These radiant gold and silver beetles (Chrysina aurigans [left] and Chrysina limbata [right]) live in the dense rainforests of Costa Rica. And they’re gorgeous. We only wish we could wear precious metals from head to toe. Shamefully, these insects actually use their reflective bodies to hide amid vegetation by replicating shiny surfaces like beads of water.
What? How? Why?
The beetle’s wings manipulates light. According to NewScientist, ‘Light travels at different speeds through each of the 70 or so layers of exoskeletal chitin. Part of the light is reflected off each layer, and the intensity of the reflections is amplified as they constructively interfere with one another, creating an opulent sheen.’
Clearly the Bare-faced Bulbul has nothing to hide. And yet, this Bulbul has barely faced human contact. The songbird was only recently discovered in central Laos twittering about the steep features of the limestone karst region near Pha Lom.
Grows like goliath, hunts like a tiger and swims like a fish. The Goliath Tigerfish lurks the waters of the Congo River system and several other lakes in southern Africa. This fish is remarkably adept at swimming and killing due in part to an air-filled sac in its body that allows it to detect vibrations from animals in the water. Those razorsharp spikes in its mouth may also help the cause.
Many thanks to dear reader John C. for shoring up this goliath creepy animal.
The Honeypot Ant is the perfect metaphor for how to survive in the post-consumer world: save and spend when needed. Just two easy steps.
When food is abundant, the honeypot ant gets it’s nom on courtesy of other worker ants that feed it till it’s nearly bursting at the seams. The ant converts the food into a sweet liquid-y substance which is stored within the swollen abdomen. In this state the ant can balloon to the size of a grape, unable to move much within the colony walls.
2. SPEND WHEN NEEDED
When food is scarce, the honeypot ants regurgitate their stored nectar to feed their nest mates. According to Wikipedia, ‘in certain places, they are eaten by people as sweets and are considered a delicacy.’ Who’s hungry now?
Special thanks to dear reader Marcie for sending us this little treat. “Sloth” photo by Greg Hume.
Game over, jellyfish. Play again. And again. And again. And again...
Turritopsis dohrnii just won’t quit. The aptly named Immortal Jellyfish is the only creature in the world that can revert back to its juvenile form after reaching sexual maturity. How, you ask?
The process is called transdifferentiation, whereby one type of cell is transformed into another type of cell. The Immortal Jellyfish can do this with its entire body.
The adult Immortal Jellyfish looks and floats like…a jellyfish. But when conditions aren’t ideal, it turns into a “blob-like cyst”, anchors to a surface and undergoes reverse metamorphosis back to its juvenile form as a mere polyp. It’s like a full-grown frog turning back into a lowly tadpole.
Scientists believe it can repeat its life cycle indefinitely. Since they’re constantly cheating death, the Immortal Jellyfish are now spreading from their native Caribbean to waters all over the world.
Rivalries in the animal kingdom are nothing new: Giant Squid vs. Sperm Whale, Baby Elephant vs. Crocodile. Now, a juxtaposition that will creep you out: the Texas Blind Salamander vs. the Olm. Both salamanders are pale, sightless, live in caves underground and remain in the gill-breathing larval stage its entire life. Let’s rack and stack:
The Texas Blind Salamander is found in just one location – the San Marcos Pool of the Edwards Aquifer in Hays, Texas.
The Olm is evolutionarily distinct: it is part of an ancient lineage of amphibians evolving independently for 190 million years! It lives for 50-100 years! It’s able to survive without food for up to 10 years!
We all know the sea is thick with fish. With so many different species, some are bound to be a little unsightly. It’s basically a numbers game, and the Asian Sheepshead Wrasse happens to be a victim of the odds. This fish swims the shallow waters around China, Japan and the Koreas while resembling a very old man. With bulging protrusions on its head and jaw, this is a face only a mother could love.
Waitaminute. Is that my grandpa swimming in the ocean?
Celebes Crested Macaques are real swingers. We mean that in both the literal and figurative sense. This monkey lives only in the forests of the northeast portion of Sulawesi plus other tiny neighboring islands in Indonesia where we’re pretty sure they all know each other. Despite the population density, they’re very promiscuous: males and females mate various times with various partners. When the female is in heat, her buttocks turn red and swell to an anatomically disproportionate volume. This makes for an exemplary creepy animal.
"Do or do not... there is no try." Uh, try creepy as hell, Yoda.
Some say the wiseness of Yoda is unparalleled in the universe. Others say bats are just mice with wings and have the intelligence level of a rock. Now there’s a creepy animal that proves everyone wrong: meet the Yoda Bat. This tube-nosed bat was discovered in 2009 during an expedition to a remote mountain range in Papua New Guinea. The bat uses its creepy facial protuberance to locate delicious fruit. It also does an excellent job resembling a certain sage Jedi:
Creepy animal vs. animal-y creep.
Photo via Piotr Nasrecki/Conservation International and Flickr