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rhamphotheca:

We’re Only Just Starting To Understand The Miracle Of Hagfish Slime

by Robert T. Gonzalez

The incredible properties of hagfish slime have fascinated scientists for decades, but researchers are only just beginning to make sense of this mucilaginous secretion. In doing so, they hope to create superfibers that could one day be used in everything from bullet-proof vests to artificial tendons.

The hagfish is not a looker. The eel – to which the hagfish is not directly related but often compared, on account of its elongated body – is an attractive animal, by comparison. When I look at a hagfish, the phrase “naked zombie-skin tubesock” inevitably comes to mind.

Apart from being aggressively ugly, the hagfish is widely known for being an evolutionarily ancient fish that has changed very little over the last 300-million years (a fact that could explain why it’s the only animal known to have a skull but no backbone), its repulsive feeding habits, and for its ability to exude a fibrous slime from its body when it is agitated or threatened…

(read more: io9 - BioMimicry)

images from the Vancouver Aquarium

(via molluscamanifesto)

dragonsupremacy:

The red-bellied black snake (Pseudechis porphyriacus) is a species of elapid snake native to eastern Australia. Though its venom is capable of causing significant morbidity, a bite from it is not generally fatal and is less venomous than other deadly Australian snakes. It is common in woodlands, forests, and swamplands of eastern Australia. It is one of Australia’s best-known snakes, as it is common in urban areas along the eastern coast of Australia. It has an average total length of 1.5 to 2 metres.

This is generally not an aggressive species. However, when provoked, it will recoil into its striking stance as a threat, but will try to escape at the first opportunity. It is most active by day. When not hunting or basking it may be found beneath timber, rocks, and rubbish or down holes and burrows.

The diet of red-bellied black snakes primarily consists of frogs, but it also preys on reptiles and small mammals. They also eat other snakes, including those of their own species. [Wikipedia]

(Photo credits: Stephen Mahony, Matt Clancy, Aussie Pythons, Australian Geographic)

(via molluscamanifesto)

The pigbutt worm or flying buttocks(Chaetopterus pugaporcinus) is a newly discovered species of worm found by scientists at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. The worm is round in shape, approximately the size of a hazelnut, and bears a strong resemblance to a disembodied pair of buttocks. Because of this, it was given a Latin species name that roughly translates to “resembling a pig’s rear.”

The worm has been recently observed residing just below the oxygen minimum zonebetween 900 and 1,200 metres (3,000 to 4,000 feet) deep — even when the sea floor is significantly deeper. The worms have also been observed floating with their mouths surrounded by a cloud of mucus. Current theories suggest that they reside in this area of the ocean because of its cornucopia of detritus and marine snow, and that the worms use these mucus clouds to capture particles of food and “snow.”

Source: wikipedia.com

mentalguy:

One of the earliest land predators, velvet worms (phylum Onychophora) are little-changed since their ancestors emerged from the sea more than four hundred million years ago. Blind, except for the simple light receptors found in some species, they are nocturnal ambush predators. Their soft and jointless bodies help them move silently as they feel their way across the forest floor. When they encounter prey, they immediately spray it with adhesive slime to immobilize it. Then, they press their mouthparts to it and begin the laborious process of feeding. Lacking a stomach, velvet worms must slowly pulp their living food using the combined action of their mandibles and secreted digestive enzymes. Rings of powerful muscles convey the partially-digested slurry to the worm’s rudimentary digestive tract.

(Images via Bio-Morphosis)

Velvet worms

Poisonous vs. Venomous Animals

Poison is usually released from skin and is absorbed or ingested by the victim.

Venom is delivered or injected through a stinger, harpoon, fangs, and the like.

examples:

Pitohui - poisonous (skin and feathers)

Newt - poisonous (skin)

Frog - poisonous (skin)

Cone snail - venomous (harpoon)

Platypus - venomous (spurs on hind legs)

Viper - venomous (fangs)