Sunday 30 October 2011

Natural Born Hallowe'en Horrors

It's Hallowe'en! That time of year when we celebrate death, join hands with darkness and are thankful for all the wonderful things that evil brings to our lives. Woo!

Behold Death. He's out of his coffin, handing out drinks, telling jokes and being the ironic life of the party he always knew he could be.

Here be Darkness. She's put down the razor blades and is now coaching zombies and ghouls on how to lead a full and purposeful life.

Yonder is Evil. He's dressed up in a long, white robe with a little cardboard halo fixed onto his head with a piece of wire. He does that every year but it's hilarious every time!

But there are some creatures out there that are ever so slightly ghoulish all year round. They just can't help it! Let's take a look at a few of them:

Friday 28 October 2011

Arrow-shaped Micrathena

Image: cotinis via Flick
This is Micrathena sagittata, what has got to be one of the most startlingly diabolical spiders in the world. I'm scared!

Wednesday 26 October 2011

Flapjack Devilfish

Flapjack Devilfish are 20 or so species of deep sea octopus in the genus Opisthoteuthis. They are closely related to our very own Dumbo Octopus and boy does it show!

Sunday 23 October 2011

Vampire Finch

Sharp-beaked Ground Finches are from the Galápagos Islands. They eat seeds and invertebrates. A perfectly respectable diet. But there is a subspecies of this particular finch that lives in rather dry areas. Areas where fresh water is hard to come by. They'll need to find water from somewhere. I wonder where they could possibly find it?

Friday 21 October 2011

Flatid Leaf Bug, Phromnia rosea

Image: Frank.Vassen via Flickr
Image: Wikipedia
Flatid Leaf Bug. This is a seriously unsatisfactory common name. It's as if no-one actually saw this gorgeous little beast! It's even a member of the family Flatidae, which means a whole host of relatives could have exactly the same name whilst being brown, white, green or anything else.

Wednesday 19 October 2011

Tripod Fish

It must be so strange. You take a submersible or a remotely operated underwater vehicle into the deep sea. You fiddle around with the controls, the lighting and camera equipment so you can see what you're looking at. You reach the ocean floor and what do you find? Camera equipment!

Sunday 16 October 2011

A Stapeliad by any other name would smell as rotten

Stapelia variegata
Image: Aqua-Marina via Flickr
I love it when a flower stinks of carrion! It's just the perfect perversion and it's great to see plants come across interesting ways to join the Ranks of Monstrosity.

Friday 14 October 2011

Fire Ice Worm

Anyone here ever passed wind? I know, I know, once at Christmas in the early 80s but you decided not to do it ever again. Still, people have bacteria in their guts that help them digest food. Some people, though not all, have bacteria that release methane. Ruminants have loads of them, and it all helps in creating a most undesirable side-effect - an almighty stink.

Wednesday 12 October 2011

Venus' Girdle

I've said it before and I'll say it again: this Venus woman most certainly adores beautiful things!

Tuesday 11 October 2011

When lizard meets groin

This video may reduce you to tears. Of laughter! I wonder if I should say 'elevate to tears'?

Anyway, I was all on my own *sniff :(* watching it and it made me cry with laughter. This is quite an accolade because I usually need other people around to get into that state.

My only regret is that this thing has been up for over 4 years and has had over 3 million views, so I'm really late to the party. Still, it really ought to have around 18 or 21 billion views minimum. That's at least 3 for each person on the planet.

Contemplating all the things the poor guy was trying to do and trying not to do is a real delight!

Sunday 9 October 2011

Skeleton Shrimp

Image: Gail Ashton
I'm really loving crustaceans! They're so much more interesting and diverse than I had ever imagined. I now realise that I knew almost nothing about them at all!

This little chap is the Skeleton Shrimp, thus named because he looks a tad skeletal. As is so often the case, it's not an actual shrimp at all, but an amphipod.

Less common is that they are an utterly wonderful blend of the sweetly delightful and the scandalously monstrous.

Friday 7 October 2011

Short-tailed Whip Scorpion

Image: Wikipedia
Oh dear. Scorpion. Whip Scorpion. Short-tailed Whip Scorpion. Once again the paucity of imagination when coming up with names for arachnids is shockingly evinced.

Wednesday 5 October 2011

Sea Anemone

Image: Rosario Beach Marine Laboratory
Sea Anemones are named after the flowers due to their wonderful, vibrant colours. The fact that one is a predatory, stinging animal and the other is mainly just pretty serves as no bar to this whimsy.

Sunday 2 October 2011

It'a Bird! It's a Plane! It's a... Frog?

Image source
It's not just birds, bats and insects that can take to the air and soar, flitter or buzz to their heart's content. Powered flight is a wonderful achievement, and we humans have spent a huge amount of time and resources to be able to partake in its delights.

There are many other animals in the world who give flight a go. Most only reach gliding, allowing them to extend jumping distance and avoid the usual "plummet to your untimely death" consequence.