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Creatures & Monsters, Real & Imagined

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Re: Creatures & Monsters, Real & Imagined

Postby sdsichero » Thu Jun 09, 2011 6:19 pm

http://news.discovery.com/animals/diving-bell-spider-bubble-110609.html

Diving Bell Spider Uses Bubble Like Gills
The spiders are named for their underwater webs which they fill with air in order to breathe.
Thu Jun 9, 2011 12:48 PM ET
Content provided by Branwen Morgan, ABC Science Online


THE GIST
* Diving bell spiders use bubbles to breathe underwater.
* Research shows the bubble acts like a gill, extracting dissolved oxygen from the water and dispersing carbon dioxide.

An enduring bubble of air inside an underwater silk sack allows one species of spider to remain underwater for hours at a time, according to a new study.

In fact, the bubble is so efficient it allows spider to live virtually its whole life under water.

Professor Roger Seymour of the University of Adelaide says that the diving bell spider (Argyroneta aquatica) creates a submerged oxygen store, five to ten centimeters below the surface and can "stay down for more than a day while resting."

The study, which is published in The Journal of Experimental Biology, overturns previous research that suggests the spiders need to return to the surface every 20 to 40 minutes.

Air-breathing aquatic insects, including other species of spider, carry a bubble of air from the surface down with them. But this usually contains enough oxygen to last for several minutes. But, by virtue of its 'diving bell', the diving bell spider is capable of remaining under water for most of the winter.

A. aquatica makes its diving bell by spinning an open-bottomed dome-shaped silk cocoon between the fronds of pond plants. It then fills it with a single air bubble that, according to Seymour, can be "as big as your ring fingernail."

The size of the bell is highly variable, sometimes only admitting entrance of the spider's abdomen. Female diving bell spiders tend to make larger diving bells that can be further enlarged according to need, such as to accommodate eggs or prey. They also enlarge the bell when the oxygen levels in the water drops.

Seymour, along with German colleague Dr Stefan Hetz of Humboldt University, set out to determine the effectiveness of the spider's diving bell by measuring oxygen levels within the bell and surrounding water.

"The bubble inside actually protrudes out between the fibers of the web, so it's a naked air-water interface," said Seymour. "This also gives the spider its name (Argyroneta), which means silvery net. The bubbles look like silver balls that are held under the water."

The scientists used oxygen-sensitive fiber optic probes to calculate the gas volume of the diving bell and the level of gas exchange occurring between the bell and the surrounding water. They also measured the spider's oxygen consumption.

"[We found] up to eight times the amount of oxygen can go from the water into the bubble from what was initially present," said Seymour.

Indeed, the diving bell functions as a very effective physical gill as opposed to an anatomical gill. And, because the diving bell spider lives a quiet sedentary life, its oxygen requirements are easily met -even in extreme conditions of warm stagnant water.

But, without supplements of fresh air, the bubble eventually shrinks as the nitrogen gas diffuses back into the water. Thus, the spiders need to make a daily dash to the surface to collect a replenishing bubble.

"They need to come up to the surface to get this little bubble to reintroduce into the bell," said Seymour.

It's carried down on the spider's abdomen and rear legs. Once inside the bell, the new bubble fuses with the underwater air supply.

"Being able to stay still for so long, without having to go to the surface to renew the air bubble, protects the spiders from predators and also keeps them hidden from potential prey that comes near," said Seymour.

He speculates the spiders may build their diving bells at night for this reason.

But Seymour adds that the Eurasian-dwelling spiders are become increasingly scarce.

"In Germany, they are popular with aquaticists because they are so interesting in their behavior. This may be one of the reasons they are becoming harder to find."

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Re: Creatures & Monsters, Real & Imagined

Postby sdsichero » Sun Jul 03, 2011 2:46 am

http://amazingnotes.com/2011/03/21/world-10-biggest-insects/titan-beetle/

Titan beetle
Posted By Andri On 21 Mar 2011.

Titan beetle (Titanus giganteus). This longhorn beetle (family Cerambycidae) is one of the largest insect species in the world. Adult insects can grow to about 20 centimetres in length (excluding antennae). They defend themselves against predators by using their sharp spines and strong jaws. The titan beetle typically lives in the rain forests of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, the Guianas, and north-central Brazil. Photographed in Petit-Saut, French Guiana.


