Habitat: Northwest Pacific: northern Japan and Gulf of PoHai to Peter the Great Bay
Status: Not Evaluated
Would you take a look at the face on this guy? Truly only a mug that a mother could love… well, and me. But I’m just weird so don’t really take that into account. This is a Fringed Blenny (Chirolophis japonicus) that was expertly photographed by Alexander Semenov, a marine biologist who graduated from Lomonosov’s Moscow State University in the department of Zoology in 2007, he currently works at White Sea Biological Station (WSBS). You can check out more of his outstanding work here, here, and here.
This particular creature reminds me of an animal embodiment of Hemingway’s famous novel. Also with a hint of Gandalf the Great thrown in for good measure.
Habitat: deep sea; specimen has been collected in the Tropical Eastern Pacific
Status: Not Evaluated
This bizarre species of fish is known as Prince Axel’s Wonder Fish (Thaumatichthys axeli). They are found at extreme depths, with specimens being recorded at over 11,700 feet deep (in the abyssal zone)! Because of this, very little is known about the species. The only specimens caught were around19 inches in length, though no one really knows just how big these fish can get.
Like other species of anglerfish, Prince Axel’s Wonder Fish has a special distinctive forked light organ inside their mouth, which they use to lure prey. They also possess large, curved teeth that “fringe the upper jaw like a comb”.
The fish was first discovered during the Galathea expedition of 1950-1952. Anton Bruun described it as “unquestionably the strangest catch of the Galathea Expedition, and altogether one of the oddest creatures in the teeming variety of the fish world.”
The fish was given its name as a tribute to Prince Axel of Denmark. Because really, what better way to honor a prince than to name a freaky looking fish after him? I know I would be more than pleased. “Here ye, here ye! Cupcakes for all!”
Normally when you think of a lobster, a big red crustacean comes to mind (at least for me). I’d like to replace that image with this species of gorgeous squat lobster, Galathea pilosa. The intricate patterns and colors on this little guy are simply amazing. It’s got to be one of the most beautiful lobster species on the planet!
Habitat: Sydney Basin of New South Wales
Status: Not Evaluated
This cryptic creature is the Broad-tailed Gecko or Southern Leaf-tailed Gecko (Phyllurus platurus). It truly is a master of disguise – and deception. First of all, it will lay perfectly flat on the bark of a tree to camouflage itself when not hunting. With it’s big, leafy-looking tail, the gecko blends in perfectly. Its tail is used for extra fat storage and also as a useful defense mechanism. You see, when and if the lizard feels threatened, it has the ability to detach its tail to confuse predators. It will regenerate later on, though the color and details will be entirely different from the original body. Here’s a photo of a detached tail being used as a decoy:
Interesting, isn’t it? Southern Leaf-tailed Geckos grow up to 80mm in length, which isn’t that large as evidenced by the photo showing a coin in comparison. They are apparently pretty easy to keep as pets, too, so you may see them in your local reptile shop (if it’s cool enough to carry these weird guys!).
This hairy little beast is called (as it very well should be) a Hairy Crab (Pilumnus vespertilio). And this thing doesn’t look like it just stepped out of the hair dressers in Beverly Hills. Oh no, more like it had been stranded on a desert island without a good pair of clippers for a decade. Personally, I think it kind of looks like Chewbacca in crab form. But that’s just me.
Some people refer to them as the “teddy bear” of crabs since they do look so cute and fluffy when they fluff up in the water. When taken out, their hairs all stick to their carapace, making them look more like something the cat dragged in:
So what exactly do those hairs come in handy for? I mean, other than making it look perfectly fabulous in the billowing currents, the hairs trap sediments allowing the crab to blend perfectly with its surroundings. When ‘fluffed’ in the water, this also helps to break up the crab’s actual outline so that predators can’t really tell where the seaweed-like hair starts and the crab begins. They reach anywhere between 3-5cm in length.
I’d like to find one some day and cuddle the crustacean right out of it. tehe.
These caterpillars of the genus Arsenura are probably some of the weirdest caterpillars I’ve seen in a while (I know, I always say that… but I just keep topping myself!!). These caterpillars in the photos above are, I believe, different species from one another, though all of them are definitely within the genus Arsenura. They might even be instars of the same species… honestly, I have no idea.
I just know that they are really, really, weird-looking. I believe that the projections on the caterpillars are to mimic a fungal infection because, after all, what predator wants to eat a meal laden with a very unpalatable fungus? Come to think of it, it might even be mimicking a Ophiocordyceps fungi…you know, the type that turns ants into living, breathing zombies? Ya, if they’re mimicking fungus then they definitely are weird caterpillars alright. “Look Ma! I’m Fungi!”