The Eastern Eyed Click Beetle has two large eyespots on their pronotum (fancy way of saying on the top of their head), which look like two supersized eyes
This beetle is renowned for the click sounds its makes when it defends from predators or simply wishes to flip upright (yep, their method of clicking will actually help flip over)
There are six related species of click beetles in the US, of which the Eastern Eyed Click Beetle can be recognized by its black white and grey colors, as well as large black eyespots
The Eastern Eyed Click Beetle is mostly encountered in all the American states east of the Great Plains and up north into Canada.
A Beetle that Knows how to Click
The Eastern Eyed Click Beetle is a quite interesting and eye catching insect both because it is pretty large (longer than an inch) and has those beautiful pair of eyes adorning the back of its head. Don’t get deceived, though, these are not the real eyes of the beetle. Believe it or not, it’s not the eyes of the beetle that really catch people’s attention.
It is their behavior when they feel threatened. It simply drops onto his back and plays dead until the predator gives up and goes on their own way. Once the threat is over, the Click Beetle will produce a loud clicking sound by snapping the first section of its thorax in the second section of the thorax. This way, the beetle manages to jump up and flip into the air and get back on its two feet in no time.
A Crop Friendly Insect
Although it is a larger insect that you can often time encounter in your vegetable garden or lawn, stay assured that this eyed beetle is not a threat to your crop. Apart from most of their close relatives, the Eastern Eyed Click Beetle is actually a friend of your garden, where usually you’ll be able to spot it in pruned trees. Just let it get on with his journey and simply enjoy a beautiful and unique insect making his way through your lovely garden.
Have you ever eaten an animal that can glow in the dark?
I will give you a hint, if you are a fan of sushi, you have probably tried the delicious Japanese Freshwater Eel, also known as Unagi on most menus. Believe it or not, researchers have discovered that this tasty morsel contains a fluorescent protein that shines bright green when you place them under a blue light. We will get into the purpose of this neon green protein in a second but first, let’s learn a little more about the Japanese Freshwater Eel.
Cool Facts About the Japanese Freshwater Eel (Unagi)
Although this eel spawns in the ocean they spend a good portion of their lie hanging out in freshwater systems – how about that, they get the best of both worlds
The Japanese Freshwater Eel is not the flashiest eel in the sea with their plain greyish-green colouring. You would think they are a rather boring eel, until you check out their proteins with a blue light.
Besides Japan, this eel can also be found hanging around Taiwan, China, Korea and the Northern Philippines
Glows in the Dark AND Saves Lives?!?
Okay, so what about this fluorescent green protein? How is it formed? What does it do? These are all excellent questions so lets start with the how this protein is designed. This unique protein and believe me, it is incredibly unique, is created in the muscle fibres of the eel. Researchers says this protein is unlike any other glow in the dark protein found in animals such as Jellyfish, microbes and corals. It has a lot of unique properties including the ability to help save human lives. You can find more on how the Unagi is saving lives by checking out the article at The-Scientist.com.
Photo by Opencage (Wikipedia)
The Traveling Eel
Great, so it is incredibly unique and only found in the Japanese Freshwater Eel. That is awesome but why do they need it? Interestingly enough, the eels didn’t reveal their secret when we first asked them, however, we were able to create a solid hypothesis. Well, I guess it is more of a basic theory. They believe that it has something to do with the eels’ incredibly long spawning migration when they leave the freshwater rivers and head to the ocean. Perhaps it acts as a night light? If you have any guesses as to what this glow in the dark protein can be used for, why not leave it in the comments below, or leave a message on Facebook. We would love to hear your thoughts.
The newly discovered spider, Mysmena wawuensis, is so incredibly new that these tiny spiders don’t even have a common name yet. Just how new are they? Well, the journal describing this spider species (and another that was found with them) was published May 21, 2013. Yeah, that is about 3 weeks ago. I told you they were newly discovered.
Cool Facts About The Mysmena wawuensis
This particular spider and it’s friend, Trogloneta yuensis, were discovered in the Sichuan and Chongqing regions of China.
These wonderful spiders tend to live in the leaf litter and/or in caves. Interestingly enough, they were actually discovered near the Giant Panda sanctuary – I guess everyone was so distracted with the Pandas that they never thought to look down
The scientific name, Mysmena wawuensis, was named after the Wawu Mountains National Forest Park – the place they call home
What Took So Long To Discover The Mysmena wawuensis?
So how in the world did researchers miss this spider for so long? I mean, sure they were probably admiring the cute Panda Bears doing their thing but you have to get bored of watching them at some point, right. Actually, you probably wouldn’t but still, how could it take this long?
