Animal Kingdom

Algae invasion! Sea Ghosts create beautiful light show on China’s beach

  China's Xiangbi'ao beach shone with a majestic sparkling glow-in-the-dark blue hue last week after a natural phenomenon called "Sea Ghosts" invaded the waters.  Sea Ghost or "Sea Sparkle" is created by the growth of an algal bloom called Noctiluca scintallans, a type of single-cell animal that loves to munch on plankton.  The organisms multiply when nitrogen and phosphorus from farm fertilizer run-off enters the water.  Beautiful, yes - but harmful to the ecosystem.  When the blooms die, they sink to the bottom of the sea where they decompose, consuming huge amounts of oxygen and killing other marine life. Check out the Sea Sparkle on China's Xiangbi'ao beach in the pictorial gallery below.  
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Animal Kingdom

Meet death on eight legs – the fierce and awesome Camel Spider was born to give people nightmares

  Large, hairy, and growing to 6-inches long, they are also called “wind scorpions” for their amazing speed. The many legends surrounding the Camel Spider will give you nightmares. It has been told that they eat camel stomachs – from the inside out - and are said to scream as they speed across the desert floor, leap incredible distances to chase fleeing humans, and kill people by injecting them with venom then feeding on their bodies as they sleep. Of course, none of this is true but with jaws about a third of their body length, they can shred prey as big as rodents.  I would say that's enough to give pause when you run across one. Camel spiders are arachnids but belong to a different order than most other spiders.…
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Animal Kingdom

Twice as smart or twice as scary? Rare two-headed snake sells for $50,000

  Fifty thousand dollars?!? For a snake!?! But Medusa is no ordinary snake. The four-year old Honduran Milk Snake, born in Florida, has two fully-functioning heads. In fact, the owner says the two heads even fight each other for food sometimes. "I bring a mouse up to them and both opened their mouths. Then the right head struck and yanked the mouse right out of my hand. Then the left head grabbed the mouse's butt end. I couldn't believe how quickly they were eating. They were going to meet in the middle -- and these types of snakes eat other snakes!” Owner Todd Ray says he quickly cut the mouse in two before a riot broke out and now holds a playing card sideways between…
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Animal Kingdom

Monster? Sea Serpent? Alien? No- it’s a rare creature from the deep – the terrifying frilled shark

Wait – sit back down! It’s not an alien nor closet ghost but yeah, with 25 rows of over 300 teeth it could tear off your face. The picture above is a rare frilled shark that was caught by a startled fisherman in Australia. Its oversized-mouth is packed with needle-like teeth and the shark's weird-looking 6-foot body looks like an eel’s giving it a bizarre sea-serpent-like appearance. The frilled shark, which gets its name from its six pairs of gills, is known to live at extreme depths in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and is very infrequently caught, or even observed, by fishermen. Its prehistoric origins are obvious (it's been termed a "living fossil") and it’ll scare senseless any fisherman that accidentally snags one.  After changing…
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Animal Kingdom

Scientists discover “tissue-paper” fish at record oceanic depth in Mariana Trench

It has a clear, translucent body, broad wing-like fins, and a flowing “tissue-paper-like” tail – and set a new record for the deepest fish ever recorded! It was captured on film in the Mariana Trench by a camera in a robotic submarine. Unfortunately, no scientists were around as the fish swam slowly past the camera, stopped and waved, and continued on its merry little way. The fish is believed to be a type of Snailfish and was discovered at a record depth of 26,722 feet. That’s about five miles below the surface! At these depths, the pressure from the water above is so great, it would crush most animals. Scientists think this may be the deepest any living animal can survive. At greater depths, muscle…
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Animal Kingdom

Meet Alviniconcha strummeri – the spike-haired snail named after a famous punk rocker

The Alviniconcha strummeri sea snail is covered in awesome spikes giving it the telltale appearance (you may need to squint your eyes a bit) of a classic spike-haired punk rocker. In fact, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute named it Alviniconcha strummeri after the famous Clash frontman, punk rocker Joe Strummer. “Because they look like punk rockers in the 70s and 80s and have purple blood and live in such an extreme environment, we decided to name one new species after a punk rock icon.” These golf ball-sized punk rock snails live thousands of feet underwater, crowded around the mouths of fiery-hot hydrothermal vents. Scientists believe the extreme heat from the thermal vents are what give the snail its typical severely damaged and spiked shell.…
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Animal Kingdom

See the intercontinental path of two birds on their epic migration from Europe to Africa

The guys over at 422 South have done it again providing us a wonderful “data-visualization” of the migratory path of the European honey buzzard.  The European honey buzzard, also known as the pern, migrates every year from Europe to the warmer coasts of Africa where it spends the winter months soaking in the warm sun and sipping on drinks with little umbrellas in them.  The visual above shows the remarkable flight paths of two such honey buzzards, a male and a female, between Fall 2010 and Spring 2011.  Both birds' southward migration took them from the Veluwe forest in the Netherlands to the warmer weather on the African coast (Liberia, Ghana, and Cameroon).  After wintering in Africa, both birds flew back to the Veluwe forest (the…
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Animal Kingdom

Scientists photograph and capture rare, odd looking melanocetus (“the Black Seadevil”) deep-sea fish

Researchers with the Monterey Ray Bay Aquarium Research Institute acquired footage of the rare Melanocetus fish, more affectionately known as “the Black Seadevil”. These creepy critters are rarely seen in their natural deep-sea habitat. Scientists who captured the wonderful new footage of the Black Seadevil told reporters that the first thing they thought when the spotted the unusual species was “Aaaaagggghhhhh!!!!” As you can see, the Black Seadevil is very, ah, different looking. The shining spot at the end of the “fishing pole” that protrudes from the fish’s head is a glowing lure. The anglerfish uses the light to attract prey in its deep, dark habitat. The pictures of the Black Seadevil were taken from a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) at a depth of 1,900…
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Animal Kingdom

Here’s what happens to blood when one drop of snake venom is mixed with it

The Daboia, or Russell’s Snake Viper, is found in Asia throughout the Indian subcontinent, much of Southeast Asia, southern China and Taiwan. Not only is it very aggressive, but it is very poisonous. For the lucky few that survive, they may face a lifetime of chronic internal injuries as a result of the venomous bite. Why does the bite of the Russell’s Snake Viper do so much damage to the human body? Because it causes the blood of the victim to coagulate. Do what? Check out the creepy video below which shows what happens to blood when a single drop of snake venom is mixed with it. Here’s what happens when snake venom is mixed with blood Sources: BBC, Wikipedia
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Animal Kingdom

Man vs. beast – armed four-man teams guard Northern White Rhinos in Kenya

After being hunted to near extinction by poachers (who want only their horns), white rhinos now have (for the most part), Man on their side. Above is a Northern White Rhino on the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya being guarded by an armed four-man team. The team have developed an extraordinary relationship with the rhinos, leaning on them, scratching them, and displaying tremendous affection towards the endangered animals. The rhinos seem to sense the love and walk willingly with the men throughout the day.
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