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.
A bizarre new bug resembling the major 90s toy craze Troll Dolls has baffled scientists. Teams from the University of Harvard and museums around the world trekked for three weeks to explore the untouched rainforest of southeast Suriname. They managed to catalogue 60 new animal species - but one little critter has proved too tricky to record. The 7mm wide, six-legged bug has been whittled down to possibly fitting into four nymph families: Dictyopharidae, Nogodinidae, Lophopidae, and Tropiduchidae.
crypsis is the ability of an organism to blend in with its environment, as seen here in (click pic) grasshoppers, mantids, geckos (three in the fifth photo), toads (three in the ninth photo), snakes and katydids, all of which have evolved to mimic or become inconspicuous amongst leaves. photos by (click pic) john cancalosi, christian zeigler, mattias klum and thomas marent.
"…from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved." - charles darwin
…an extinct genus of paenungulate mammals that lived during the late Eocene and the early Oligocene of northern Africa. Although Arsinoitherium looks like a rhinoceros its actually more closely related to elephants, sirenians, desmostylians and hyraxes. Arsinoitherium boasted a pair of enormous knife-liked horns that projected from above their nose, their exact function is unknown but it is suggested that they might have been hollow and used as a sound resonator. Arsinoitherium probably inhabited tropical rainforests and mangrove swamps and would of feed on plant matter. Their large size would of rendered them immune to predation. However, creodonts might have preyed on their young and sick.
Cetartiodactylais the clade in which whales (including dolphins) and even-toed ungulates have currently been placed. The term was coined by merging the name for the two orders, Cetacea and Artiodactyla, into a single word. The term Cetartiodactyla reflects the idea that whales evolved within the artiodactyls. Under this definition, their closest living land relative is thought to be the hippopotamus. The clade formed by uniting whales and hippos is called Whippomorpha. Alternatively, the term ‘Cetartiodactyla’ is used to denote a clade where Cetacea evolved alongside Artiodactyla and not within it. Under this definition, all artiodactyls, including hippos, are more closely related to one another than any are to the whales.