"The jellyback is a tall creature which feeds on the high fruits of certain trees. Once the creature reaches maturity it produces egg cysts within the large sac on its back. These eggs are very small, hard, and numerous. The timing of this is correlated with symbiotic flying creatures’ breeding patterns. Once the flying creatures begin their courtship, the jellybacks begin a transformation. Toxins usually stored in their sacs become neutralized; in the process the sacs turn a bright red color as the creatures’ limbs stiffen. The jellybacks die in this process, retaining a rigid standing position, and using the red color of the jellybacks’ sacs as a signal that it is time, the symbiotic flying creatures tear into the sacs and feast on the mass stored therein. These nutrient-rich tissues and fluids give the flying creatures the energy they need to produce their young. The jellyback’s egg cysts are also consumed incidentally, but are not harmed by the flying creatures’ digestive processes; in fact the process is essential to allow them to hatch. The egg cysts are later deposited by the flying creatures as they excrete them far and wide. The cysts then hatch and, using the nutrients from the flying creatures’ droppings, begin the first stage in their life cycle. The dead jellybacks’ bodies can remain fixed in a standing position for years, providing structures for the flying creatures to build safe nests high above the plains.
Rising up through the fog in the distance, the fossilized remains of complex mega-structures formed over millions of years by long extinct burrowing tube worms have been exposed by geological processes to form dramatic arches looming over the plains.”
A few months ago David Chambon has been working on a series of amazing photographs of insects covered in dew drops. If the “creativity” of the phenomenon is due to the nature only, Chambon takes credit for putting in focus, with exemplary photographic expertise, these little natural wonders.
Ferocious, Fearless Mantis Shrimp Is the Honey Badger of the Sea
by Matt Simon
These are the stomatopods, some 550 known species of mantis shrimp that range from less than an inch long to well over a foot. They’re feisty, beautifully complex creatures that strike so quickly that they momentarily superheat the water around their spring-loaded clubs to a temperature nearly as hot as the surface of the sun.
They may not be particularly big, but they will fight just about anything that so much as looks at them funny. Octopuses, humans, each other — you name it. You see, the mantis shrimp doesn’t grab ass. It kicks it.
Mantis shrimp are split into two groups. Smashers methodically dismember and knock their prey unconscious. Spearers impale fish with spikey appendages, much like their insect namesake. The speed and power with which these creatures strike simply defies logic. While the spearers can lash at their prey in a mere 20 to 30 milliseconds, the smashers can be 10 times as quick. This is the fastest predatory strike on the planet…
…a uniquely large species of Neanurid springtail that is endemic to New Zealand. H. paucispinosa is fairly large as far as springtails go with individuals capable of growing to several millimeters long! Like other (smaller) springtails Holacanthella paucispinosa is a scavenger and forages for organic material in leaf litter and under logs.