Monday, June 27, 2011

Snail meets worm

"Oh look at those snails they're so sl..." -
Another time we can be happy that an animal is quite small.

[via Nerdcore]
Looks like it is a Powelliphanta snail which favorite prey are earthworms. Gotta love such a sweetie.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Craziest animals of the world: Diplozoon paradoxum (2)

Today I have something pretty small for you:
Diplozoon paradoxum

It's a small (ca. 7mm) parasitic Flatworm (Plathelminthes), that lives parasiticly on gills of small fish and eats their blood.
Nothing real special so far, I have to admit.

But now have a look at the picture again. Noticed anything? It's symmetric! And that is the point of this animal: It's actually two animals. And that is not a coincidence, this animal exists in its grown up form only pairwise. When a larvae comes out of her egg, it lives in a free swimming form for a while and then sticks herself to a gill of a fish. If another Diplozoon comes around they start to mature and grow together, if not it will never reach the adult form.

When grown up, the two animals stay together for the rest of their life and continuously fertilize each other. In doing so their genitalia merge, allowing only the sperm of their partner to reach their oocytes. Thus they are the only known completly monogam species.

Isn't that romantic?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Deer eating grass ... and a bird ?

If you always thought deers are cute:
It shouldn't be so surprising, but Bambi suddenly doesn't seem so cute anymore.


Monday, May 2, 2011

Craziest animals of the world: Aye-aye (1)

Have you ever seen this cute little animal:
Aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis) 2By Tom Junek ("own work") [CC-BY-SA-3.0  ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

It's called Aye-aye or, as a biologist would say, Daubentonia madagascariensis. It's living in Madagascar and belongs to the order of the Primates. "And what's so special about a freaking monkey?", I hear you say. And I say wait for it.

... and that's how all of the chemicals got discovered.

Great thread over there at reddit:
TIL Splenda (sucralose) was discovered when a scientist accidentally misheard "test this chemical" as "taste this chemical" 

And that's not all: 

"Cyclamate was discovered in 1937 ... Sveda was working in the lab ... He put his cigarette down on the lab bench, and, when he put it back in his mouth, he discovered the sweet taste of cyclamate." "The sweet taste of saccharin was discovered when Fahlberg noticed a sweet taste on his hand one evening, and connected this with the compound which he had been working on that day."
"He accidentally discovered its sweet taste when he licked his finger, which had become contaminated with aspartame, to lift up a piece of paper."
TL;DR: All modern artificial sweeteners were discovered through dangerously careless chemists licking their fingers.
Of course, nowadays it would be unthinkable for a chemist to lick his fingers, but I once heard of a student few years ago that tasted a level teaspoon of the chemical he should analyse. 
After being asked how he got the idea he showed a book from around 1890 which said that you can identify some chemicals (e.g. Acetate or Ammonium) by their taste. Luckily the advisor hadn't given him something really dangerous, but anyways he was quite shocked by that behavior.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Spider attacks ant ... and gets attacked

Saw this great video a few days ago. Pretty much amazing how fast these little spiders can move, but obviously not fast enough.

Spider attack from Ahmet Ozkan on Vimeo.

But in my opinion in this video filming technique is equally important, because the small field and the huge zoom factor gives you an completely unusual impression of those small animals - I love it!

Here's another video of the artist:

Hunger of An Armadillo Officinalis from Ahmet Ozkan on Vimeo.

And again it's great to see so much details of such tiny animals. I'm never going to say that woodlice are boring again.