Month: October 2010

Giant Isopods of the Deep

image credit: image credit: image credit: image credit: image credit: cold, deep waters of the AtlanticStatus: No conservation concerns Many of you have probably heard about the Giant Isopod before (and if you haven’t I sincerely apologize for giving you nightmares tonight) but I just had to write about it since this truly is the face of evil. These guys reach a length of 7-14 inches, making them a prime example of deep sea gigantism. Most isopods only reach a length of 1 to 5 centimeters! As scavengers of the abyss, Giant Isopods are carnivorous creatures that will feast on anything they can get their spiny claws on including dead whales, fish, and squid. They also devour slow moving prey like sea cucumbers and sponges. Here’s a video of them (as well as a few other deep sea denizens) going to town on a dead...

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Real Life Skeksi: The Waldrapp

image credit: sulla55 image credit: milesmilob image credit: Jsysco image credit: M.Maurice2009 image credit: Luke Robinson image credit: WoodpeckarHabitat: Morocco & SyriaStatus: Critically Endangered It’s important to protect even the ugliest of mother nature’s babies, including the Northern Bald Ibis or Waldrapp as it is more commonly known. There are only around 500 birds remaining in the wild due to hunting, loss of habitat, and pesticide poisoning. Unlike most ibises, these birds don’t prefer wetland habitats but instead dwell in barren, semi-desert, or rocky habitats. They also aren’t nearly as attractive as their relatives with their naked, cracked skin encompassed by long feathers that jet out in different directions. If anyone remembers the movie The Dark Crystal (which scared me half to death when I was younger) I think the Waldrapp was the inspiration for the Skeksis. What do you...

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A Face Only A Mother Could Love: Wrinkle-Faced Bat

image credit: image credit: asnyder5 image credit: Evets Lembek Habitat: Central America Status: Least Concern If you ever questioned what I meant when I said I would be posting about “scary ugly” animals, then I think this Wrinkle-faced Bat should clear things up for you.Possessing a hairless face covered in wrinkly skin flaps, the Wrinkle-Faced Bat uses its ugly mug to help it direct its sonar more easily. The intricate grooves and crevices act as resonating chambers (much like blowing into a set of clarinets can produce deep, resonant tones) which allow the frequencies to focus different ways and thus aid it to “see” in the darkness. These bats also have an unusually short and wide skull which allows them to produce bite forces up to 20% greater than other bats of similar sizes. Luckily, the Wrinkle-Faced Bat only eats fruit… for...

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Where are you Ghost Pipefish?

image credit: BrianMayes, via Flickr image credit: a.j.mck image credit: The Very Lonely Traveller image credit: samuie image credit: ScubaJo image credit: symbion1Habitat: Western Pacific and Indian OceanStatus: Not Evaluated Again, not scary but the name fits the theme! The Ornate Ghost Pipefish is a master of disguise, able to camouflage itself so well that I even had a hard time finding it in some of these pictures! They come in a variety of colors including red, black, yellow, and white and all of them are basically transparent. Of course the name “Ghost Pipefish” doesn’t come from its desire to go around scaring the neighborhood guppies, it’s the fact that it’s able to blend into its background so well that its virtually undetectable – like a ghost. I guess it could give you a bit of a scare if you picked up a clump of seaweed unsuspectingly only to find this guy staring back at...

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Friends With a Hatchetfish?

image credit: image credit: science7miller.glogster.comHabitat: tropical and subtropical deep ocean waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian OceansStatus: Not Evaluated No Halloween special would be complete without a creepy deep sea fish or two so here’s the deep sea Hatchetfish. It’s large bulbous eyes have evolved to cope with the near darkness of its habitat by allowing it to see even the faintest bit of light. To me these fish don’t really look that scary they look more sad. Maybe they’re crying out to us for companionship, since I would assume living hundreds of meters below the surface of the ocean must be grounds for a very lonely existence. Not sure I would go out of my way to help befriend them...

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About Carly


I have a confession: I love animals. Join me and the rest of the Featured Creature community as we learn about the weirdest, coolest, and craziest animals out there. Including your dog, Mr. Scrufflebutt (if you submit him!).

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