20 Worlds Weird & Strange Species

Saturday, July 28, 2012

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20 Worlds Weird & Strange Species

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1. Komodo Dragon, Indonesia
The Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis), also known as the Komodo monitor, is a large species of lizard found in the Indonesian islands of Komodo,Rinca, Flores, Gili Motang and Padar. A member of the monitor lizard family (Varanidae), it is the largest living species of lizard, growing to a maximum length of 3 metres (10 ft) in rare cases and weighing up to around 70 kilograms (150 lb). Their unusual size has been attributed to island gigantism, since there are no other carnivorous animals to fill the niche on the islands where they live.

2. Ghost Bat, Honduras
For the Central and South American bat sometimes known as the ghost bat, see Northern Ghost Bat.The Ghost Bat (Macroderma gigas), also known as the False Vampire Bat is a batendemic to Australia, named for the extremely thin membrane of its wings that makes it appear ghostly at night. Ghost Bats have grey fur on their backs and pale grey or white fur on their undersides. They have long, narrow wings but no tail, averaging 11 cm in length.Females are generally smaller than males. The adaptations of the ghost bats: They have large ears for long distance hearing, and very sharp teeth so they can attack prey.The Ghost Bat is the only carnivorous bat in Australia and is also one of the largestmicrobats in the world. It is largely insectivorous but will also consume frogs, lizards, and other small animals, including other bats.

3. Red panda, China
The red panda (Ailurus fulgens, or shining-cat), is a small arboreal mammal native to the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China. It is the only extant species of the genusAilurus. Slightly larger than a domestic cat, it has reddish-brown fur, a long, shaggy tail, and a waddling gait due to its shorter front legs the head and body length of red pandas measures 50 to 64 cm (20 to 25 in), and their tail is 28 to 59 cm (11 to 23 in). Males weigh 3.7 to 6.2 kg (8.2 to 14 lb) and females 3 to 6.0 kg (6.6 to 13 lb). It feeds mainly on bamboo, but isomnivorous and may also eat eggs, birds, insects, and small mammals. It is a solitary animal, mainly active from dusk to dawn, and is largely sedentary during the day.

4. Aye Aye, Madagaskar
The aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis) is a lemur, a strepsirrhine primate native to Madagascar that combines rodent-like teeth and a special thin middle finger to fill the same ecological niche as a woodpecker. It is the world's largest nocturnal primate, and is characterized by its unusual method of finding food; it taps on trees to find grubs, then gnaws holes in the wood using its forward slanting incisors to create a small hole in which it inserts its narrow middle finger to pull the grubs out. The only other animal species known to find food in this way is the striped possum. From an ecological point of view the aye-aye fills the niche of a woodpecker, as it is capable of penetrating wood to extract the invertebrates within.

5. Kagu, New Caledonia
The Kagu or Cagou (Rhynochetos jubatus) is a crested, long-legged, and bluish-grey bird endemic to the dense mountain forests of New Caledonia. It is the only surviving member of the genus Rhynochetos and the family Rhynochetidae, although a second species has been described from the fossil record. Measuring 55 cm (22 in) in length, it has pale grey plumage and bright red legs. Its 'nasal corns' are a unique feature not shared with any other bird. Almost flightless, it a spends its time on or near the ground, where it hunts its invertebrate prey, and builds a nest of sticks on the forest floor. Both parents share incubation of single egg, as well as rearing the chick. It has proved vulnerable to introduced predators, and is threatened with extinction.

