July 15th, 2008


Ornate Wobbegong

Per Wikipedia: Slightly edited
The ornate wobbegong, Orectolobus ornatus, is a carpet shark in the family Orectolobidae, found in the western Pacific Ocean around eastern Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and Australia.

The ornate wobbegong's caudal fin has its upper lobe hardly elevated above the body axis, with a strong terminal lobe and subterminal notch but no ventral lobe. It is a common bottom shark of inshore continental waters, on algal-covered rocky areas and coral reefs. It is nocturnal, resting on the bottom during the day and prowling on its reef habitat at night, where it is presumably feeding on bottom invertebrates and fishes but its diet is unrecorded. It attacks waders and fishers in tide pools. Its skin is very tough, attractively patterned and utilized for leather.

OK, it might be borderline WTF. It has obviously cool camoflaugue. It looks neat, but the reason I really posted this is beacuse I like to say "wobbegong". Sorry, it has been a rough morning. Carry on
Leafy Seadragon

Velvet Worms!

surprised no one has posted this one yet.

These creatures are actually in their own phylum and are not related to anything else. They look like a slug with legs but have the skin texture of a soft caterpillar. They like to live in rainforests in dark humid places, but the most amazing thing about them is that they hunt unlike any other predator. They are extremely slow moving but like to eat small invertebrates, so the way they hunt is they actually shoot sticky goo which their prey becomes entangled in. The goo hardens within seconds and the prey is stuck there. It's like Spiderman! Then the velvet worm can take its sweet time crawling over and injects its prey with toxic saliva that liquifies the prey's insides. the velvet worm then sucks it out.

Heres a video that shows it in action!

I was lucky enough to go with a friend of my professor's who worked for the smithsonian on a collecting expedition to costa rica where we found quite a few of these little guys for study. One species (the one we found most of) actually reproduce by parthenogenesis. One day it would be very fat and the next day we would discover it had given birth (live!) to one or two little versions of itself. all the ones we found were female, and we found that it varies between species. some species have both males and females, and others are all female.

Wikipedia article