Wednesday 29 February 2012

Irukandji Jellyfish

Awww! Look at that teeny, tiny, little jellyfish! Isn't it adorable?

Of course it is! It's just a shame about the killing...

Sunday 26 February 2012

Spiny Orb-weaver Party!

Image: Sam Fraser-Smith via Flickr
Hi! So glad you could make it!

*mwah* *mwah*

You look gorgeous, darling!

Welcome to our little Gasteracantha party! Here you will find some of the most fabulous and outrageously dressed members of the genus. They are commonly known as Spiny Orb-weavers, which is fine if you're common, but you're with the in-crowd now, darling!

Friday 24 February 2012

Frozen Falls Fungus

Image: Ken-ichi via Flickr
I completely made up that name but I hope you can see why. This mushroom is absolutely beautiful!

Thursday 23 February 2012

Meet The New Family!

They just discovered a whole new family of Caecilians in northeast India! Isn't she... beautiful?

Wednesday 22 February 2012

Polynoid Scale Worm

Image: Barcroft Media
Oh, dear... not for the first time we find that our nightmares were a reality long before they were our nightmares. Take a deep breath, hold onto your teddy bear and prepare yourself. It's going to get better before it gets a lot worse...

Monday 20 February 2012

Real Monstrosities on tumblr

I started a tumblr blog!

Apparently tumblr is full to brim with hip, young things and the thought of so many hip, young things being in ignorance of a weird looking fish was getting really stressful.

It'll be a quik ting, with just a picture from here and a link. That seems to be the hip and young thing to do.

So if you're a tumblr user, check it out! If not... check it out!

Real Monstrosities on tumblr

Sunday 19 February 2012

Hell as Habitat, part 3

Image: Dr. Bob Embley, NOAA
By now we know a lot about the hydrothermal vents and some of the weird creatures that occupy them. How they keep warm by the heat of volcanic water and are fed by bacteria that have learnt to make sugars out of stuff that usually kills everything. It's all very impressive. Sometimes, though, it's the sheer numbers that make your jaw drop.

We can see that deep sea mussels can cooperate to make an utter spectacle of themselves. Who else wants to outrageously flaunt their ability to survive Earth's most hellish habitat?

Friday 17 February 2012

A Massive Slab of Robber Fly

Image: Mary Keim via Flickr
Good grief! This spindly piece of nastiness is a Robber Fly in the genus Diogmites. It seems that it's members of this particular genus that are adorned with the name Hanging Thief. You may remember that this was to denote their habit of dangling from a leg or two while the other limbs held onto prey, stabbed it to death with venom and then sucked out the insides. That's all fine, obviously. But look at it! Someone call the death penalty on this thing! We need another kind of hanging! It even has a horribly long neck to accommodate our ever so righteous indignation.

Thursday 16 February 2012

Me and My Shirt!


I hate smiling. It's fine when there's an actual reason to smile, but grinning idiotically at a camera like an actor wildly gesticulating at a blue screen? Nah.

Still, it's tradition. Plus you get to see my snazzy shirt from in the wild!

Wednesday 15 February 2012

Southern Ground Hornbill

Image: Arno & Louise Wildlife via Flickr
Black and red. A colour combination of ultimate menace, minx and yes, even jinx. Yet this, the world's biggest hornbill, likes to mix it all up with a bit of wholesome, family values.

Tuesday 14 February 2012

Happy Valentines!

I love you all! In a way that's charmingly and excitingly inappropriate but doesn't get all weird and disturbing.

Just in case your beautiful, thoughtful face is attractively deformed by befuddlement and WTF, I'll say it's a female Deep Sea Anglerfish with her attendant male. It's completely normal and natural!

Oooo, shirts!

So I get an email essentially saying "free custom t-shirts from"

At first I'm like:

"O RLY?"
"and you are?"
"so you claim, so you claim".

I checked it out a little and free shirts appeared to be an increasingly likely outcome, as opposed to "loads of money mysteriously disappeared from your account".

So I done it and I got 'em.


Sunday 12 February 2012

Hell as Habitat, part 2

Image: NOAA
Last time, we left the hydrothermal vents as steaming chimneys of boiling volcanic water, liquid smoke and underground flame.

Minerals spew out and, through a process called chemosynthesis, bacteria are able to take poisonous hydrogen sulphide and make from it all the sugars they need for survival.

They flourish in this deadly atmosphere and provide a source of food for a whole host of animals. They rely on energy not from the Sun, but from Earth herself.

It's a community of life, sitting on a mat of bacteria atop a volcano. Makes that elephants on a turtle one sound quite reasonable, doesn't it?

Friday 10 February 2012

Supergiant Amphipod

So they found a massive amphipod over 4 miles deep in the Kermadec Trench off New Zealand. A good sized amphipod is usually a few centimetres long (an inch) but this thing is 28 cm (almost a foot)! And that's the biggest one they managed to drag up, they actually spotted on camera one that was 34 cm (over a foot) long.

Stalked Jellyfish

Image: Wikipedia
Stalked Jellyfish? What? It may seem strange but there really is such a thing as a jellyfish with a stalk. They have abandoned the usual life of swimming with the sea's most graceful wobble and have instead opted to attach themselves to the floor and stay there.

Wednesday 8 February 2012

Greenland Shark

Image: Nick Caloyianis/National Geographic
It snowed. I hate it when it snows because snow becomes ice and my utter loathing for ice on the pavement is matched only by my fear and hatred of slipping and falling. Next time you walk on ice, please tread harshly because you tread on my nightmares. Good job I don't come from the world's most ironically named country, like a certain shark I know.

Sunday 5 February 2012

Hell as Habitat

Image: NOAA
Darkness spews into the darkness.
There is a Hell on Earth. A real one, not that silly fake one. It's a place where our glorious Sun is a long banished frivolity. A place of such insurmountable evil that chocolate is frozen by the cold, melted by the heat and crushed by the pressure. It's so dark that if you drop your chocolate, it will be lost and gone forever. Indeed, it's so dark that the Tree of Chocolate won't even grow.

Chocolate! Why have you forsaken us!

We're talking about hydrothermal vents.

Friday 3 February 2012

Sea Apple

Image: emmiegrn via Flickr
What happens when you take a cucumber and squish it up a little? You get an apple of course! Or at least that's what happens in the sea...

Thursday 2 February 2012

Eastern Tiger Salamander

Image: J. N. Stuart via Flickr
Do you remember the Axolotl? Well check out their close relative, the Eastern Tiger Salamander! Doesn't he look grown up?

Wednesday 1 February 2012


Image: Stephen Dalton
In the face of terrible adversity the critically endangered Axolotl smiles cheekily, loses a place in the wild but gains a place in our hearts. Cheesy I know, but this is probably the only salamander most people can get weepy and sentimental about. So let's do it when we can.