What if I told you that the Mysmena wawuensis has an average length of 0.75 mm (0.02″) and normally hangs out in the crevices of caves. This would definitely add to the difficulty of finding these incredibly tiny creatures. As a side note, isn’t it nice knowing that these new spiders are so small? It is way better than learning that researchers just discovered a 4 foot spider (for the record, a 4 foot spider does not exist…at least not that I know of).
How Do You Find a Miniature Spider?
My next question is how did they even discover this crazy small spider? Well, according to an arachnologist at Naturalis Biodiversity Center in the Netherlands, Jeremy Miller, “the best way to find these tiny spiders is to look for their webs”. He goes on to mention that you can dust the area with corn starch as the starch will stick to the tiny spider web filaments making it much easier to notice. How about that? We now have a tactic for identifying minature spider webs. Now don’t go spending all of your free time looking for miniature spiders such as the Mysmena wawuensis.
Called Hyla versicolor in Latin,these small arboreal frogs have the ability to camouflage itself by shifting colors from grey to green and vice versa
To be certain you’ve spotted a Grey Treefrog you need to take a look at their hind legs. What are you looking for? Bright-yellow patches on the inside of their legs, which they use to confuse any potential predators
Once winter rolls around the Grey Treefrog hides beneath logs, leaves and dirt to stay warm. They produce an anti-freeze like gel that prevents freezing called glycerol, so even though 40% of their bodies freezes, they keep on kicking
The Life of a Small Arboreal Frog
As you may have figured, by being arboreal, the Grey Treefrog lives most of its life way up in the trees; however, when it comes time for mating, they will saunter down from the trees and head to the water below. If you are planning to observe these interesting little treefrogs, you will want to head over to the eastern United States or southeastern Canada. Of course, they live in forested areas where there is a permanent source of water near by. During summertime they head for the moist environments while in winter they hibernate underground.
Oh and if you visit in the summer, you will need to plan a night trip as this wonderful amphibian is nocturnal, meaning that it’s working on late night shifts hunting down small insects, spiders, snails and mites. The Grey Treefrog can be recognized by its particular shrills that can last up to a second and repeat every 3-4 seconds in a very drummer-like manner. I guess even the Grey Treefrog dreams of being a rockstar.
A Master of Camouflage
These small but intelligent frogs have developed their own method for staying away from dangerous predators, which include skunks, opossums, raccoons, and sneaky snakes. Still, we’re not talking about just any frog here, but the mighty Grey Treefrog, an amphibian that has managed to shift colours from grey to green and even almost black in order to camouflage themselves and stay safe.
In other words, the Grey Treefrog has the ability to make themselves practically invisible. This is a good thing too, since they are only between 3.18 cm (1.25″) and 5.22 cm (2″) in length so you had better have a special skill developed in order to get by.
This beautiful pigeon’s name comes from Queen’s Victoria of England as a commemoration of the former queen
Victoria Crowned Pigeon is the largest ground-dwelling pigeon in the world weighing up to 3.5 kg (7.7 lb) and reaching 80 cm (31 in) in length
In the wild, this majestic looking bird can easily be recognized by the deep ‘whooping’ sounds it produces when calling
Is has a unique ability to produce milk for their youngster, also called ‘crop milk’, with which both parents feed their young in the first few days of life
The Life and Story of a Beautiful Bird
Although they seem too beautiful to sit with only one life partner, the Victoria Crowned pigeon is a monogamous species of bird. Naturally the males use their blue-gray colouring with maroon tones to entice their life-long partner to choose them. If this doesn’t work, they can always rely on what they are most recognized for – its beautifully adorned crest with white tipped feathers and red eyes. If you are looking to catch a glimpse of this stunning pigeon, they will need to hop on the next plane to New Guinea. Okay, you can wait until the one leaving tomorrow but you should hurry as this pigeon may not be around forever.
Beauty that Kills
One of the most beautifully adorned species of bird on the face of the Earth, the Victoria Crowned pigeons have dropped in numbers over the past decades as a result of their habitat areas diminishing in size due to logging. Other issues for this beautiful bird include live trapping as some continue to trap these birds down and keep them in captivity, although is now illegal to do so. Why do they want to have a pet pigeon? Mainly because they make an attractive addition to their home.
Unfortunately the Victoria Crowned Pigeon has been listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species as vulnerable, but this is the harsh reality. As one could say, it’s not that good to be so beautiful because in the end beauty may turn against you and be your biggest enemy. Hopefully, in time, people will understand the true value of nature and will come to praise and respect animals as they should. Until then, let’s hope that these beautiful birds won’t make the first page on the history books of extinct species.
