Some anglerfishes employ an unusual mating method. Because individuals are presumably locally rare and encounters doubly so, finding a mate is problematic. When scientists first started capturing ceratioid anglerfish, they noticed that all of the specimens were females. These individuals were a few inches in size and almost all of them had what appeared to be parasites attached to them. It turned out that these “parasites” were highly reduced male ceratioids.
The arapaima is a South American freshwater fish. It is a living fossil and one of the largest freshwater fishes in the world. Because the arapaima produces large, boneless steaks, it is considered a delicacy. Commercial fishing of the arapaima has been banned by the Brazilian government.
Archerfish are known for their habit of preying on land based insects and other small animals by literally shooting them down with water droplets from their specialized mouths.
The argonauts are a group of octopuses unlike any other. The females secrete a thin, white, brittle shell called the paper nautilus. Nestled with their arms tucked inside this beautiful, translucent home, they drift through the open ocean while other octopus species crawl along the sea floor.
John Aspinall was born in Delhi, India, but was a United Kingdom citizen. He was a zoo owner and agambler. He was also a self-declared misanthrope and reputed co-plotter of an extreme right-wing conspiracy against Britain’s Labour government.
The bat-eared fox is a canid of the African savanna, named for its large ears. Fossil records show this canid to first appear during the middle Pleistocene, about 800,000 years ago.
The Bay Cat is a small feline endemic to the island of Borneo. Nearly everything that is known about this cat is based on just twelve specimens, the first of which was collected by Alfred Russel Wallace in 1855 in Sarawak. A total of seven further skins surfaced over the following decades, but it was not until 1992 that a living specimen was obtained, and there were no photographs of the animal until a second living specimen was captured in 1998. [via Featured Creature]
William Buckland is famous for two things: he was the first man to write a full account of a fossil, and he was incredibly eccentric when it came to animals and food. Buckland’s love of natural history resulted in his house being something akin to a zoo. He filled it with animals of every kind and he then proceeded to eat them all (and serve them to guests). He claimed to have eaten his way through every animal. The creatures that he said tasted worst were bluebottle flies, and mole. Various guests to dinner describe being served panther, crocodile, and mouse.
The Cordoba Fighting Dog is an extinct breed of dog. The Cordoba was a crossbreed of Mastiff, Bull Terrier, Boxer, and Old English Bulldog. The Cordoba Fighting Dog originated in Córdoba, Argentina. The breed had such strong aggression toward other dogs that the males and females would rather fight than mate. In addition, many members of this breed died in the dog fighting pits, contributing to the breed’s extinction.
Dragon Millipede is a spiny and toxic millipede aptly named for its bright pink color. These adult millipedes are approximately 3 cm long and live in the open on leaf litter. The millipedes have glands that produce hydrogen cyanide to protect them from predators, a fact advertised by their aposematic color. Because they produce cyanide, they smell like almonds.
Golden snub-nosed monkey is an Old World monkey in the Colobinae subfamily. Population estimates range from 8,000 to 15,000. It is endemic to a small area in temperate, mountainous forests of central and Southwest China.
During the rains, the colony feeds some of their workers with water and nectar. These workers store the extra food in a part of their digestive system called the crop. So it happens then that this front part or their abdomen swells. They can not move around, because they become too heavy. They have to hang in the nest as living larders. When long, flowerless season come, the rest of the colony uses them as living silos. In certain places, they are eaten by people as sweets and are considered a delicacy.
Indian Runners are an unusual breed of domestic duck. They stand erect like penguins and, rather than waddling, they run. The females usually lay about 150 – 200 eggs a year or more, depending whether they are from exhibition or utility strains. They were found on the Indonesian Islands of Lombok, Java and Bali where they were ‘walked’ to market and sold as egg-layers or for meat.
The Ivory-billed Woodpecker is one of several species whose numbers have dwindled to the point where it is uncertain whether any remain.
The Komodo dragon is a large species of lizard found in the Indonesian islands of Komodo, Rinca, Flores, and Gili Motang.
The Moscow Metro is the second most heavily used in the world by daily ridership. A total of about 500 strays on average live in its stations, especially during colder months. Of these dogs, about 20 are believed to have learned how to use the system as a means of commuting. Site in Russian dedicated to these sublime creatures.
Oarfish are found in all the world’s oceans at depths of between 300 and 1000 meters. Its total length can reach 17 m, and it can weigh up to 300 kg.
Unknown to Europeans until 1901, today there are approximately 10,000–20,000 okapis in the wild and only 40 different worldwide institutions display them.
Pallas’s Cat is a small wild cat named after the naturalist Peter Simon Pallas, who first described the species in 1776. In 2002, the IUCN classified Pallas’s cat as near threatened because of the broad but patchy distribution in the grasslands and montane steppe of Central Asia. Pallas’s cats inhabit the Asian steppes between heights of 1,000 and 4,000 metres (3,300 and 13,000 ft). It is found along the eastern and southern coasts of the Caspian Sea, through northern Iran, India, and Pakistan, in Afghanistan and Turkmenistan, western and central China, and Mongolia.
Silvery-cheeked Hornbill is a large bird at 75 to 80 centimetres (30 to 31 in) in length with a very large creamy casque on the beak.
The spotted handfish is unusual in that it has highly adapted pectoral fins, which appear like hands (hence the name) and allow it to walk on the sea floor.
The Altiplano is a cold, harsh habitat, ranging from about 12,000-18,000 feet above sea level in the Andes Mountains of South America. At this elevation, there are no trees to block strong winds, and very little rain, though nightly fog and dew provide water. The land is covered with low, tough shrubs and hardy grasses, neither of which provides places to hide. This inhospitable area is home to a species of animal with the finest fiber in the world: the vicuna.
During the height of the Incan empire, the animals were plentiful and numbered approximately 2 million. Their fleece was so valuable (vicuna fabric currently sells for $1,800 to $3,000 per yard) that only royalty could wear garments made from it.
The controversial scientific name of this species was given by Charles Lucien Bonaparte, Napoleon’s nephew and a republican idealist, who described the bird from a badly damaged trade specimen purchased by British ornithologist Edward Wilson.
In the 1940s, the Polish army bought a bear cub from a small boy, who looked after it by feeding it condensed vodka bottle. As time went on, Wojtek the bear became a mascot of, and officially a member of, the Polish Army. Wojtek died in 1963, presumably from his diet which included honey, syrup, beer and cigarettes.