms.

Source: Wikipedia