There are more than 20,000 species of Darkling Beetle scattered throughout the planet, so chances are you have one living near you. While they are common in many different habitats, they seem to be best suited for the arid regions of the planet. You will see why in a second but first let’s take a look at a few interesting facts.
Cool Facts About The Darkling Beetle
Another name for this abundant and divers insect is the Darkening Beetle – sure it sounds the same but it is different.
Believe it or not the Darkling Beetle is impressively fast. In fact, they have been clocked at around 4 km/hr (2.5 mph), which just might make them the fastest beetle on the planet.
These beetles do not need to drink water. How do they quench their thirst after all that running? They simply produce water metabolically. Just think how much easier it would be if we could do that – you would never have to worry about getting your 7 glasses of water a day.
Why Is the Darkling Beetle in Such a Rush?
You might be thinking that the Darkling Beetle must have some pretty vicious enemies if it needs to run up to 4 km/hr. Well, while this beetle does need to be on the lookout for sunspiders, birds, rodents and lizards, their fast running skills are used for something else.
Photo by Hans Hillewaert – Wikipedia
Do you know what it is?
Go ahead, take a guess.
If you guessed that it helps them stay cool in the hot desert sun then you are 100% correct.
Wait a minute? Running helps them stay cool? Obviously you have never seen me run – I sweat more than any normal man should, so how does it keep them cool.
Well, when you are cruising around at a whopping 4 km/hr, you create a wonderful breeze that blows through your hair (or in the case of the beetle through their antennae). The wind they generate actually cools down their body to a normal temperature. So while many of us run for pleasure or to get in shape, the Darkling Beetle does his morning jog to stay cool and luckily for them, they don’t need to drag around a water bottle – lucky little beetle.
The Sarcastic Fringehead is like no other fish in the sea..although, I guess that can be said about most bizarre fish species. As you will soon find out, these odd-looking fish are incredibly ferocious and extremely territorial, so I would think twice before moving into their neighbourhood.
Cool Facts About The Sarcastic Fringehead
The “Fringehead” part of their name is a result of the small appendages above their eyes. The “Sarcastic” portion of their name obviously relates to their style of humour. Okay, I am just kidding. The word “sarcastic” can also mean “to tear apart”, so the naming people were actually referring to their aggressive behaviour.
If you are on the hunt for the Sarcastic Fringehead, you will need to head to the Pacific coast of North America, specifically off the coast of California.
Although, these scaleless fish, which can grow up to 30 cm (12 inches) in length, look similar to an eel, they are indeed fish.
A Rough Neighbourhood
As alluded to in the opening paragraph, you don’t want to encroach on this fishes territory. If they feel threatened by you, these fish will not simply shy away in the corner. They will come out with their large mouths opened wide in an effort to intimidate you. Against other fish species, this tactic usually works since their mouth is so gigantic that it makes the Sarcastic Fringehead look much larger than they actually are.
If this intimidation tactic doesn’t scare off their intruder the large-mouthed fish will begin attacking more ferociously. Typically, they are stubborn animals and won’t give up until the intruder leaves. As you can see in the video below there has to be a winner in every argument. These two Sarcastic Fringeheads are living a little too close for comfort and as such a battle of mouths ensues. Enjoy the video and if you have any comments or questions, please don’t hesitate to leave them below (or to jump on Facebook and get into the conversation over there).
Although their name might imply these chickens originated in Poland, in fact the country of origin for the Silver Polish Chicken is the Netherlands
Unlike most chickens, you can’t rely on these ones to provide you with eggs as they rarely lay them; however, when they do they lay beautiful tiny, white eggs
The Silver Polish Chicken is only one variation of the Polish breed, among which you’ll find the Silver Laced Polish, Golden Laced, White Laced Red, Buff Laced and many others
A Silver Polish’s Appearance
Have you’ve ever wondered how a Polish Chicken keeps its amazing feather comb without any hairdresser intervention? What do you mean, you haven’t thought about this? It keeps me up all the time. Well, we are still going to take a second to learn how they do it. As mentioned, this chicken has a protuberance on top of their skull that makes them look as though they have a giant head. The large crests cover their skulls and adorn their appearance even more, so when you look at a Silver Polish Chicken you only see glitz and glam. I think we can all agree that the Polish Chicken is probably one of the most unique looking and beautiful chicken breeds on the planet.
