What do you call a giraffe mixed with a flying insect? The Giraffe Weevil!!


This crazy looking insect is commonly known as the Giraffe Weevil (Trachelophorus giraffa).  They can be found in Madagascar, and also in another form in New Zealand.  I am sure you can imagine where these critters got their name, as they have an extended neck very similar to that of the common giraffe.

They have beautiful features, other than their long neck, and pitch black glossy coloring, they have a bright red protective coat of the wings (elytra).  Their long necks are adapted through evolution so that these insects are able to nest and fight.

 

These Weevils are sexually dimorphic (phenotypic differences between sexes), where the male will have a neck around 2 to 3 times the length of a female.  Females use their neck for nest building by making a tube out of a leaf by rolling in a leaf, laying only one egg in the made tube.  After this roll is made, she snips the roll from the rest of the leaf so that the nest will fall to the ground, and the egg will hatch.  Males use their necks to compete for these mates, protecting parasitic predators as the female makes her nest.

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Honduran White Bats


Wouldn’t you just like to jump into a big pit filled with these little furry white bats?!

These adorable little creatures are known as the Honduran white bat (Ectophylla alba).  They can be found in Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and parts of western Panama.

These bats create a tent-like home by cutting the side veins of the large Heliconia leaves, which allows the leaves to fold them up into a fluffy taco.  This tent protects a colony of bats from rain and predators.

 Up to a dozen individuals make up a colony within each leaf, composed of one male and it’s harem of females.  This family relies on this leaf, as they will only flee if the base of their main stem is disturbed.  This leaf-tent provides a well designed camouflage for this group, even considering that they hang about 6 feet from the ground, which allows the sun to reflect a greenish hue off of their bright white coats, blending in with the environment.  These bats feed off of fruit, which leaves them fluffy and cute as ever. It is hard to believe anyone would be scared of these fluff balls.  Sublime

Video below!

 

Train your… sea slug?


A new case of How to train your dragon… or your sea slug.

This slug is commonly known as the Sea Swallow (Glaucus Atlanticus).  He is briliantly colored to warn off any dangerous enemies.  These crazy little guys pack a powerful punch, as they feed off of the poisonous Man of War Jellyfish, while collecting the toxins in oder to store them in their wavy little fingers.  Their ability to collect this poison, allows them to be even more powerful than the Man of War itself!  ouch!

These cool creatures live in the open ocean (pelagic zone) throughout the oceans of the world.  They can mostly be found where the Man of War Jellyfish live, in the Eastern and Southern Parts of South Africa.  They spend the majority of their life floating upside-down on the tops of the water.

These Sea Swallows tend to swallow prey that would appear to be dangerous and harmful.  They feed off of not only the venomous Portuguese Man of War, but also several other venomous species such as the by-the-wind-sailor, the blue button, and the violet snail.  They may even become cannibalistic at times.

Their fingerlike projections (cerata) are feathers of venomous nematocysts that the slug derives from it’s preys poisons.  It uses a gas filled sac in it’s stomach to rise to the surface, where they float dorsal side down.  They are countershaded, with magnificent blue on the dorsal surface, and silver grey on the ventral surface.  The blue protects the slugs from predators below, and the silver grey from the predators above.

It is not yet known on how they move, some say it is by wind, some believe they may actually use some sorts of body parts.  These slugs are hermaphroditic, able to carry both male and female reproductive organs, and produce egg strings after reproduction.

Sublime!

Enjoy the video!

Ahhhh A SNAKE????


AHHHHHhhhh A Snake!!!

No wait, that is a caterpillar.  Awwww a cute little creepy caterpillar…

This little guy is actually a species of caterpillar that likes to mimic snakes.  What a clever idea Mr. Caterpillar!!  It is truly an art that creatures have evolved to have the capabilities they do.  These caterpillars belong to the moth family of  Sphingidae, which is part of the sphinx moths.  Several of these genera actually mimic snakes (a few pictures provided below).  These moths tend to live in tropical areas, which would makes sense as that is where majority of their mimicked snakes live.

The picture above, is actually a species of Hemeroplanes, where the caterpillar literally sucks his head in, like a turtle, exposing the sides of his dorsal surface that mimics a snake.  Behind, is not as similar as a snake, as it briefly looks like a snake that got the rest of his body chopped off.  The bottom part of these caterpillars fold three pairs of true legs towards the ventral surface also when he is threatened.  And guess what, this species was even able to take it a step further, evolved with the ability to “blink” the eyes by opening and closing them with blood pressure)

AHHHHH…Not another one….

