Friday 30 December 2016

Orange Fan Sponge

Image: Richard Ling
Echinoclathria leporina
It's the most absurdly dramatic sponge in the world!

Wednesday 28 December 2016


Video: Dr N Kimura

At up to 1.5 metres (5 feet) long, the Japanese Giant Salamander is the second biggest amphibian in the world, second only to its closely related and almost identical, Chinese cousin.

Seeing them yawn is, well, you know how Jonah spent three days in the belly of a whale? This is probably about as close as you can get without getting your feet wet.

Friday 23 December 2016

Merry Christmas!

Original image: NOAA
Lapland looks truly magical this time of year. The trees decorate themselves, you know. So does the moon. Even the tentacles have a warm, fireplace glow about them. It's a wonder how Santa Claus can bear to tear himself away.

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas! I know I sort of dropped off for a good 2 months or something crazy like that, but I reckon this year I'll give myself the gift of lots and lots of monstrosities. And of course, I'll share. Should be great!

Video: Wayne Jagdeo

Thursday 22 December 2016

Shaggy Scarlet Cup

Image: Kathie Hodge
Microstoma floccosum
Did you know Santa Claus had his own range of bespoke cups?

I sure didn't.

Image: Patrick Harvey
Line 'em up, drink 'em down
They don't have 'Best Father Christmas in the World' written on the side, or even 'Only Father Christmas in the World'. No. They have fur, instead!

That's... inconvenient. It looks nice, though. And Christmas is nothing if not the season for inconvenient things that look nice.

Image: Dan Molter
Santa's little mulled wineglass is the Shaggy Scarlet Cup, a mushroom found in parts of North America and Asia. They grow on rotting logs and sticks on the forest floor.

If you'd like to give Santa a nice surprise and leave the milk in his favourite tumbler alongside the cookies, you may be interested to know that they particularly enjoy half-buried branches of oak.

Image: Dan Molter
The cup reaches less than 1 cm (0.4 in) across and rests on top of a stalk about 1 to 5 cm (0.4 to 2 inches) tall.

Perfect for your favourite, Christmas tipple!

Monday 31 October 2016

And the Number of the Hallowe'en Horrors is 666

Its Halloween! That time of year when we draw black waters from the well of cosmic truth with death, draw deep breaths of chill, grave-leaden mist with darkness, and draw white, chalk outlines around corpses in the alleyway with evil. Woo!

Behold Death. He's wearing his Loch Ness Monster costume this year. Basically it's a dark green robe, a dark green handle for his scythe and a kind of lizard mask on the blade. It looks great and boy is he committed to the role. We've been trying to get him out of the swimming pool for hours!

Here be Darkness. She's been trying to teach the zombies about the miraculous power of make-up. I don't think it's going too well. Lipstick is supposed to stick to lips, not the other way round. There's bits of face everywhere!

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!

Friday 28 October 2016

Attack of the Giant Snip-snip

It was a close thing, but this jelly-legs just barely escaped from the enormous snipper of a giant snip-snip.

Sunday 23 October 2016


Image: Mike Quinn
Spiderman. He just doesn't make sense!

It's not the whole 'bitten by a radioactive spider and now he's a bit like a spider' thing. That's fine. That's great. That makes perfect sense. Well known fact, that is. The problem is the 'now he's a bit like a spider'.

Friday 21 October 2016

Gnome Plant

Image: Tab Tannery
Hemitomes congestum
Gnomes are well-known for their love of mushrooms. They sit on them, play fiddle on them, fish in the lawn from them. And judging from those hippy beards and the fact they so often try to catch fish in the lawn, they probably eat some carefully selected ones, too.

So you know their special plant is going to be odd.

Wednesday 19 October 2016

A Whole Lot of Leg

Image: NOAA
You might think that the strange thing about this deep sea Hermit Crab is that it's walking around with a giant flower on its arse...

But that's because you haven't seen it walk yet!

Friday 7 October 2016

Not Baskets With Stars On

Image: NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research
You'd think something called a 'Basket Star' might be a little gold sticker, or maybe a nice knitted affair to tie onto your wicker basket.