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From different pages...

Moths often attack me, flying directly on my face/eyes. I would scream in terror if the Atlas moth (Attacus atlas) did that.

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I think I'd freak out at the Tailless Cave Whip Scorpion (Amblypygid) too...

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Re: Creatures & Monsters, Real & Imagined

Postby sdsichero » Thu Jul 28, 2011 4:05 pm

Okay this isn't a creature... maybe a monster? I mean there are plants in the D&D Monster Manual...

http://news.discovery.com/earth/acoustic-leaves-bats-pollinators-110728.html

HEAR MY NECTAR! DISH-SHAPED LEAVES ATTRACT BATS
A vine beckons bat pollinators by emitting a strong acoustic echo that helps the bats find their nectar.
By Jessica Marshall
Thu Jul 28, 2011 02:00 PM ET

THE GIST
• A vine from the forests of Cuba attracts pollinating bats using a dish shaped leaf that acts as an acoustic beacon.
• The shape of the leaf creates echoes so it stands out to echolocating bats.
• The structure halves the time it takes bats to find the food source and therefore pollinate the vines.

It's the acoustic version of a bright, showy flower: A Cuban vine attracts pollinating bats to its nectar not with color, but by posting a dish-shaped leaf over its flowers. The leaf reflects sounds in ways that draw the attention of echolocating bats, according research published today in Science.

The hemispherically shaped leaves halve the time it takes for bats to find nectar, compared to the flat leaves that line the rest of the vine, according to the researcher's experiments.

"That means that the flower will receive twice as many visits and the bat will take half as long to find the flower," said study author Marc Holderied of the University of Bristol, UK. "It's a win-win situation, really, just by displaying this special peculiarly shaped leaf in association with nectar."

"What is particularly amazing about this story is that it has so much analogy to pollination by visually oriented pollinators such as bees and birds. These visit flowers that are we are so familiar with, nice and colorful," Holderied said. "But color doesn't work at night in the rainforest and particularly it doesn't work for an echolocating pollinator."

The leaf acts like an acoustic beacon for the bats, creating intense echoes that sound the same from many directions. This makes them stand out from the rest of the plants in the bats' environment, including the vine's other leaves.

The researchers first saw the vine, Marcgravia evenia, in a natural history magazine. "When we saw this picture, it immediately struck us that evolution had been a step ahead of us again by using a hollow hemisphere reflector to attract bat pollinators," Holderied said.

The researchers began the process of going to Cuba, collecting the leaves and making accurate molds of them so that they could test the shape, independent of any scent or color cues, in attracting bats.

The team trained bats to look for food in tiny nectar feeders against a wall covered with a grid of model leaves. Sometimes they put the feeders behind a flat leaf, sometimes behind a curved leaf, and sometimes unassociated with a leaf.

They released a bat and timed how long it took to find the food source. A flat leaf did not help bats find the nectar faster, but the hemispheric leaf models halved the search time compared with no leaf or flat leaves.

"They used 'naive' bats that have never been exposed to these flowers or leaves previously, and the fact that these bats found them attractive shows it's not a previously learned behavior," noted Nathan Muchhala of the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.

"These are the nocturnal analog of bright leaves used to attract visually-oriented pollinators," he said.

Muchhala agrees, and the thinks they might be in the form of acoustically adapted petals. "Bat flowers tend to have thick, waxy petals that I'm sure have evolved to reflect echoes a certain way," he said.

"I'm absolutely certain we will find more amazing acoustic adaptation in floral signaling," Holderied concluded.

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Re: Creatures & Monsters, Real & Imagined

Postby sdsichero » Tue Sep 20, 2011 11:09 am

A dinosaur that Strict could like...

Newfound Raptor Dinosaur Had 'Switchblade' Killing Claws

Battle damage linked to the fearsome curving talon of a newly discovered dinosaur relative of Velociraptor is shedding light on how it was used as a weapon, scientists find.

This research also adds to the mysterious complexity seen in the lost continent where this fossil was found, researchers added.