A Beautiful Pet
As we have mentioned, the Silver Polish Chicken is a very beautifully adorned chicken with an amazing feathery hat on its head and amazing motley plumage that decorates its body. Not only are they beautiful but they are quite popular as “pets”.
Why would you want a Silver Polish Chicken? There are several good reason why. Some buy them for their beauty appearance, as a way to embellish their yards, others want to breed them as a hobby and some raise a Polish to participate at bird exhibitions.
You should be warned that although they are quite friendly and make great pets, the Silver Polish Chicken is known for acting “crazy” at times. What causes this? Funny enough, it is the same thing that makes them so beautiful. Quite frequently, the plumage of this bird will cover their eyes causing them to panic. So while some think these birds are acting crazy, in reality they are just scared because the lights went out. If you keep the lights on, you will have a beautiful pet that will love you forever.
When it comes to wooing the opposite sex, the Satin Bowerbird is a rockstar. The medium-sized males are known for building and decorating a fancy bower (a decorative structure, which they will eventually use to build a nest). If a nice home wasn’t good enough, this particular Bowerbird will dance around it to entice the female to pick him. More on the courtship behaviour in a second but first let’s learn a few other cool things about this interesting bird.
Cool Facts About The Satin Bowerbird
If you want to catch a glimpse of the dancing bowerbird then you will need to be on a plane for Australia as these guys can only be found in the rain forests of eastern Australia,
It is hard to believe these beautiful birds need to go through the trouble of building a fancy nest and dancing like a fool just to get the attention of an attractive female. I thought they would just use their stunning blue eyes and metallic looking feathers to entice their mate, but this doesn’t appear to be the case
During the mating season, the Satin Bowerbird fuels their nest building and dancing by feasting on a variety of insects, however, once the winter months roll around, these birds cut the meat part out of their diet and focus solely on vegetation
Male Bowerbird Building a Nest
Courting in 3 Easy Steps
When it comes to mate selection, the female Satin Bowerbird has to be one of the pickiest animals out there. Before the lady bowerbird selects a mating partner she goes through a three step process.
The female visits the bower before the nest is build and while the male is away
Visits the bower again. The nests still aren’t built but the males are present and strutting this time around
One final inspection of the bower which now has a nest and a showboating bird. This time the female will select her mate and begin the breeding process
While it seems like a lot of work just to get a date, you have to remember that the Satin Bowerbird doesn’t have the the luxury of trying online dating. Besides, this seems to work quite well, however, I am a little worried that they are just attracting shallow females only interested in a fancy bower.
Let’s play a little mind game before we get into today’s Wild Fact.
What is the first thing that comes to mind when I say Giant Centipede? For me it was a variety of words such as deadly, disgusting and terrifying. Did you have something similar?
Now what pops into your head when I say Grasshopper Mouse? This time around words such as fluffy, soft and cuddly came up in my mind.
So what was the purpose of this little mind game? As you will soon see, it is to never judge a book by its cover. In fact, this is exactly the type of thing that gets the Giant Centipede into trouble.
The Terrifying Grasshopper Mouse
As I alluded to earlier, the Grasshopper Mouse is indeed a cute and cuddly creature, however, underneath that fluffiness is the heart of a kung-fu legend. Many predators, including the incredibly poisonous Giant Centipede, have tried to take down this little unsuspecting mammal. Unfortunately for them they don’t realize that this mouse has the quickness of a ninja and unusually powerful bite, regardless of how tiny their mouths are.
The Fate of a Predator
When a predator walks onto the Grasshopper Mouse territory, the tiny rodent will let out a high pitched howl before commencing battle. Already, the little mouse is trying to instil fear into their opponent with their patented battle cry. Once the fight begins, the mouse uses their speed and agility to avoid the predators advances and sneak for quick biting attacks of their own. Incredibly, this mouse appears to also be a gymnast at heart as they will do back flips, cartwheels and variety of other tricky manoeuvres to avoid becoming dinner.
You know what, I think a video is in order. You definitely need to see the action for yourself, so take a minute and enjoy the short clip below.\
Nature never seems to stop amazing me. This small, “helpless” mammal may be one of the toughest opponents out there. The perfect example as to why you should never judge a book by its cover. A lesson we should all remember, so we don’t end up like the Giant Centipede.
Welcome to my ongoing project to provide you with 1000 Animal Facts. Every week-day I will provide a new and interesting animal fact counting down from 1000. My goal is to hopefully educate the young and old alike about the interesting adaptations of the animal kingdom. As well, I am hoping people will gain a greater appreciation of the animals we share earth with. If you have any questions, please feel free to use the Contact form or leave a comment.