Peacock mantis shrimp. (Odontodactylus scyllarus)
Oh my gosh. Where do I even begin with such a fantastical animal? It’s just so amazing (Brace yourselves people, Coral’s about to get VERY excited).
The Peacock mantis shrimp is one of the larger, more colourful mantis shrimps commonly seen in the Indian and Pacific oceans, ranging in size from 3 to 18 centimetres. They are primarily green in colour, with orange legs and leopard-like spots on the anterior carapace.
Okay. So. On to the cool stuff. We (humans) have three colour receptive cones in our eyes; green, blue and red. These allow us to see all the colours derived from those three colours. Pretty impressive, no?
The mantis shrimp has SIXTEEN colour receptive cones. SIXTEEN. You think our rainbows are impressive derived from our measly three colours? Think how amazing everything the mantis shrimp sees is. GAH.
Second up, it has two raptorial appendages on the front of its body. These can accelerate with the same velocity as a gunshot from a 22 caliber rifle, and in less than 0.003 of a second can strike whatever was foolish enough to get in it’s way with 1500 Newtons of force.
Their limbs move so quickly that the water around them literally boils. The underwater shockwave it produces will kill the target even if it misses.WHAAAAT.
Do excuse my excitement in this post but it cannot be contained.
TELL ME SHRIMPS AREN’T COOL ONE MORE TIME.
ONE MORE TIME.
I DARE YOU.
Image: Perry Aragon
Also known as; harlequin mantis shrimp, painted mantis shrimp, or clown mantis shrimp
Waxy monkey frog. (Phyllomedusa sauvagii)
The waxy monkey frog is a hylid frog native to the Chaco (dry prairie) of Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, and Paraguay. Their common name describes them perfectly; their skin has a green, waxy appearance, and rather than hopping like many other frogs, they walk in the trees like a monkey.
The Waxy monkey frog spends almost it’s entire adult life in the trees, only moving briefly during the rainy season for the female will lay her eggs, even then not fully leaving the trees.
The female lays her eggs down the middle of a leaf overhanging a stream, then glues to edges of the leaf together creating a kind of… leaf..egg..sandwichy type thing (technical term, yes), so the hatching tadpoles can drop into the stream later without the eggs being put a risk of predators.
Image: Jeff Smallwood
Mauritius parakeet. (Psittacula eques)
Once classified as the most endangered bird in the world, the Mauritius parakeet has undergone a miraculous recovery thanks to a massive recovery and conservation programme.
Much of the natural heritage of Mauritius has been lost, which is what may have caused their decline in population. In 1986, only three females were known in the wild and the population as a whole numbered between 8 and 12 birds. In addition, the introduction of predators such as the crab-eating macaque and the black rat has further affected population numbers.
These medium sized birds are bright green in colour, with a distinctive black ring from the beak around the neck. The back of the head has a blue colouring, and mature males will have a noticeable pink ring below this.
Rock hyrax. (Procavia capensis)
The rock hyrax is a small,
adorable, tailless mammal found throughout sub-Saharan Africa, with the exception of the Congo basin, and in north-east Africa. Although resembling a guinea pig, hyraxes are actually more closely related to elephants and manatees.
A gregarious mammal, the rock hyrax lives in colonies of 2 to 26 individuals, typically consisting of a breeding male, sometimes a subordinate male, several adult females and their offspring.
The rock hyrax occupies habitats dominated by rocks and large boulders, including mountain cliffs, scree slopes and outcrops.
Assassin bug. (Acanthaspis petax)
Acanthaspis petax is a species of assassin bug living in Africa, Malaysia and the Philippines that preys majorly on ants.
In order to kill the ants, the assassin bug will inject it’s prey with an enzyme that completely liquifies its insides, leaving nothing but an empty husk; it’s at this point that the assassin bug does something truly remarkable.
It will take the leftover exoskeletons and stick them onto it’s back, creating a shield out of its victim’s bodies. Some think that they perform this in order to mask themselves from the jumping spiders that sometimes feed on them, as it is thought that jumping spiders do not normally attack ants due to their nature of swarming and use of acids as defence.
I’m honestly not sure whether to be impressed or terrified.
Oleander Hawk Moth. (Daphnis nerii)
The Oleander hawk moth is a large hawk moth found in wide areas of Africa and Asia. It is a migratory species, flying to parts of eastern and southern Europe during the summer.
Their name comes from the toxic Oleander plant, which they feed on as a caterpillar. The caterpillars a pale blue as newborns, but soon change to a lime green colour as they mature, with two large spots resembling eyes on the forefront of the body.
Sarcastic Fringehead. (Neoclinus blanchardi)
Not gunna lie, possibly the most terrifying thing I’ve ever seen.
