April 3rd, 2008

no no no

This little guy's pretty neat

Australian Thorny Devil


"The skin of a thorny lizard is totally impervious. That means it doesn't sweat or lose any water via its skin. It doesn't need much, but it needs to drink some water.

The way thorny devils drink water is ingenious, an amazing adaptation to life in the harsh desert environment. Their body is covered in a system of tiny grooves or channels that run between their scales. All the channels lead to the corners of their mouth. These channels absorb water via capillary action. (If you put a very thin straw into water some water will rise up in the straw above the water level. That's capillary action.)

Not only can the thorny lizard capture rain this way, it can also absorb dew drops, for example from the vegetation it moves through, via the capillaries. Once the water is in the grooves the lizard can suck it towards its mouth by gulping. What a design! Perfect for the desert environment."

frogland

Surinam toad (video)

OK. the frog post earlier has made me want to share about this one - it's one of my favorite weird-frogs!

The Surinam toad, an aquatic South American toad (family Pipidae), is about 20 cm (8 inches) long. It has small eyes, a flat, squarish body, and a flat head with loose flaps of skin on the face. Its "fingers" have little star-shaped appendages that help them find food.

These creatures are well known for their weird brooding habits.
They mate in the water, and as the eggs are released the male fertilizes them and presses them to the back of the female.
In the next several hours, the skin grows around the eggs to enclose them in a cyst with a horny lid.
After about 80 days, the eggs develop, and the young emerge out of the back of this toad as a bunch of tiny froglets.

Video of baby toads emerging:

Hello

The Salton Sea and Bombay Beach, CA

I've been waiting eons to post this. The pictures from the trip were finally posted, so now you guys have something to look at while reading!

jj_maccrimmon, the photographer and walking encyclopedia, wrote this nice blip about the Salton Sea:

For those who haven’t read about it, The Salton Sea is California’s largest inland body of water (in area not volume), and it’s all there due to a monumental accident. In 1908 a levee holding back the Colorado River broke and began filling what had previously been a dry wash that lay mostly below sea-level. By 1912, an area the size of Los Angeles was covered with water up to a depth of 40 feet (13m). By the 1920’s, word spread about the massive lake and people began building cottages close to the water and using the area for recreation. In the 1940’s, work of this “paradise” spread and developers began building motels, resorts and tourist facilities. In addition, the farming communities south of the lake were thriving. What could possibly go wrong?

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It gets weirder. Ever seen a salt bog? Nearby is Bombay Beach...it'll take your breath away. Here's more from JJ:

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