Thursday 24 June 2010

Praying Mantis

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I've always rather liked mantids or mantises or whatever the plural is meant to be. They are a type of insect, which usually means that there is a ridiculous diversity of size and shape around each species. Such is the case here. I, of course, refer to the mantids with the long, stiff thorax, the small triangular head and the large forelegs held aloft, characteristics that give a certain dignified elegence and the name 'praying mantis'.

Tuesday 22 June 2010

Deep Sea Anglerfish

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There are a couple hundred different species of anglerfish, living in open water, the deep sea or the ocean floor. What they all share is the hunting equipment that lends them their name, a fleshy growth on the head that ends in a bulb containing bioluminescent bacteria. This is used as a lure to attract unsuspecting prey like a moth to a flame, or to a really big mouth. A really, REALLY big mouth. Anglerfish have maws that occupy the entire front of the beast. Some appear to be more jaw than fish, or all jaw with a bit of fish to get the jaws to where they want to go. They also have extremely long, backward inclining teeth, to the extent that some anglerfish don't appear to be capable of actually closing their mouth.