The newfound 75-million-year-old dinosaur is a feathered raptor named Talos sampsoni — "Talos" in homage to a winged bronze giant in Greek mythology that could run at lightning speed and that succumbed to a wound to his ankle, "sampsoni" in honor of Scott Sampson of the PBS series "Dinosaur Train," and a research curator at the Utah Museum of Natural History.


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Re: Creatures & Monsters, Real & Imagined

Postby Strict31 » Tue Sep 20, 2011 11:39 am

sdsichero wrote:A dinosaur that Strict could like...

Newfound Raptor Dinosaur Had 'Switchblade' Killing Claws



Image


"Our data support the idea that the talon of raptor dinosaurs was not used for purposes as mundane as walking," Zanno said. "It was an instrument meant for inflicting damage."

Well, no shit, fuckface. Of course they were used to cut a damn fool dinosaur who started tripping.

That's like saying the teeth of a great white shark apparently were not used to aid in mundane things like communication, but are an instrument for biting the shit out of things.
Image

"You must be proud, bold, pleasant, resolute,
And now and then stab, as occasion serves."


Edward II: Act 2 Scene 1, by Christopher Marlowe

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Re: Creatures & Monsters, Real & Imagined

Postby sdsichero » Thu Sep 22, 2011 8:01 pm

Strict31 wrote:
"Our data support the idea that the talon of raptor dinosaurs was not used for purposes as mundane as walking," Zanno said. "It was an instrument meant for inflicting damage."

Well, no shit, fuckface. Of course they were used to cut a damn fool dinosaur who started tripping.

That's like saying the teeth of a great white shark apparently were not used to aid in mundane things like communication, but are an instrument for biting the shit out of things.


Still the eggheads need to research it. Perhaps those raptors actually used those talons to attract mates. They painted them and put little gems on em?

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Re: Creatures & Monsters, Real & Imagined

Postby sdsichero » Sat Sep 24, 2011 3:33 pm

Unprecedented Role Reversal: Ground Beetle Larvae Lure Amphibians and Prey Upon Them

According to the researchers, larvae of the genus Epomis combine a sit-and-wait strategy with unique movements of their antennae and mouthparts to draw the attention of an amphibian (frogs and toads were used in the study). As the amphibian, thinking it has spotted potential prey, comes closer, the larva increases the intensity of these enticing motions. Then, when the amphibian attacks, the larva almost always manages to avoid the predator's tongue and uses its unique double-hooked mouthparts to attach itself to the amphibian's body and initiate feeding, which can include both sucking of bodily fluids and chewing body tissues, usually killing the much larger amphibian.



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Re: Creatures & Monsters, Real & Imagined

Postby sdsichero » Sat Sep 24, 2011 3:50 pm

Heh.

CROCODILE TURNS BRIGHT ORANGE

But it's not really a fashion statement. It's a result of attacking the water filter of his enclosure at Roaming Reptiles animal park in Australia.


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Re: Creatures & Monsters, Real & Imagined

Postby sdsichero » Mon Oct 10, 2011 5:12 pm

Not about creatures but what the hell. I've heard/read two stories about fungus in the news recently so will include them...

In our local paper (which makes you pay for some content, lame), some guy was writing about the Aseroe rubra aka. Starfish/Anemone stinkhorn fungus. Sounded pretty gross. This guy agrees:

http://www.blufftontoday.com/bluffton-news/2011-05-25/starfish-fungi-causes-stink

Shocking, vile, outrageous, repellent, bizarre, or just plain “gross” — take your pick of any number of adjectives for this thing. The scientific name may be translated as “disgusting” and “red.”

Of course, it is not a plant at all, but a fungus. This week’s mystery may not be a plant, but it is still mysterious. (At one time, all organisms on earth were presumed to be either plant or animal, but considerable scientific research has modified this scheme to include other groups. Although they are not true plants, the study of fungi remains a component of botany.)

Our fungus is one of the fascinating members of the “stinkhorn” group, which are related to familiar mushrooms and puffballs. All of the stinkhorns are characterized by producing a strong odor at the time their spores are shed, and this one is no exception.