Yup, there are even more of these guys, each built with there own special adaptations.  This species above (and below) is known as Papilio bianor thrasymedes.  It may only be less than an inch long, but still has the ability to mimic the appearance of a snake.  This special adaptation is not the “blinking” eyes, but these caterpillars have adapted tiny tittle antennae that are able to mimic the tongue flick of a snake as well.  They are bright green, have red eyes, and a white stripe just underneath those evil like eyes.  They even immitate the blue skin underneath the snakes scales.  These caterpillars thought of everything!

Below is the general look of the Springtail Moth.  Isn’t it amazing that their larva form is so much different?  I mean, I always have been amazed at how intricately designed caterpillars and moths/butterflies were able to develop, but wow Mother Earth, you do know how to make this world go round with some attitude!  Sublime!

Check out some videos!!

It’s a fish, it’s a lip, it’s an egg sac?


Question:  How many fish do you think are in this photo below?

Answer: None!!!  The thing that looks like a fish, is actually the mouth parts to the Broken Ray freshwater mussel.  If you have the passion of fly fishing, you have nothing on these little guys.

Broken Rays Mussel (Lampsilis reeveiana) have evolved a special adaptation that allows their existence to be certain.  They have evolved with a built in fishing lure!  The thing is, this lure is not used for what you might think.  Most lures are used for catching their prey, but this lure is instead a parasitic sac filed with thousands of tiny Mussels.

What happens, is as the fish are lured in for a nibble, but as soon as the fish touch the sac, the mussel blasts the fish with it’s tiny parasitic offspring (glochidia), which will reside in the fish’s gills until fully developed.  The parasitic larva attach themselves to the gills.  They have the ability to develop a cyst on these blood-rich tissues, allowing them to be protected and nourished until they are developed, which can be anywhere from 10 to 30 days

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These mussels look like any average bivalve mollusc, but what defines them as this species, is this extended fleshy mantle that they are able to control it’s contractions in order to look more like a fish.  Obviously, the better the imitation of a fish, the better chances these Mussels will be able to continue it’s genetic line.

 (See attached video, it is truly sublime).

The Bird Shit Spider


Yup, you read that right… this particular spider likes to mimic none other than that of some pigeon poo droppings.  It is truly an intelligent adaptation, because let’s face it, does anyone want to deal with bird crap?

The “bird dropping spider” (Celaenia excavata)  is a species of spider that can be found in  the eastern and southern coasts, such as Australia.

These spiders are sexually dimorphic (phenotypic differences) in that the males are almost 1/6 the size of the females. As females can be found with up to 13 egg sacs (200 eggs in each sac), their size makes a little more sense.

The way these unique spiders hunt, is by luring prey at night witha phermone that mimics the sex smells of female moths.  The spider has powerful front legs, allowing it to capture the moth as it flies close.

So, bird shit by day, high predators at night.  So Sublime.

Nope.  I wouldn’t want to mess with that.

Watch the video!

Mary River Turtle


The Mary River Turtle, or the “Penny Turtle”  (Elusor macrurus) can be found in the Mary River in South-East Queensland, Australia.  This mohawked  friend was once very popular in the 1960’s but are currently an endangered species.

This species of turtle is the last of it’s genus, decending from a very long line of ancestors of Australia.

These turtles have reached a length of 50 cm, are very elongated, and beautifully patterned.  An interesting fact is, that their irises can commonly be found to be blue. (see pic below)


 These turtles are amazing, as they use bimodal respiration, able to absorb oxygen through both the cloaca (posterior opening) or from the surface.  This feature allows the turtle to stay under water for longer rates of time.

Another unique feature of these turtles, is the fact that the tail can be founs almost 2/3 the length of the carapace (dorsal surface).  It has a feature that can not be found in any other modern turtles, haemal arches on the tail (unknown function, but interesting nonetheless).

You may also notice his cute little “goatees” hanging off his chin.  These barbels are used for searching for food, and act as taste buds in the water.

Not to mention, these cuties are considered to be one of the fastest swimmers, due to the smallest head in proportion to its large hind feet.

Efforts are being made in Australia, as they were listed in the Queenland’s Nature Conservation Act in 1992, and are currently beung protected under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, also since 1992.

So Sublime.

Watch the Video!