Feb 28, 2007

Four For Your Pleasure

Clare noticed my dearth of bat photos and went to the trouble of sifting through the many bat images out there to present you with this quad-pack of Chiropterans.

Why does each of them look like they are caught between a sneeze and laughing? That last one's nose really gets to me. It reminds me of one of my kids' spikey play-toys.

BTW, you can click on each of the 'Photo' links to get more species information on each of these four beasties.

Thanks for the links, Clare.

Photo credit: Alex Borisenko, via the Royal Ontario Museum and LiveScience.com

credit: Alex Borisenko, via the Royal Ontario Museum and LiveScience.com

Photo credit: Alex Borisenko, via the Royal Ontario Museum and LiveScience.com

Photo credit: Alex Borisenko, via the Royal Ontario Museum and LiveScience.com

Feb 27, 2007

Mystery Fish Revealed

Many of you left your answers in an attempt to identify my mystery fish. And many of you got it right. Congratulations to: haineux (first to respond), Xris, Swintah, and YewHew - it is a guitar fish! Dagon the fish god is now prepared to bestow many blessings upon you.

It was kat that alerted me to this creature. She sent me this article about a mystery fish in Russia. The fishermen who caught it thought they had captured an alien and took video footage of it on a camera phone. But since it didn't appear to be a threat, they went ahead and ate it anyway, much to the dismay of ufologists and scientists everywhere. One of the fishermen said it was the tastiest dish he had ever eaten.

I would love to get inside the mind of a man who believes he has captured an alien and then decides to eat it. I don't know that we would have much in common.

Click here to see the video of the alien sea monster

Photo from: Florida Museum of Natural History

Your Quote Here

This is a photo of a walrus being playful with his trainer. I thought it a good opportunity for you to come up with some possible taglines that might go along with this photo (most of you are more clever than I, after all). Feel free to comment.

Thanks for the photo, Patrizio.

Feb 26, 2007

Rolling Out the Uglies, Part III

This giant squid was recently caught by New Zealand fisherman off the coast of Antartica. What's with all the giant squids popping up recently? We have enough ugly animals top side, we don't need any abyssal creatures showing up.

But I guess this squid didn't have much of a choice. A squid's gott eat, right? How was he supposed to know that there were some Kiwi's on the other end of the line waiting with a gaff and camera?

UPDATE: Both Brestle and Arachnophile have confirmed that I have misidentified this as a giant squid. It is actually a colossal squid. Check out this link from Arachnophile for more details.

Photos (1 & 2) from Reuters via Yahoo!

Rolling out the Uglies, Part II (Aussie-style)

You're looking at a close cousin of the great white shark. Everyone say hello to the Mako shark, who is new to this site. Be nice to him, because he is one of the fastest creatures in the sea, clocking in at 30 mph (48 kph). That's pretty speedy. If you decide to comment on his less-than-attractive appearance where he can hear you, give yourself a good headstart.

The Yahoo! story that came along with this photo talks about a drunken Australian who attacked one of these with his bare hands. Australia: the land of Puggles and Inebriated Shark-fighters.

Photo from AFP via Yahoo!

Feb 25, 2007

Rolling Out the Uglies, Part I

Yahoo! Photos has been supplying us with a cornucopia of ugly animals of late. There are too many to bring you just one a day, so I'll be pumping out some extra posts to keep up.

Below is a male Hamadryas baboon (papio hamadryas). This chap looks a bit nonplussed, but I don't know why. Even though this particular species is common enough and easy enough to breed that no other Czech zoos keep them (this one lives in Liberec), this baboon's exhibition is one of the most frequently visited at his zoo. He's getting lots o' love. Oh well, you can't please every monkey.

by RadekPetrasek, via A/P & Yahoo!

Feb 24, 2007

Pop Quiz, Fish Face

I haven't done a pop quiz for a while. Can anyone identify this fish face? I know what it is. Do you? No cheating, Kat (since you sent it in!) The first one to answer correctly will receive three blessings from Dagon, the Philistine fish god.

Photo courtesy: FishAnatomy.net

Feb 23, 2007


You're looking at a giant carnivorous centipede, possibly a member of scolopendra gigantea. The guy holding this is defying the MSDS sheet that came along with this arthropod. Their poison is very toxic. In fact, should you be envenomated (great word!) by one of the members of scolopendra, you would suffer from scolopendrism, which consists of local sharp pain (think hornet sting), severe swelling, chills, fever, and weakness.

The next time you travel to South America or the Caribbean, say, to Jamaica, keep your eye out for these. Paradise can be a painful place.

Thanks for the photo, Phlimm.