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The other fungus that interested me I heard about on NPR. No, I don't care if it is supposed to be like viagra, just thought the whole process of what it does to its host that was interesting...

http://www.npr.org/2011/10/09/141164173/caterpillar-fungus-the-viagra-of-the-himalayas

In the produce aisle at your local grocery story, button mushrooms go for about $4 a pound, Shitakes cost about twice that, and black truffles can run $800 a pound.

But that's nothing compared to a rare Asian fungus that sells for $50,000 a pound.

In English, it's called caterpillar fungus. But it's better known throughout Asia by the Tibetan term, yartsa gunbu, which means "summer grass, winter worm."

Britt Bunyard, a professor at the University of Wisconsin and editor of Fungi Magazine, explains that this fungi (Cordyceps Sinensis) makes its living by getting inside a host insect and ultimately killing and consuming it. In this case, the insect that's invaded is the caterpillar of the ghost moth.

"This caterpillar will bury itself down a couple inches into the soil. Meanwhile it doesn't know it, but this fungus is digesting it from within and then in the spring this ... tissue erupts out the head."

It may sound gross, but he says this pinky-sized mummified caterpillar is the most expensive fungi in the world.

"The price doesn't compare to other fungi; the price compares to things like gold and platinum and diamonds."

So what makes it so pricy? Well, it's also known as the Viagra of the Himalayas.


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Re: Creatures & Monsters, Real & Imagined

Postby sdsichero » Mon Oct 31, 2011 5:46 pm

Happy Halloween!

We've already seen a post about a cyclops fish on this site... Now we see a three-eyed fish...

]url=http://news.discovery.com/earth/simpsons-blinky-three-eyed-fish-caught-near-nuke-plant-111031.html]Bart's Blinky? Three-eyed Fish Raises Nuke Fears[/url]

¡Ay Caramba! A three-eyed fish was caught in a reservoir in Argentina, reported Cadena 3, an Argentine news service.

The fishing hole where the mutant fish was caught may be more of a fission hole. The reservoir, named “Chorro de Agua Caliente,” receives water from a nuclear plant in the province of Córdoba.


Five Argentine fisherman's "woo-hoos" turned to "d'ohs" when the wolf fish (Hoplias malabaricus) they pulled into their boat looked back at them with three eyes.


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Re: Creatures & Monsters, Real & Imagined

Postby Miracloman » Wed Nov 02, 2011 11:45 am

The Giant Squid.

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video here
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Strict31 wrote:Curse you!

You've escaped from the trap that has always captured coyle and bender!!!

There will be another day, Miracloman! Another day!!!!

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Re: Creatures & Monsters, Real & Imagined

Postby sdsichero » Wed Nov 02, 2011 12:07 pm

Miracloman wrote:The Giant Squid.

Image

video here


Cool, one of my favorite creatures.

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Re: Creatures & Monsters, Real & Imagined

Postby Miracloman » Wed Nov 02, 2011 1:13 pm

sdsichero wrote:
Cool, one of my favorite creatures.


And yet it still have a larger relative, the Colossal Squid.
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Strict31 wrote:Curse you!

You've escaped from the trap that has always captured coyle and bender!!!

There will be another day, Miracloman! Another day!!!!

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Re: Creatures & Monsters, Real & Imagined

Postby sdsichero » Wed Nov 02, 2011 3:12 pm

Miracloman wrote:
And yet it still have a larger relative, the Colossal Squid.


Awesome.

Maybe not as big but check out the giant oarfish

Image

I like octopi too but they clock in smaller. The largest is the Giant Pacific Octopus at around 9m (Colossal is said to be 14m)...

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Re: Creatures & Monsters, Real & Imagined

Postby sdsichero » Thu Nov 03, 2011 5:01 pm

'Zombie' Worms Found in Mediterranean Fossil

Traces of bizarre, bone-eating 'zombie' worms have been found on a 3-million-year-old fossil whale bone from Tuscany in Italy. It is the first time the genus Osedax has been found in the Mediterranean, and suggests Osedax were widespread throughout the world's oceans 6 million years ago.


Worms from the Osedax genus do not have a mouth or gut but consume the bone by growing root-like tissues, which dissolve the bone as they grow.

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