Formosan Grass Lizard (Koshun Grass Lizard)
Takydromus sauteri (Lacertidae), commonly referred as Formosan Grass Lizard, and Koshun Grass Lizard, is an oviparous, long-tailed grass lizard inhabiting Orchid Island, a tropical island off the southeastern coast of Taiwan.
The tail length of Takydromus sauteri is usually over 420% of snout–vent length!.
Photo credit: ©Skink
Locality: unknown (Taiwan)
Sundew Catapults Prey into Trap
Drosera glanduligera is a species of sundew, a group of carnivorous plants that use sticky tentacles to ensnare their prey. This is species is unique in that it has extremely fast ‘snap tentacles’ which literally fling their prey into their sticky traps.
Sundews have evolved the ability to digest insects as an adaptation to their nutrient poor habitats. Once a prey is caught in the glue-like secretions, it either dies from exhaustion or asphyxiates from being smothered in dew. The plant then secretes enzymes which break down the insect, allowing the plant to absorb its nutrients.
All species of sundew are able to move their inner tentacles to pass prey towards the center of the leaf, where digestion is most efficient. Many species are able to fold the surface of the leaf around the prey to ensure contact with a larger digestive surface.
Drosera glanduligera is the fastest moving sundew, with ‘snap tentacles’ which fold inwards within 75 milliseconds. This action is triggered when an insect makes contact with them, and are powerful enough to catapult the insect into the center of the leaf, where it becomes glued down.
Gif from video: Poppinga, S. Et al. via Wikimedia Commons
At up to 36ft in length, the oarfish is the largest bony fish known to science and is thought to be responsible for many sea serpent legends. Although it lives in tropical and temperate waters worldwide, the oarfish is rarely caught or seen alive. Little is known about its behavior.
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Fun fact! Jellyfish don’t use electricity to sting you. Whenever they feel pressure against their tentacles, it causes its cells to rapidly send out these stingers into your skin that then release its venom. Like this:
Home Sweet Home
Usually plastic and the environment do not go hand in hand, but artist Aki Inomata uses plastic to create an environment for her little pet hermit crabs in “Why Not Hand Over a “Shelter” to Hermit Crabs?” (2009, 2010-2013).
With the help of CT scanning to render a three-dimensional model of an empty shell, Inomata creates her base and then builds houses atop these shell renderings. These architectural wonders mimic the style of popular dwellings, from Tokyo house-style to Paris apartments.
With these plastic hermit crab habitats, Inomata wanted to explore not only the hermit crab’s adaptability to new surroundings, but how we adapt as well. Immigration, relocation, even acquiring a new identity or nationality is more or less the human version of growing out of a shell, and finding a new one to call ‘home’.
Not only is this series an amazing symbolic representation of our will to adapt, but also a fun way to learn more about the life and physiology of the hermit crab, as the dwellings are completely see-through. Have you ever wondered what a hermit crab’s body looks like inside its shell?
A video of both the hermit crabs in action and how the artist came about designing the shells can be found here.