Wednesday 5 October 2016

Mueller's White Knifefish

Orthosternarchus tamandua
Darkness will do strange things to a body...

Friday 30 September 2016


Image: Carlos De Soto Molinari
Look at this cute, little snail!

Wednesday 28 September 2016

Berried Anemone

Image: Oceana in Europe
Alicia mirabilis
Well now, that's a lot of berries. A whole pile of them, in fact.

But where's the anemone?

Sunday 25 September 2016


Image: Francisco Severo Neto
Jabiru mycteria
It's a well known fact that roughly 50% of all babies are delivered by stork. Originally a failed attempt to reduce nepotism, the practise continues due to its efficiency, cost effectiveness, and the fact that storks are both great believers in tradition and surprisingly quick to violence when roused.

Friday 2 September 2016


Ah, the deep sea... It gives you wings!

Wednesday 31 August 2016

Derby Hat Bryozoan

Image: Donna Pomeroy
Eurystomella bilabiata
Oh dear, someones's dropped their... hat?

Monday 29 August 2016

Thread-legged Bug

Image: Carlos De Soto Molinari
It's the 21st century and such things as agriculture, antibiotics and the ever-increasing speed of bad news have conspired to ensure that there are more humans alive today than ever before.

And you know what that means...

Friday 19 August 2016

Blind Cusk Eel

Humans have never been great at the whole ghost thing. They all look like white bed sheets with black circles for eyes.

Blind Cusk Eels, on the other hand, now they're almost 100% pure ectoplasm!

Wednesday 17 August 2016

Apheloria virginiensis

Image: Marshal Hedin
Hey, look! It's a beautiful, brightly-coloured millipede! You know what that means, right?

That's right. Cyanide! Yaaaay!

Friday 12 August 2016

Bullseye Electric Ray

Image: Steve Ryan
Diplobatis ommata

Possibly not the best accessory for a relatively small fish in a big, bad sea with sharks in...

Wednesday 10 August 2016

Button Zoanthid

Image: St├ęphane Duquesne
Looks like I've been getting buttons all wrong this whole time. All my buttons consist of about one colour and have approximately zero tentacles. Also I've got them mostly on shirts.

I never thought of gathering them up into a bouquet of buttons!

Friday 5 August 2016

Jewelled Chameleon

Image: Bernard DUPONT
Furcifer campani

What camouflage?

Wednesday 3 August 2016

Red Palm Mite

Image: Eric Erbe, Chris Pooley
Raoiella indica
Uh oh! Sometimes big problems come in teeny-tiny packages!

Monday 1 August 2016

African Clawed Frog

Image: Brian Gratwicke
When you see the unconventionally cute face of an African Clawed Frog, you'd be hard-pressed to imagine you were looking into the beady eyes of a ravenous, meat-eating beast.

Friday 24 June 2016


Image: Shellnut
Here come those snails again, showing us once more that you don't need to live fast to leave a good-looking corpse.

Wednesday 22 June 2016

Jellynose Fish

WARNING: High concentration of gelatinous material in the schnozzle area.

Wednesday 15 June 2016

Big, Voluminous Sleeves

Big, voluminous sleeves... the trend that keeps on giving. And billowing. After all, who doesn't want to look like a rakish buccaneer or ostentatious wizard?

Sunday 12 June 2016

Carpet Anemone

Image: Nevit Dilmen
Nylon? That's just plastic. Wool? Keep it, sheep. Tiger pelt? I'd rather a live, trained tiger to do my bidding.

No. When it comes to carpets, it's teeny-tiny tentacles tickling my tootsies from now on.

Friday 10 June 2016


Image: Alexander Semenov
It can be difficult to describe things you've never seen before. Just think of the medieval bestiaries. Beavers have fish tails, don't they? Rhinos are covered in ornate steel plate, aren't they? Elephants... Where do you even begin with elephants?