Photo courtesy: Mark M. Lucas

Feb 22, 2007

Two Mouths to Feed

Malia sent me this article, which spotlights the tongue-eating sea louse known as cymothoa exigua. What was that, you ask? Yes, I meant what I wrote about tongue-eating, but allow me to be more specific and horrific (sperrific?).

This crustacean parasite latches onto the tongue of the spotted rosesnapper and begins syphening off blood from the fish's tongue. As the parasite grows, the blood supply to the tongue dwindles, so it atrophies, blackens, and dies, leaving only a stump. But that's only half of it. The sea louse then replaces the erstwhile tongue by digging its claws into said stump. Get this - the fish can then manipulate the louse much like its former tongue, only now it has two mouths to feed.

Photos (1 & 2) courtesy: Lund Lab, University of Kentucky

Feb 21, 2007


My post on the rubber eel solicited several comments - one of which suggested that I profile the amphisbaenians. After looking them up, I readily agreed.

These reptiles are known as 'worm lizards' (double ugly whammy). They have both snake and lizard characteristics, but actually belong to their own happy little suborder. The first thing that struck me about them, is how difficult it is at first glance to distinguish the head from the tail. I'm glad that humans don't have that same characteristic (though they may sometimes behave that way...).

First photo courtesy: World Book Encyclopedia

Second photo courtesy: University of Brazil

Feb 20, 2007

Ugly Tigerfish, Studying Student

You're looking into the gaping maw of hydrocynus vittatus. This literally means 'striped water dog', but I think the common name of tigerfish is more appropriate. This avidly hunted African fish (see the happy fishermen below) is of particular significance to Morgan, who plans on spending this summer in the Congo studying fish.

I hope, I hope, I hope, Morgan, that should you encounter one of these in the wild, that it won't be this same view you see below. I wouldn't wish that on any Evolutionary Biology major! Good luck in your travels and studies. Maybe you can come back with some photos of the aquatic creatures you end up studying.

Thanks for the links, Morgan.

Photos courtesy: JCPoiret.com

Feb 19, 2007

Goliath on Goliath

This is what I call upping the ante when it comes to spiders. In fact, it really can't be upped any more, since this is the largest spider on the planet.

What's my source for these photos? You should know by now. These two Goliath Birdeaters (theraphosa blondi) belong to Jade Walker. Just to give you some perspective, the hand you see in the photo between this about-to-mate pair (not a place I would like to set my hand) belongs to one of Jade's buddy's, and he's over six feet tall. That makes for big hands, which in turn makes for big spiders.

The darker, stockier one on the left is the female. The male has a legspan of 12 inches, and weighed in at over half a pound. That's a lot of spider meat. These beasts are agressive, and have the most severe urticating hairs of any species (Jade inhaled some once and can personally attest to that!).

Thanks for the photos, Jade. You are a credit to invert breeders the world over.

Feb 18, 2007

Upping the Ugly Factor

Jack has recently challenged me to up my ugly factor. Fair enough, my friend. I'll start by using one of the photos you sent me. I've not forgotten the purpose of this blog.

You're looking at an unholy cluster of harvestmen. These wannabes aren't true spiders, since their body is all one segment, not two, like all real spiders. Sorry, but that distinction is of no comfort to me. Heebie-jeebies don't pay attention to body segments.

Thanks for the photo, Jack. You've driven me to the pharmacy to stock up on meds.

Photo courtesy: Cellar.org

Feb 17, 2007

Ugly Stamp

Sherry sent in this image of a stamp that Norway is producing. She knows of my deep and abiding affection for the wolf eel, and knew I would be thrilled that these fish are getting the fame they deserve (check out the middle photo).

My appreciation for ugly increases daily. I'm just glad that others are now validating me.

As a side note - do you know what a wolf eel is called in Norwegian? Steinbit. It means "stone biter". Very nice.

Feb 16, 2007

Puggle Pictures

Cait took up my challenge to find a good stash of quality echidna puggle pictures (ooh, that would be a good studio name, 'Puggle Pictures'...). Here is what she found.

I contacted the photographer, Den, and he not only let me use them, but also sent me this link if you want to see more. Den works to rehabilitate these critters, and has expressed his ire that platypuses get all the love, while the echidna is left in the dark. I agree with his sentiments.

Photos courtesy: Den Whitton

Feb 15, 2007

Peacock Mantis Monster

Kat of KungFoodie brought this delightful crustacean to my attention. You are looking into the alien eyes of a peacock mantis shrimp. This is a classic example of an animal whose only redeeming quality, as far as appearances go, are its colors. Despite the beautiful colors, there's no escaping the fact that if you encountered a large one in a dark alley, you would assume that you had entered a bad science fiction movie.

Thanks for the links, Kat. And thanks you, Francis, for letting me use your fantastic photo.

