Sunday, July 27, 2014

Meet the Giant Isopod

The Giant Isopods are deep sea creatures that look like some monster out of an Alien movie! This strange creature was discovered in 1879 by French zoologist Alphonse Milne-Edwards who pulled this beast from the depths of the Gulf of Mexico.


Weird Looking Deep Sea Creature




Discovering this giant isopod was exciting for scientists and the public because it refuted the theory that no life existed below 300 fathoms. These deep sea scavengers live anywhere from 560 feet to over 7,000 feet below the cold deep waters of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans.


While they do resemble their earth bound cousins the woodlouse, or roly poly, I on the other hand can’t help but think the late Jim Henson was inspired by these creatures

when he created the garthim character for his hit movie the Dark Crystal. They are the largest isopods in the world with an average length between 7.5 and 14 inches long, and weighing over 3.5 pounds.


They are protected by a calcaerous exoskeleton and when attacked by predators, they can roll up into a ball to protect their vulnerable underside. They feed on what ever might fall to the bottom of the ocean, but because food is scarce, they also prey on slow-moving creatures like sea-cucumbers and sponges.


They have adapted and known to survive over 8 weeks without food in captivity, but when the opportunity presents itself, they will gorge themselves to the point of incapacitation.


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Meet the Giant Isopod

Saturday, July 26, 2014

World's Biggest & Meanest Freshwater Turtle

As far as freshwater goes, the alligator snapping turtle is considered the largest freshwater turtle on our planet. This prehistoric looking monster turtle is nearly invisible in its natural environment as its dinosaur like appearance makes it easy to feed on its prey.


Meet the Alligator Snapping Turtle




A nocturnal animal, this giant turtle feeds mainly at night on a variety of fish, snails, clams, water plants, frogs, crawfish, and even snakes and other turtles.


Considered an invasive species, it’s illegal to keep them as pets or release them into the wild in some European countries as there have been incidents of children attack by these aggressive turtles and in certain environments they can dominate the ecosystem.


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Macrochelys temminckii


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Scientific Name – Macrochelys Temminckii



World's Biggest & Meanest Freshwater Turtle

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sample

Tiny, Colorful and Deadly: The Poison Dart Frog

One of the deadliest creatures on the planet exists in a very misleading skin.  The poison dart frog carries an extreme concentration of poison on its body.  Though it is a tiny and seemingly innocuous reptile that many people would love to keep as a pet, this brightly-colored frog should be avoided at great lengths.


blue single frog


Dendrobatidae frogs are native to Central and South America, where many of the species are currently threatened.  The species that is known as poison dart frogs get their name from one of the practices of the indigenous people of the region.  Because the frogs are so poisonous, they would rub the tips of arrows on the frogs to poison their targets.


 


The amount of poison that is secreted by these frogs is astounding, especially when their size is considered.  Most species of the poison dart frog average around only 1.5 centimeters in length in adulthood.  Though select species can reach up to 6 centimeters, it is less common.


The brightness of these frogs is a defining characteristic of them and a sign of warning to many predators that may try to approach them.  Because of such defenses, the poison dart frogs are able to be active alongside predators.


These are some of the brightest colored creatures on the planet, and variations of all colors of the rainbow exist on the skin of these reptiles.


four blue frogs


Lipophilic alkaloids are what is secreted through the skin of the frogs as poison.  This chemical is enough to draw away most all predators in their habitats.  Only a few species can tolerate it, such as a snake known as the Leimadophus epinephelus, which remains a threat to the frogs.


The poison that exists in these frogs is so extreme that scientists have used it to create painkillers.  Epibatidine is one of such that is 200 times as potent as morphine that is nearly fatal at a therapeutic dose.


Big things come in small packages is very true when considering the poison dart frog- one of the deadliest creatures on the planet at a mere centimeters length.


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Tiny, Colorful and Deadly: The Poison Dart Frog

Friday, July 25, 2014

Has the Sixth Mass Extinction on Planet Earth Already Begun?

