Friday, 24 June 2016

Angaria

Image: Shellnut
Here come those snails again, showing us once more that you don't need to live fast to leave a good-looking corpse.

Image: Shellnut
A. sphaerula
Angaria is a genus containing about 15 species of snails found in the Indo-Pacific region, Australia and New Zealand.

Image: H. Zell
A. poppei
Their shells are only about an inch or two across but they fill that space with enough spikes, jagged edges and colours to do even the most bedazzling World of Warcraft character proud. There's a lot of variability even within a single species. Snails like to express their individuality.

Image: H. Zell
A. delphinus
By the way, I've no idea why they're called Angaria.

Image: Shellnut
A. melanacantha
Angaria was the name of a Roman postal system where couriers on horseback were stationed along those famous Roman roads. It was their job - nay, their duty, by law - to make sure those royal letters got to their destination come rain or shine, night or day.

All that huffing and puffing and horsing and coursing... Doesn't exactly scream 'snail' now, does it?

Image: Shellnut
A. sphaerula
The system was invented by the Persians in the 6th Century BC and later adopted by the Romans. The word itself comes from the Greek version of the Babylonian word for those old, Persian couriers. All of which rather makes those empires seem like mighty couriers on the Road of Time.

Image: H. Zell
A. melanacantha
And the baton of angaria keeps travelling. The word came to refer to any compulsory service demanded by a government, lord or church and even today we have something only slightly different. It's called angary, and in international law it refers to the right of a belligerent state to seize, use or destroy a neutral state's stuff during war.

So maybe that's it? Just look at those shells. These guys aren't just angary, they're furious!

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Jellynose Fish

Image: fishpix.kahaku.go.jp
WARNING: High concentration of gelatinous material in the schnozzle area.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Big, Voluminous Sleeves


Big, voluminous sleeves... the trend that keeps on giving. And billowing. After all, who doesn't want to look like a rakish buccaneer or ostentatious wizard?

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Carpet Anemone

Image: Nevit Dilmen
Nylon? That's just plastic. Wool? Keep it, sheep. Tiger pelt? I'd rather a live, trained tiger to do my bidding.

No. When it comes to carpets, it's teeny-tiny tentacles tickling my tootsies from now on.

Friday, 10 June 2016

Lophogastrid

Image: Alexander Semenov
It can be difficult to describe things you've never seen before. Just think of the medieval bestiaries. Beavers have fish tails, don't they? Rhinos are covered in ornate steel plate, aren't they? Elephants... Where do you even begin with elephants?

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Snaggle-tongue of the Gumboot Chiton

Cryptochiton stelleri

Yuck! What devilry is this? It's like that bit in Jurassic Park with the giant T. rex eye except he's made of mash potato and appears to be staring actual daggers.
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