Posts tagged animal.
Bottom side of a Cowrie
The slime of the Onychophora is forcefully squirted from a pair of slime glands in defence against predators and to capture prey. The slime glands, positioned on the sides of the head below the antennae, are a pair of highly modified limbs. The slime can be propelled up to four centimetres, although accuracy drops with range. One squirt usually suffices to snare a prey item, although larger prey may require smaller squirts targeted at the limbs; additionally, the fangs of spiders are sometimes targeted.
The slime, which can account for up to 11% of the organism’s dry weight, is 90% water; its dry residue consists mainly of proteins—primarily a collagen-type protein. 1.3% of the slime’s dry weight consists of sugars, mainly glactosamine. The slime also contains lipids and the surfactant nonylphenol. Onychophora are the only organisms known to produce this latter substance.
The proteinaceous composition accounts for the slime’s high tensile strength and stretchiness. Upon ejection, it forms a net of threads about 20 µm in diameter, with evenly spaced droplets of viscous adhesive fluid along their length. It subsequently dries, shrinking, losing its stickiness, and becoming brittle. Onychophora will eat and “reuse” any dried slime.
It takes an onychophoran around 24 days to replenish an exhausted slime repository.
Blue Bell Tunicate Colony
While they look like vacuum cleaner hoses, they are actually tunicates or sea squirts and not man-made trash.
Bluebell tunicate, blue bell tunicate, or Blue Sea Squirt, is a species of tunicate (sea squirt), in the genus Clavelina (the “little bottles”). Like all ascidians, these sessile animals are filter feeders.
This species is 0.5-2.5 cm long, and light to medium blue in colour. The top of the zooids contain characteristic dark blue patches and spots that are always visible
This species is found in the waters around Australia, Western Pacific, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Mariana Islands, Philippines, Singapore, and Malaysia.
Tunicate blood is particularly interesting. It contains high concentrations of the transition metal vanadium and vanadium-associated proteins as well as higher than usual levels of lithium. Some tunicates can concentrate vanadium up to a level one million times that of the surrounding seawater. Specialized cells can concentrate heavy metals, which are then deposited in the tunic.
The black mamba is the longest venomous snake in Africa, averaging around 2.5m , and sometimes growing up to 4.3m . Its name is due to the black inside of its mouth; the actual color of the skin varies, from dull yellowish-green to a gun-metal grey. It is one of the fastest snakes in the world, capable of moving at 4.5 to 5.4 meters per second (16–20 km/hr). Some people say if you see the black of the inside of the snake’s mouth – it’s too late for you.
The sandfish lizard spends the majority of its life in desert sand, coming to the surface only to forage. It encounters different densities and types of sand in its habitat, which affect not only how it moves, but how quickly it can move. Researchers used high-speed X-ray imaging and developed empirical granular-drag laws to understand how sandfish lizards “swim” in sand. The work could apply to robots that must crawl, burrow and swim in unconsolidated material like desert sand or rubble at a disaster site.
Photo: Daniel Goldman, Georgia Institute of Technology
Masters of Disguise
I just decided I wanted to post a bunch of pictures of leaves and trees and shit but then I realized I’d been photobombed in every picture. Damn you, nature!! :::shakes a moderately sized fist::: Click on the pictures to find out what’s hiding in them.
At around the size of a domestic chicken, kiwi are by far the smallest living ratites and lay the largest egg in relation to their body size of any species of bird in the world.
— Mark Twain, Man’s Place in the Animal World (1896)
The Bleeding Hearts
Old-Fashioned Bleeding Heart (Dicentra spectabilis) and Luzon Bleeding Heart (Gallicolumba luzonica)
The Alot is Better Than You at Everything
But there is one grammatical mistake that I particularly enjoy encountering. It has become almost fun for me to come across people who take the phrase “a lot” and condense it down into one word, because when someone says “alot,” this is what I imagine…
The Alot is an imaginary creature that I made up to help me deal with my compulsive need to correct other people’s grammar. It kind of looks like a cross between a bear, a yak and a pug, and it has provided hours of entertainment for me in a situation where I’d normally be left feeling angry and disillusioned with the world.
The LittleBigPlanet website 404 error message:
Oh noes. It appears that you’ve lost your way!
Whatever you were looking for must be somewhere else!
It’s not all bad news though, whilst you might not have found what you wanted to find,
it appears you have accidentally discovered a Mermahuataur – half narwhal, half bull, half human. What a sight to behold!