6. Alpaca, South American
An alpaca (Vicugna pacos) is a domesticated species of South American camelid. It resembles a small llama in appearance.Alpacas are kept in herds that graze on the level heights of the Andes of southernPeru, northern Bolivia, Ecuador, and northern Chile at an altitude of 3,500 m (11,500 ft) to 5,000 m (16,000 ft) above sea level, throughout the year. Alpacas are considerably smaller than llamas, and unlike llamas, they were not bred to be beasts of burden, but were bred specifically for their fiber. Alpaca fiber is used for making knitted and woven items, similar to wool. These items include blankets, sweaters, hats, gloves, scarves, a wide variety of textiles and ponchos in South America, and sweaters, socks, coats and bedding in other parts of the world. The fiber comes in more than 52 natural colors as classified in Peru, 12 as classified in Australia and 16 as classified in the United States

7. Tarsier, Asia
Tarsiers are haplorrhine primates of the family Tarsiidae, which is itself the lone extant family within the infraorder Tarsiiformes. Although the group was once more widespread, all the species living today are found in the islands of Southeast Asia.Tarsiers are small animals with enormous eyes; each eyeball is approximately 16 mm in diameter and is as large as its entire brain. Tarsiers also have very long hind limbs, due mostly to the extremely elongated tarsus bones of the feet, from which the animals get their name. The head and body range from 10 to 15 cm in length, but the hind limbs are about twice this long (including the feet), and they also have a slender tail from 20 to 25 cm long. Their fingers are also elongated, with the third finger being about the same length as the upper arm. Most of the digits have nails, but the second and third toes of the hind feet bear claws instead, which are used for grooming. Tarsiers have very soft, velvety fur, which is generally buff, beige, or ochre in color.

8. Angora Rabbit, Turkey
The Angora rabbit (Turkish: Ankara tavşanı) is a variety of domestic rabbit bred for its long, soft wool. The Angora is one of the oldest types of domestic rabbit, originating in Ankara(historically known as Angora), Turkey, along with the Angora cat and Angora goat. The rabbits were popular pets with French royalty in the mid 18th century, and spread to other parts of Europe by the end of the century. They first appeared in the United States in the early 20th century. They are bred largely for their long Angora wool, which may be removed by shearing, combing, or plucking. There are many individual breeds of Angora rabbits, four of which are recognized by ARBA; English, French, Giant, and Satin. Other breeds include German, Chinese, Swiss, and Finnish.

9. Leafy seadragon, Australia
The leafy seadragon or Glauert's seadragon, Phycodurus eques, is a marine fishin the family Syngnathidae, which also includes the seahorses. It is the only member of the genus Phycodurus. It is found along the southern and western coasts of Australia. The name is derived from the appearance, with long leaf-like protrusions coming from all over the body. These protrusions are not used for propulsion; they serve only ascamouflage. The leafy seadragon propels itself by means of a pectoral fin on the ridge of its neck and a dorsal fin on its back closer to the tail end. These small fins are almost completely transparent and difficult to see as they undulate minutely to move the creature sedately through the water, completing the illusion of floating seaweed.Popularly known as "leafies", they are the marine emblem of the state of South Australia and a focus for local marine conservation.

10. Frigate Island Beetle, Frigate Island
Frigate Island beetle (Polposipus herculeanus) is a flightless, nocturnal species of beetle in family Tenebrionidae. It is endemic to Seychelles. It grows to be about 20-30 mm long, and is the largest beetle in the Tenebrionidae family. It has a hard, rounded abdomen covered with tubercles. When in danger, chemicals will secrete from the defensive glands in the posterior of the beetle, which have a musky smell and stains the skin purple. They live under the bark of trees and bushes, and come out at night to eat.Put anything in a place where it’s hot and wet 99% of the time, and it will grow. Whether it’s a fern, a vine or a dear-Jeebus-that’s-horrifying beetle, things just come bigger in the tropics. The seriously endangered and geographically unique Frigate Island Beetle is no exception. It’s the largest of the tenebrionid beetles and the most at risk.