The sarcastic fringehead can grow to be up to 30cm long, tending to live in shells or crevices in rocks and are found in the Pacific ocean, off the coast of north America.
They are incredibly aggressive fish when it comes to territory. When two fringeheads have a territorial battle, they wrestle by pressing their distended mouths against each other. This allows them to determine which is the larger fish, and therefore which one has dominance.
So… Happy Swimming!
Let’s try this again, shall we?
Heeeeeeyyy.. Who remembers that time two months ago when I said I would start posting again…?
OKAY WELL I’M SORRY HERE I’M BACK NOW IT’S SUMMER AND I FINALLY HAVE FREEE TIME TO POST.
I’m also planning something really exciting to come pretty soon so watch out! To make up for the absence have another post on a crazy fish.
(a very sorry) Coral
Anonymous asked: I THOUGHT YOU HAD LEFT!! So glad you're back, I love your blog! Could you do a post on the Sunda Colugo?? Thanks!
Ahh, I’m sorry! Exams are really awful. But thank you so much! That means so much to me you don’t understand gah.
i’ll definitely do that! Great suggestion, thank you!
Explaining my absence…
So ONCE AGAIN I haven’t been posting very much… It’s exam term and I couldn’t find time between revision to write up anything, but don’t worry guys! I finish on Tuesday, so expect a whole bunch of posting starting Tuesday afternoon!
Spotted Handfish. (Brachionichthys hirsutus)
Can we just take the time to appreciate the fact that this fish has fins like hands?? HANDS??
One of the world’s most critically endangered fish, the spotted handfish is endemic to the lower Derwent River estuary in Tasmania, and was a relatively common species until the 1980s, when it’s numbers began to decline rapidly. Although unproven, it is thought that the introduction of the northern Pacific seastar (Asterias amurensis) to Tasmania at this time may be responsible for this sudden drop, as they are believed to eat the eggs of the handfish.
This extremely distinctive fish is almost pear-shaped and has hand-like paired fins that enable it to ‘walk’ along the seafloor. They are cream in colour with a myriad of dusky brown, and occasionally yellow-brown spots, the pattern of which is unique to each individual. Some individuals also have orange markings on their fins.
Definitely my new favourite fish.
IT SORT OF HAS HANDS. C’MON PEOPLE.
Spiny turtle. (Heosemys spinosa)
If you ever needed a reason not to make fun of turtles, this guy is definitely it. Just look. He’s like the terminator of the turtle world.
This semi-aquatic species is found in shallow, wooded mountain streams in Southeast Asia, but spends a lot of time on land foraging or burrowing amongst the leaf litter of the forest floor. It is usually only the younger turtles that display the unmistakable, strongly-serrated carapace edge and spiny keel, as it becomes worn down with age.
Unfortunately, like many Asian turtle species, the spiny turtle is in danger of extinction due to over-collection from the wild for the Asian food market and international pet trade, as well as the destruction of its habitat.
The Spiny turtle is classified as
badass endangered on the IUCN red list.
Kenya dancing-jewel. (Platycypha amboniensis)
Endemic to montane forest streams in the Aberdare Mountains in central Kenya and Mount Kenya, the Kenya dancing-jewel is classed as critically endangered.
This damselfly is easily distinguished by it’s bright orange legs and a mostly sky-blue abdomen, as well as the large, bulbous eyes, and long, translucent wings characteristic of dragonflies and damselflies.
Almost nothing is know about the reproductive or feeding behaviour of the Kenya dancing-jewel, so it is assumed that other general biological characteristics of dragonflies and damselflies will apply (e.g metamorphosis).
Also known as Montane dancing-jewel.
snazziest damselfly ever am i right or am i right
Indri. (Indri indri)
Considered to be the largest of all the lemurs, the Indri is one of the most endangered species of lemur in Madagascar, and one of the most threatened primates in the world. They live by the coast, where forests have become so fragmented that they are almost too small to sustain solid populations.
They are social animals, living in groups of 2 - 5 individuals. Indris are active during the day and spend most of their time in the trees, where they feed on leaves, flowers and fruit, but they do occasionally descend to the forest floor to cross small treeless areas or to eat.
They have never been successfully bred in captivity, so conserving their habitat is essential to the indri’s survival. They are currently classed as endangered on the IUCN Red list.
Pink Pigeon. (Nesoenas mayeri)
Thanks to an intensive conservation plan, the pink pigeon has undergone a miraculous recovery. At one point there was only 12 wild individuals. With the number sitting at over 300 today, the species has been moved from critically endangered to endangered on the IUCN Red list.
The pink pigeon is endemic to the island of Mauritius. It’s head, neck and underparts are all a pale pink whilst the face is a white colour . The back is brown, fading to a rust coloured tail.
These pigeons feed on buds, leaves, flowers, fruits and seeds of both introduced and native plants.