Friday 29 June 2012

Branching Sponge Worm

Alright. We've seen some weird worms in our time but this definitely takes the biscuit. In fact it takes several hundred biscuits and arranges them so they spell out "Hey! Look at me! I'm mad, I am!"

It's Ramisyllis multicaudata, a polychaete worm from shallow waters off the coast of northern Australia. They live inside sponges, occupying the channels and tunnels through which water flows as the sponge filters out bacteria to feast on.

But there's a twist. Quite a few twists, in fact. R. multicaudata lives up to its name, and since "multicaudata" means "many tails", that's exactly what it has.

Their body branches out, and then the branches branch, and then they branch too, but not before a little more branching. Eventually, they may end up with several hundred tails! Sometimes they can even be seen poking out of the sides of the sponge, which is quite ghastly actually.

All the while their head is buried deep in the centre of their living fortress. The body is like some freakish network of roots and extremely fragile and easily broken, since they don't get out much at all. It's like those poor sods who got far too overweight and have taken on the shape of their favourite chair, and getting them out of the house has become a significant engineering challenge.

It's not necessarily certain what they eat. They may chew on bits of their sponge, just as we would take a nibble out of a gingerbread house, but it seems unlikely that one mouth could support all those tails. More likely is that they absorb the sponge's food as it passes by, much like a tapeworm.

I for one am stunned! In a world gone mad you could always rely on a worm being kinda long and kinda thin. Alas, even they have succumbed to the trend of having bits sticking out. I would never have thought it possible.

Wednesday 27 June 2012

Sicarius Spider

Image: Aldo Tapia A. via Flickr
Isn't it terrible? You're on your summer holidays, trying to get through your list of 100 things to do before you die. You swam with dolphins, you parachuted from a plane, you even showered in a waterfall using actual fruits and flowers as shampoo and shower gel. You persevered through that last one even though you felt dirtier the longer it went on and you had to take a long bath afterwards to get the stench of rotting fruit out of your hair.

Now you're onto number 57: overthrow a national government.

Sunday 24 June 2012

America's Deadliest Animals. Uh Oh!


Let's relax, stretch our legs, crack open a yawn so big it makes our mouth ache and then consider a question: if you're in the U.S. which animal is most likely to kill you?

Deadliest Animals in the United States [infographic]

The Whitetail Deer! I hear they are commonly seen skulking around the edges of cities in search of victims. Their hooves are really good for breaking into vehicles, but really bad for the actual driving.

Of course, what it really shows is that the deadliest things are the things that lots of people do all the time. Also bees. I guess it's allergies, but I'm quite surprised how dangerous they are.

Cattle and bulls don't surprise me at all. As Dear Reader TexWisGirl has demonstrated many a time, those guys are incredibly suspicious. There's probably at least one watching you right now...

Sweet dreams!

Friday 22 June 2012

Cauliflower Mushroom

Image: Wikimedia
This is definitely the brainiest mushroom I've ever seen.


Wow! Can you believe this? I can't believe this... and I saw it happen. I was there! It all happened so fast!

How on earth do you do a blog for two years? I have absolutely no idea.

One thing's for sure... it would've been a lot harder, if not impossible, were it not for all you wonderful, beautiful, discerning and incredibly intelligent Dear Readers out there!

I still have a giant list of Monstrosities to get through, a whole bunch of ideas to broach and several requests to get to. Not to mention Civilization V: Gods & Kings. But that'll be a completely different 2 years.

It's unfortunate that I'm essentially lazy and have a remarkable and ever so slightly self-destructive propensity to procrastination... I'm a pro! I'm actually a little amazed every time I post. Ha!

So thanks again to all readers, commenters, contacters and sharers!

Tell your friends about Real Monstrosities! Tell your local shop keeper! Tell random strangers in the street! Make Real Monstrosities a recognised symptom of over-exuberant friendliness/mental imbalance (it's difficult to tell the two apart).

Wednesday 20 June 2012

Orangutan Crab

Image: Stephen Childs via Flickr
"Orangutan" comes from the Indonesian for "man of the forest". So I guess this is the "man of the forest of the sea".

Sunday 17 June 2012


Image: Joachim S. Müller via Flickr
All hail the mighty schnoz of the ancients!

Friday 15 June 2012

White Mushroom Sponge


Sponges of the genus Caulophacus look just like little, white mushrooms.

Wednesday 13 June 2012

When Brittle Stars Scrap. Over Scraps.

Image: neptunecananda

Food, glorious food.
Hot sausage and mustard.

While we're in the mood,
Cold jelly and custard.

Or a dead shrimp.

Sunday 10 June 2012

Zebra Shark

Image: sigkyrre via Flickr
Zebra? This podgy faced layabout looks nothing like a zebra! Cake-eating Shark appears far more appropriate... We shall have to get to the bottom of this.

Friday 8 June 2012

Deep Sea Dandelion

Image: NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer
Thermopalia taraxaca, I think


It looks like a spaceship got shot down but it's actually an amazingly strange relative of the jellyfish.

Wednesday 6 June 2012

Blunthead Tree Snake

Image: Roland & Sonja via Flickr
Is this not the cutest little snake you've ever seen?

Sunday 3 June 2012

King of Herrings

It's the longest fish in the world! All hail the King! For he is shiny!

Friday 1 June 2012

Scorpion-tailed Spider, Arachnura higginsi

Image: wigzac via Flickr
Scorpion-tailed Spider?! Does this thing have venom on BOTH ends? Yikes!