Though it is well known that many species are currently facing endangerment, the seriousness and extent of the issue aren’t as well known.  Judging by the great drops in the numbers of many species around the world, the familiar processes, and the beginning of drastic changes in the ecosystem, scientists worry that the sixth mass extinction on planet earth is soon to begin.


The biodiversity on planet earth has continuously increased over its billions of years in existence, and currently is at the height of it.


Scientists explain that the sixth mass extinction can be directly contributed to human behavior.  While the five other previous extinctions can be attributed instances such as natural planetary changes or interference by catastrophic asteroid strikes, the current one, that many scientists believe is already in its early stages, only leaves us to blame.


earth in hands


WIth the increase of human population and expansion, the decrease of many other species has followed.  A devastating and predictive fact in the matter is that since the human population has doubled in the past 35 years, the number of invertebrate species, which includes butterflies, beetles, spiders and words has plummeted to an astounding 55% of their populations in the same time period.


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The ecosystem is tightly interdependent, so while certain species seem to flourish, others will suffer, and the suffering will eventually spread.  With the destruction of the habitats of animals, the disruption in the global climate, and disintegration of many species already happening, it is not hard to imagine that these occurrences will eventually have a percolating effect up the ecosystem.


Not only have many invertebrates began to severely decrease, but species in the megafauna class, such as the elephant, polar bear, rhinoceros, and countless others are currently facing extreme endangerment.  What is crucial to the success of these populations is the success of their habitats, their food supply (which is sustained by other creatures in the ecosystem below them, such as the invertebrates to the megafauna) and noninterference by humans.


Due to the megafauna species often being hunting by humans, their long gestational periods and lack of habitats and food, it is becoming increasingly more difficult for these declining species to get ahead.


elephant mother and baby


Without extreme changes from the current practices that are happening on planet Earth, the detriment of the ecosystem is sure to continue.


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Has the Sixth Mass Extinction on Planet Earth Already Begun?

Creepy Insect Species Discovered

The biggest aquatic insect on earth was discovered in China’s Sichuan province about 2 weeks ago. This scary looking insect is something straight out of your nightmares.


With huge pincers and a large wing span I couldn’t imagine what kind of horror it would bring if it was the size of a F-150 pick up truck!


Largest Aquatic Insect Species Found in China




This unique specimen doesn’t officially have a name yet although many commenters have come up with some pretty interesting ones so far.


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Chengdu, China


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Creepy Insect Species Discovered

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Amazing Photographs From a Very Deadly Encounter

Though most common seals appear cute and cuddly, this can be quite deceiving.  There are species of seals that are deadly, and if one is found within a close proximity of the creature, faces severe danger.


The Leopard Seal, that resides in the arctic, has been labeled as one of the most vicious and deadly predators in Antarctica.  WIth its huge, sharp teeth, intensely powerful jaws and enormous eleven-foot body, it was made to be.


Recently, a photographer for National Geographic unexpectedly came into close contact with one of these predators.  Though initially, he was terrified, didn’t know what to expect and was fearful for his life, the encounter ended beautifully.


threat show by leopard seal


As the photographer first noticed the seal drop the dead penguin in its mouth and begin to head over in his direction, he was struck with fear.  As the beast came within a few feet of him, when they were face to face, the seal opened its mouth wide.


At this moment, the photographer says that he had extreme dry-mouth and was trembling.  He didn’t know what to expect, but the worst, and was surprised by the what happened next.


The mouth-opening was a what is known as a threat display.  The seal did it to show dominance over the photographer as another predator.


Though soon after this, the seal returned to the photographer with a penguin to offer him.  The seal, after initially trying to threaten the photographer, came to the assumption that he was useless as a predator and needed help.  She wanted to ensure that the photographer, a weak predator in her mind, would not starve to death.


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For days as the photographer remained in the area, the interactions between him and the deadly seal continued, and she offered him many penguins throughout this time.


Through this experience, which the photographer says was one of the most incredible of his life, he learned how to survive as a predator in the ocean, formed a relationship with a dangerous predator, and got amazing, one-in-a-lifetime photographs.


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Amazing Photographs From a Very Deadly Encounter