Wednesday 8 June 2016

Snaggle-tongue of the Gumboot Chiton

Cryptochiton stelleri

Yuck! What devilry is this? It's like that bit in Jurassic Park with the giant T. rex eye except he's made of mash potato and appears to be staring actual daggers.

Friday 3 June 2016


Image: N Sloth
It sounds like a dinosaur but it looks like a... slug?

Wednesday 1 June 2016

Bryozoa Nudibranch

Image: Donna Pomeroy
This has to be one of the more eye-bending examples of camouflage out there.

Sunday 29 May 2016


Image: NOAA/Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
I'd like to call this thing a "fish-shaped lump of flab" but it's scarcely even fish-shaped!

Friday 27 May 2016

Kinabalu Crested Dragon

Image: Bernard DUPONT
Hypsicalotes kinabaluensis
I love miniature dragons! So much more convenient than the full-sized ones, wouldn't you agree?

Wednesday 25 May 2016

Brain on Holiday

Some might claim this is Leuckartiara octona, a jellyfish widespread in chillier parts of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans...

Sunday 22 May 2016

Stability, Prettily

Image: James Niland
Struts, braces, load-bearing walls... Our efforts at structural integrity are all very well for boring endeavours like holding up bridges, holding up houses and holding up random other stuff. You know, the actual 'structural integrity' part of it. But when it comes to aesthetics. When it comes to beauty. When it comes to looking like you have lightning coming out of your hands. There, the spiders emphatically win.

Or so it was once thought...

Friday 20 May 2016

Queen of the Andes

Image: inyucho
Puya raimondii
*pew pew*

Commander Humperdinck grimaced as he fired photon-rockets from his shoulder mounted, heavy light-bazooka. White trails arced over the carnage of the Andesian Royal Hall and exploded into multi-coloured sparks that sent vegetable men sprawling in all directions. The hall filled with the stench of vegetarian roast dinner.

Wednesday 18 May 2016


Image: Fabien Michenet/
It's a sea slug that thinks it's a fish! And it's so good at being a fish you may well need a second look to decide if it's a weird-looking sea slug or a weird-looking fish.

Sunday 15 May 2016

Rat-tailed Maggot

Image: Biopix: N Sloth
Goodness me! Whatever next? Louse-headed mouse? Flea-legged parking inspector? Cockroach-winged PR guru?

Wednesday 11 May 2016

Big Stick Diplomacy

Walk softly...

Drag a big stick behind you.

Wednesday 4 May 2016

Hairy Shrimp

Phycocaris simulans
It's a tiny shrimp...

Friday 29 April 2016

Two Worms a' Weirding

Image: NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, 2015 Hohonu Moana
Avert your eyes! This worm is completely NAKED!

It's a Scale Worm... but he has no scales! In their place is what looks like a smooth, gelatinous blimp of translucent flab tip-toeing on feet made of bristles. It's disgusting. It's beautiful. It's precisely the kind of thing we expect from the deep sea.

Image: NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, 2015 Hohonu Moana
On the other hand, here's another polychaete worm with a more stylish sense of the peculiar.

It looks to me like she might be related to the Green Bomber and the Squidworm, and she's splendidly attired in luxurious, feathery bristles. I'm sure she uses them to swim through the gloomy water in a manner that looks both disgusting and beautiful. Because when you live in the deep sea, that's what you do.

Wednesday 27 April 2016

Pretty Little Jellyfish

I know absolutely nothing about this jellyfish except that it's gorgeous and I want one on my ceiling.

Even better would be if it floated a few feet above my head. Then it'd be on all the ceilings.

Friday 25 March 2016

Bottle Tree

Image: bathyporeia
Pachypodium lealii
Desert plants like this are definitely my favourites. In their effort to survive the arid conditions, they end up looking like they long since succumbed to them.

Wednesday 23 March 2016


Image: Oceana in Europe
Schnoz alert!

Friday 11 March 2016

Crowned Nudibranch

Image: John Turnbull
Polycera capensis
Crowned in tentacles, that is.

Wednesday 9 March 2016

Barking Gecko, Ptenopus

Image: Bernard DUPONT
Geckos. That bark!