11. Mexican Walking Fish, Mexico
Mexican Walking Fish (Axolotl) ( /ˈæksəlɒtəl/; etymol. náhuatl axolotl — "water monster"), Ambystoma mexicanum, is a neotenic salamander, closely related to the Tiger Salamander. Larvae of this species fail to undergo metamorphosis, so the adults remain aquatic and gilled. It is also called ajolote (which is also a common name for different types ofsalamander). The species originates from numerous lakes, such as Lake Xochimilcounderlying Mexico City. Axolotls are used extensively in scientific research due to their ability to regenerate limbs.A sexually mature adult axolotl, at age 18–24 months, ranges in length from 15–45 cm (6–18 in), although a size close to 23 cm (9 in) is most common and greater than 30 cm (12 in) is rare. Axolotls possess features typical of salamander larvae, including external gills and a caudal fin extending from behind the head to the vent.

12. Dumbo Octopus, Deep Sea
The octopuses of the genus Grimpoteuthis are also known as Dumbo octopuses from the ear-like fins protruding from the top of their head-like bodies, resembling the ears of Walt Disney's flying elephant Dumbo. They are bathyal creatures, living at extreme depths of 3,000 to 4,000 metres (9,800 to 13,000 ft), with some living up to 7,000 metres (23,000 ft) below sea level, which is the deepest of any known octopus. They are some of the rarest of the Octopoda species. They can flush the transparent layer of their skin at will, and are pelagic animals, as with all other cirrate octopuses. The largest Dumbo octopus ever recorded was 6 feet (1.8 m) in length and weighed 13 pounds (5.9 kg), although the normal size for the various species is thought to be smaller.

13. Pygmy Marmoset, South American
The pygmy marmoset or dwarf monkey (Cebuella pygmaea) is a quadrupedal New World monkey native to the rainforest understories of western Brazil, southeasternColombia, eastern Ecuador, eastern Peru, and northern Bolivia, with an altitudinal range of 200 to 940 m. It is most common in river edge forests, but also can be found in secondary forest and moderately disturbed forestmarmosets, most of which are classified in the generaCallithrix and Micoown genus, Cebuella within the familyCallitrichidae.zoos, they live into their early twenties.

14. Yeti Crab, East Scotia Ridge
Yeti crab (Kiwa) is a genus of marine decapods living at deep-sea hydrothermal vents and cold seeps. The animals are commonly referred to as "yeti lobsters" or "yeti crabs". The genus is placed in its own family, Kiwaidae, and superfamily, Kiwaoidea.Two species have been described: Kiwa hirsuta discovered in 2005,and Kiwa puravida, discovered in 2006. A third species, known colloquially as the "Hoff crab", has been discovered on the East Scotia Ridge, but is as yet undescribed. although analysis ofmitochondrial and nuclear rDNA markers confirm that it is genetically distinct from K. hirsuta. The same data suggest a divergence time for the two species of 12 million years ago In 2011 a very similar morph to the one collected at the East Scotia RidgeSouth West Indian Ridge.

15. Weta, New Zealand
Weta is the name given to about 70 insect species endemic to New Zealand. There are many similar species around the world, though most are in the southern hemisphere. The name comes from the Māori word 'wētā' and is the same in the plural (like 'sheep'). The Māori word for the giant weta is 'wētā punga' (lumpy or jointed weta) Many weta are large by insect standards and some species are among the largest and heaviest in the world able to fly. Their physical appearance is like a katydid or long-horned grasshopper or a cricket, but the hind legs are enlarged and usually very spiny. Many are wingless. Because they can cope with variations in temperature, weta are found in a variety of environments including alpine, forests, grasslands, caves, shrub lands and urban gardens. They are nocturnal and all New Zealand species are flightless. Different species have different diets. Most weta are predators or omnivores preying on other invertebrates, but the tree and giant weta eat mostly lichens, leaves, flowers, seed-heads and fruit.