Photo courtesy: Francis

And, of course, like most every crustacean, these guys sometimes find themselves served up for dinner. Below are some that have been prepped for cooking. Yummy. I like them better colorful.

If you want to see a video of one of these in action, check out this link.

Photo courtesy: Masato

Feb 14, 2007

Valentine Baboon

This is my gift to you. Instead of sending a teddy bear holding a heart, or a heart-shaped box of candies to your sweetheart, why not send them this photo of a baboon with a heart-shaped butt? This primate was made for Valentine's Day, and romance is in the air, my friends.

..feel free to leave comments with some potential love notes that might accompany such a photo...

Photo courtesy: Strange Zoo

Feb 13, 2007

Minimalist Amphibian

Prepare for your next installment of the Rasmus Amphibian Regimen...

I'm amazed at how many non-reptiles sport the snake look. It's been all the rage for eons now. Take the rubber eel, for instance. Also known as the Sicilian Worm (a great name!), the rubber eel is a South American, nocturnal critter. All rubber eels are completely limbless, and the majority of the species are also tailless. That just leaves an ugly, snake-like head-and-trunk combo. Now that's minimalist.

If I had one, I'd name it 'Bob.' (what do you call a guy with no arms and no legs who is floating in the water?)

Thanks for the photo, Rasmus.

Photo courtesy: Gymnophiona.org

Feb 12, 2007

Slide to the Dark Side

Abigail alerted me to Cute Overload's recent 'slide to the dark side' (that's a good song title...) when they posted this down-and-out pooch.

I know, this dog earns a sympathy 'awww' from you. But you can see that his cuteness stems from his charming ugliness. I'm just glad that we can all be friends, even two blogs that so often stand in opposition to one another. Could this be me 'reaching across the aisle'?

Thanks for the photo, Abigail.
Photo courtesy: Cute Overload

Feb 11, 2007

See the connection?

You don't think I'd let you get by for long without another one of Jade Walker's inverts, do you? Not only does he breed tarantulas, but he has also applied his bug-husbandry skills to lobster roaches.

Unlike the Madagascar Hissing Cockroach, these insects aren't meant to be pets. These are bred for food. Tarantulas in particular enjoy them. See the connection now? Are you hungry now?

Thanks for the photo, Jade.

Feb 10, 2007

Slender-billed Rarity

Looking at this photo, I feel like I'm catching a glimpse of Nessie or Big Foot.

Sadly, I'm not far off. You're looking at the slender-billed vulture, native to Southeast Asia and India. This is one of the most endangered birds on the planet, with fewer than 10,000 estimated to be left in the wild.

Vultures have it rough (think California Condor). They feed on dead animals, and sometimes, whatever killed their meal also ends up killing them, especially if it's a poison.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo!

Feb 9, 2007

Ornate Brazilian Pac Man Horned Froggie

Our resident ichthyologist and herpetologist, Rasmus, has pointed out that this site is woefully short on amphibians. To rectify this problem, he has supplied me with a number of links to all sorts of frogs, toads, salamanders, and other critters who are just waiting to find a home here.

This is the first installment of the Rasmus Amphibian Regimen. Take a gander at the Brazilian Horned Frog. Some of you hobbyists may also know him as the Ornate Horned Frog or Pac Man Frog. These chubby amphibians have made there way into terrariums across the world because of their appearance and their willingness to eat almost anything.

Admit it, you want to reach into your computer screen and poke him, don't you? Maybe toss a tasty morsel in his open mouth? Come on...

Thanks for the link, Rasmus.

Photo courtesy: Batraciens-Reptiles.com

Feb 8, 2007

Synchronicity & the Abyss

In an eerie example of synchronicity, just as I was preparing this post on the goblin shark, Miss Cellania fired off an email to me, recommending that I post on the goblin shark (cue Twilight Zone theme). Ugly is a poweful force in the universe...

...back to the goblin shark...

Often called a living fossil (like every other fish or reptile seems to be called), this fish dwells at depths of 1200 meters. The particular fish you are looking at was on display at the Tokyo Sea Life Park last month.

Once again, I reaffirm my belief that abyssal creatures are nearly always abonimable (looks-wise, at least). The Abyss, had it all wrong, with their ethereal and benevolent sea creatures.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo!

Feb 7, 2007

Ugly Runs Strong

Sometimes this blog is too easy (unless I'm doing posts on tiny fish). Take this baboon, for instance; he makes my job so much easier.

Did you know that the fives species of baboon, along with the Mandrill and Drill, are among the largest of the non-hominid primates? Why is it that each of these has made appearances on this blog? Ugly seems to run strong in non-hominids. Heck, the same goes for hominids.

