Sunday 31 July 2011

Sea Cucumber

Image via Wikimedia
In case you hadn't noticed, echinoderms are really weird. They're so weird that when one has a head and a tail, it's a unique and interesting characteristic. Sea Cucumbers are those wacky echinoderms, selling out to the Bilaterians and acquiring a head, a tail, a left and a right.

Friday 29 July 2011

Bleeding Tooth Fungus

Image via Wikimedia
I am a polite and entirely wonderful person. I have an almost supernatural control of my temper, almost to a fault. Actually it probably is a fault, like if you drink so much water it makes you sick and possibly even die.

Wednesday 27 July 2011

Hairy Angler

The Hairy Angler is grim. It looks utterly furious and will probably consume your soul as you stand there, using nothing but its beady glare before eating the rest of you. She's a female, of course.

Sunday 24 July 2011

Monsters in Miniature

Image: Troy Bartlett, Nature Closeups
Antennae. Wings. Metamorphosis. Exoskeleton. Legs galore. Arthropods are incredibly, stupendously, ridiculously, even willfully weird.

Perhaps the weirdest thing of all is that somehow, we just get used to it. Somehow, we grow utterly accustomed to how furiously freaky these creatures really are.

The crazy critter above is a treehopper. We learnt before about just how astonishing these things can look and what that stuff coming out of their head actually is. This one reminds me of a good old fashioned executioner, from back in the old days when killing people with an axe was a real event and fun for all the family.

This one looks like he may be attending an after work party, what with that lovely splash of red adding a flourish to his usual garb. Either that or, erm... perhaps splashes of red is just an inevitable part of the job?

In any case, let's take a look at some more arthropods that can shake us out of our complacency and remind us of just how strange these mini beasts can get...

Friday 22 July 2011


Image: P. Funch and R.M. Kristensen
This is a weird one. A very weird one.

In 1995 Danish scientists discovered tiny, worm-like creatures living on the mouthparts of the Norway lobster. This little worm proved to be extremely peculiar. It was placed in a brand new genus: Symbion, referring to its symbiotic relationship with the lobster.

But it went further. It was so unique, it was given an entirely new phylum all its own: Cycliophora.

Thursday 21 July 2011

What do you gotta do to get liked around here?

In short, I've gotten a bunch of Facebook "Likes" so I thought I may as well do the whole Facebook thing. I've never used it before, I don't really know how it works and I don't really know what I'm going to do with it.

This naturally means that I may do something utterly extraordinary with it, and you wouldn't want to miss that now, would you? Of course not!

So try Liking the Real Monstrosities Facebook page and we can figure out what to actually do with the thing. Even though as far as I can gather everyone seems to hate the F******* thing at least a little.

In any case, I need 25 Likes to get the "vanity" url, or what I like to call the "url". So if you could tell your friends, Facebook friends, Facebook "friends" and Facebook friends of friends of "friends", that would be lovely!

Wednesday 20 July 2011

Mexican Mole Lizard

Mexican Mole Lizards, or Ajolotes, are reptiles that meld the comical, the creepy and maybe even the cute to create... confusion. They sort of remind me of the Turtle Frog, which turns out to be quite reasonable because they both spend their lives digging through the earth. It seems that when it comes to life underground, only the weirdest will do.

Sunday 17 July 2011

Gulper Eel

Image source
Oh dear. That face looks too ugly and too happy. A face that ugly shouldn't look that happy. It is, of course, a deep sea fish that lives in such darkness that it has no idea how ugly we find it. It probably wouldn't care, anyway. Ugly is simply what they do down there.

Friday 15 July 2011

Bornean Rainbow Toad

Image: Dr. Indraneil Das
We all know that finding the end of a rainbow will earn you a nice, big pot of gold, and that a leprechaun is involved in some way. We also know that it isn't actually true, a fact kept secret because you can't actually reach the end of a rainbow. But did you know that looking up a tree in Borneo could net you a Bornean Rainbow Toad (Ansonia latidisca)?

Wednesday 13 July 2011

Blue Sea Slug

Image via Wikipedia
The Blue Sea Slug, also known as the Blue Ocean Slug, Blue Glaucus, Sea Swallow, Sea Lizard and Sea Dragon, not to mention Glaucus atlanticus. Wow! That's quite a collection! It only takes a quick look to understand why such a creature would amass so many names: it's absolutely gorgeous! Careful though, because this beauty has a sting in its... fingers?

Sunday 10 July 2011

From Beach to Desert: Journey of the Woodlouse

Image: Biopix
The Coconut Crab may be the biggest piece of exoskeleton on land today, but when it comes to crustaceans getting out of the sea and stretching half a dozen legs on the beach and beyond it's the woodlice you have to look to. No other crustacean has had the terrestrial success of these isopods. Today, woodlice can be found across the world, quietly going about their business without a hint of the pomposity they could easily be entitled to.

Here, we will take a little look at how the humble, little woodlouse might have come across this impressive achievement.

Friday 8 July 2011

Hairy Frog

Image via Wikipedia
The Hairy Frog, sometimes called 'horror frog' and probably 'nutter' if he was in my part of the world. It all depends on what characteristic you want to focus on, the hair or the broken bones. We'll definitely get to the broken bones.

Wednesday 6 July 2011

Whip Scorpion

Image via Wikipedia
We've seen the elegant Scorpion with their often rather dainty pincers, now let's see their relatives, the chunky Whip Scorpions with their own brutal, barbarous claws.

Sunday 3 July 2011


Image by myriorama via Flickr

Across the world...


A horror arises...


Ready to feast...


To multiply...


To KILL...

Friday 1 July 2011

Beroid Comb Jelly

Image via Wikipedia
Beroid Comb Jellies are the Ctenophores that belong to the genus Beroe. They are basically a sack with a gigantic mouth at one end and, unlike other Comb Jellies, they have no tentacles for capturing prey. Why? Because they don't need them of course!