16. Lord Howe Island Stick Insect, Australia
Dryococelus australis, commonly known as the Lord Howe Island stick insect or tree lobster, is a species of stick insect which lives on the Lord Howe Island Group. It was thought to be extinct by 1930, only to be rediscovered in 2001 (this phenomenon is known as the Lazarus effect). It is extinct in its largest habitat, Lord Howe Island, and has been called "the rarest insect in the world", as the rediscovered population consisted of 24 individuals living on the small islet of Ball's Pyramid.Adult Lord Howe Island stick insects can measure up to 15 centimetres (5.9 in) in length and weigh 25 grams (0.88 oz), with females bigger than males. They are oblong in shape and have sturdy legs. Males have thicker thighs than females. Unlike most phasmids, the insects have no wings, but are able to run quickly.

17. Chinese Giant Salamander, China
The Chinese giant salamander (Andrias davidianus) is the largest salamander in the world, reaching a length of 180 cm (6 ft), although it rarely – if ever – reaches that size today. Endemic to rocky mountain streams and lakes in China, it is consideredcritically endangered due to habitat loss, pollution, and over-collecting, as it is considered a delicacy and used in folk medicine. Records from Taiwan may be the results of introductions. It has been listed as one of the top-10 "focal species" in 2008 by the Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE) project.

18. Goliath Bird Eating Spider, South America
The goliath birdeater spider (Theraphosa blondi) is an arachnid belonging to the tarantulagroup, Theraphosidae. It is considered to be the second largest spider in the world (by leg-span it is second to the giant huntsman spider), and it may be the largest by mass.The spider gets its name from reports of explorers from the Victorian era, who witnessed one eating a hummingbird.Females always mate, but sometimes may end up eating their mates. Females mature in 3 to 4 years and have an average life span of 15 to 25 years. Males die soon after maturity and have a lifespan of three to six years. Colors range from dark to light brown with faint markings on the legs. Birdeaters have hair on their bodies, abdomens, and legs. The female lays anywhere from 100 to 200 eggs, which hatch into spiderlings within two months.Theraphosa blondi is native to the rain forest regions of northern South America. Wild goliath birdeaters are a deep-burrowing species, found commonly in marshy or swampy areas, usually living in burrows that they have dug or which have been abandoned by other burrowing creatures.

19. Giant Coconut Crab, Indian & Pacific Ocean
The coconut crab, Birgus latro, is a species of terrestrial hermit crab, also known as therobber crab or palm thief. It is the largest land-living arthropod in the world, and is probably at the upper size limit of terrestrial animals with exoskeletons in today's atmosphere at a weight of up to 4.1 kg (9.0 lb). It is found on islands across the Indian Ocean and parts of the Pacific Ocean as far east as the Gambier Islands, mirroring the distribution of the coconut palm; it has been extirpated from most areas with a significant human population, including mainland Australia and Madagascar.The coconut crab is the only species of the genus Birgus, and is related to the terrestrial hermit crabs of the genus Coenobita. It shows a number of adaptations to life on land. Like hermit crabs, juvenile coconut crabs use empty gastropod shells for protection, but the adults develop a tough exoskeleton on their abdomen and stop carrying a shell. Coconut crabs have evolved organs known as "branchiostegal lungs", which are used instead of the vestigial gills for breathing.

20. Glass frog, Central America
Glass Frog (Glassfrogs) is the common name for the frogs of the amphibian family Centrolenidae (order Anura). While the general background coloration of most glass frogs is primarily lime green, the abdominal skin of some members of this family is transparent. The internal viscera, including the heart, liver, and gastrointestinal tract are visible through this translucent skin, hence the common name.The family Centrolenidae was proposed by Edward H. Taylor in 1951. Between the 1950s and 1970s, most species of glass frogs were known from Central America, particularly fromCosta Rica and Panama, where E. H. Taylor and Jay M. Savage extensively worked, and just a few species were known to occur in South America. In 1973, John D. Lynch and William E. Duellman, published a large revision of the glass frogs from Ecuador showing that the species richness of Centrolenidae was particularly concentrated in the Andes. Later contributions by authors like Juan Rivero, Jay Savage, William Duellman, John D. Lynch, Pedro Ruiz-Carranza and José Ayarzagüena increased the number of described taxa especially from Central America, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru.

Source, Wikipedia.

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