Photo courtesy: baboon

Feb 6, 2007

Perro sin Pelo del Peru

This picture was floating around Yahoo! photos for a while. I thought it high time I shared it. You're looking at the Peruvian Hairless Dog. This canine was used by pre-Incan cultures in the Andes for hunting and companionship. They're even featured on ancient pottery.

These dogs were nearly driven to extinction by the Spanish conquistadors, but were able to survive in rural areas. In recent years they were recognized as an official breed by the FCI, so they should be safe now, assuming no more Pizarro brothers sweep through Peru again.

Photo courtesy: Reuters

Feb 5, 2007

Parasite or Devoted Father?

LuAnne alerted me to this tiny fishie. What you're looking at is the smallest vertebrate on the planet. Actually, you're probably looking at the female, which is the larger of this pairing. Pairing, you say? Yes - take a look at that thing stuck on the back of the fish. That is the male fish.

This is a classic example of sexual parasitism (oh, so many joke opportunities here!). With this fish (Photocorynus spiniceps, found in peat swamps in Southeast Asia), the male (measuring at only 6.2 mm) attaches itself to the female. This is a permanent union which allows the male to partake of the nutrients supplied by the female, which in turn lets him focus on his job; nearly all of his body cavity is filled with his testes. He is a one-purpose fish: breeding. She benefits by having him at hand for baby time.

Is this an example of parasitism, or is it an example of a truly dedicated father? You be the judge.

Thanks for the article, LuAnne.

UPDATE: There is a lot of junk on the web, or at least a lot of less-than-factual stuff. Unfortunately, this site can too often be found in the same pile o' doo-doo. Our preeminent ichtyologist, Rasmus, has pointed out two flaws with this post - I suggest you read his comment. But thanks for the encouragement, Swintah, and for helping me save some face.

Photo courtesy: Nutmeg's StumbleUpon

Feb 4, 2007

Perfect Name

I cannot explain how much I like this animal, or rather, this baby. Callum sent me this link, and my world has changed.

Behold the puggle. No, not the all-the-rave beagle-pug hybrid. This is a baby echidna. Echidnas and platypus are the only Australian marsupials to lay eggs, which is one possible reason as to why their offspring were given their own name: puggle. Don't Aussie animals have some great names? When puggles hatch, they only measure about 1.3 cm and about 0.3 of a gram (that's tiny, y'all).

My only disappointment here is that there aren't better images on the web. I'll offer my eternal esteem (that's priceless, baby) for whoever can dig up some quality puggle shots.

Photos courtesy: Fourth Crossing Wildlife

Feb 3, 2007

No Centipedes? What?

What was that, Callandrea? You don't want a post on centipedes?

...fighting urge...cannot overcome...must post...

Ah. Here it is - another of Jade's wonderful critters, as promised and dreaded. This centipede, known as a 'neon blue centipede' (trachymorcephalus sp.), is incredibly rare. In fact, Jade may have one of the only ones in the US. They are docile for centipedes, which isn't saying much (they're still very aggressive and venomous).

If you want to see some centipedes in action, click on this link for some videos. Make sure you're not eating.

Thanks for the photo, Jade.

UPDATE: Jade actually has four of these, and is actively striving to breed them. That means more centipede for all of us!

Feb 2, 2007

Getting a Look Around

Sylvan alerted me to this photo, and I had to share. It's been too long since my last great white shark post.

One of the many freaky things about this fish (it seems so dismissing to call it that), is that they have good eyesight. In fact, they will sometimes poke their heads above water to get a good look around (that's quite possibly what this particular bloke is up to). I don't know what would be freakier: 1) being attacked from below with no warning, or 2) looking over from your surfboard to see one watching you, then the attack.

But Californians needn't worry too much, despite the presence of the Red Triangle. As of 2004, since 1950 there have only been 10 confirmed fatal great white shark attacks on humans off the Golden State's coast.

Thanks for the link, Sylvan.

Photo courtesy: Shark-Pictures.com

Feb 1, 2007

As Requested - Baby Pinktoes

My Amazon Crawling post solicited a number of comments, including one from Jade Walker, who commented that he and his wife had had 200 pinktoe tarantulas hatch at their house. Gretchen was intrigued and asked for a photo. And Jade delivered.

Here are a series of photos of said baby pinktoe tarantulas. Their scientific name is 'avicularia avicularia', which means "birdeater birdeater", but you'll be happy to know that these spiders are actually quite docile and make for great pets. As Jade puts it, they even prance like ballerinas wearing little pink slippers.

The sac below contained 99 spiderlings, and it was the mom's first sac ever. Congratulations! I'll admit that the spider in the last photo looks cute. That's a first for me. Jade and his wife breed inverts, including a variety of tarantulas, roaches, and centipedes, numbering in the thousands. He sent me quite a number of good photos, so stay tuned - there's more to come.

Thanks for the photos, Jade.