Weird animal features – Part 5

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Nature holds many secrets. And we're here for you to help you discover all of them and have you inspired by mother nature for all of your artistic endavours! This is already part 5 of the series, and I welcome you to read the other ones too. They'll be there for you right at the bottom of this article!

Hi! My name is Tessa, I’m a Dutch artist, specializing in wildlife and creature designs. I love to share my passion for nature, art and fantasy, and do that by creating this archive and community, alongside my company Tez Art & Design.

Table of Contents (Click to (un)fold)

Slowing aging

One of the most remarkable natural occurrences, one of the biblical proportions is the phenomenon called ‘the periodical cicada emergence’ happens only once every 17 years, this depends on the species.
The larva lives underground for up to 17 years and will all come out at once, climb the nearby trees and brushes where they will molt, and become a fully grown cicada. The males emerge first, followed by the females a few days later.
It’s unknown why they spend so much time underground and it’s also unknown what triggers them to all come out at once in a span of a few days. It might be a change in the roots they live from or some other natural occurrence. Their timing is even more important because they only live a few weeks. They have very limited time to make sure they pass on their genes, which will only see the light of day again after 17 years.

There is a lot known about this interesting phenomenon, but there’s just as much unknown. If you want to witness this phenomenon yourself, you’d have to wait a little longer. The last emergence was in 2021, So it will take until 2038 before it will happen again.

Immortal jellyfish

Have you heard of the Immortal Jellyfish? Also known as Turritopsis Dohrnii. This fairly normal-looking jellyfish is known for well, not dying. There is very little on this planet that can actually kill this thing. It’s not age, nor being partially eaten. No, it has to be kept in an environment it absolutely cannot survive in, or has to be eaten whole.

This pretty thing can generate itself, or, if it’s too much injured, will revert back to a polyp stage. And in case you didn’t know: This polyp stage is basically a stalk connected to a hard surface like a rock. And it’s not just that one specific jellyfish that will come pop out of there. No, jellyfish can clone themselves, and when they do, they don’t stop at one clone. A stalk can easily hold 10 clones.

Curious? I know I was when I first heard of this jellyfish. It is in fact the first article I wrote here on Life to Legend. So have fun reading!
And there is more. The whole life cycle of jellyfish is remarkably interesting.

Moon-triggered mass spawning

Who doesn’t love coral reefs? They are our lifeblood, Without them, life cannot exist on earth as we know it. They may be stationary, but they are animals. A weird kind, for sure, but still they are animals. Something you would consider to be one coral is in fact a whole colony of creatures that work together to survive and expand.

Just like cicada’s they have a curious reproduction cycle. They don’t wait 17 years to spawn, but they do wait for the full moon to come out the first time after rising water temperatures allowed the gametes (reproductive organs) of the corals to mature.

There are no words for this phenomenon. I hope to be able to someday witness it myself, but in the meantime, you and I will have to make do with this wonderful video of a full moon spawning!

Bio-electricity detection

We know that sharks are legendary hunters. We also know that they can detect movement even when the prey is not in sight. They do so with the Ampullae of Lorenzini. Many fish have these ampullae, but sharks are so large that we can even see them with the naked eye. Sharks have big pores around their nose, mouth, head, and the length of their bodies. Within these pores are translucent tubes, called the Ampullae of Lorenzini, the guy that discovered their use.

Creatures with these Ampullae are sensitive to bio-electricity. Bio-electricity is produced by any living creature and spikes whenever it moves. Cells and tissues communicate through ion fluxes which in turn allow the organism to move. But they also create a wave of bio-electricity that can be sensed by the Ampullae of Lorenzini.

This feature seems to work the best underwater. After all, water conducts better than air. Thats why we see mostly aquatic creatures with these ampullae. But imagine an evolved version of the same thing in a predatory land creature from the depths of your mind, and see where that will get you!

Pink Fairy Armadillo

Hmm, well… Did you ever see one? This creature needs no words!
The Pink Fairy armadillo is a nocturnal creature that primarily lives from insects. It’s up to 15 cm tall (6 in) and has a fur-covered body with a pink shell on its back, head, and nose. The butt is covered in a shell as well, but not before breaking free from the back shell and allowing some hairs to come through. The armor serves as protection. When the armadillo is threatened it can curl up in a little ball to stay safe. The butt armor though is perfectly fit for flattening and compressing dirt behind it while digging.

Its paws are gigantic, perfect for digging. Its head is small, perfect for streamlining when digging through sand. And unlike any other animal on this planet, its armor is completely separated from its body. It’s only attached with a thin membrane which helps it to stay put and allows blood vessels to run through.

Oh, and lets add the tail to the list. This pink 5th ‘leg’ has little to no use until it starts digging. When all other limbs are busy working their way into the ground, the tail holds strong and helps to keep the creature stable.

More on weird animal features

Want to learn more? This article is part of a series and has more related articles.

Weird animal features – Part 1
Weird animal features – Part 2
Weird animal features – Part 3
Weird animal features – Part 4
8 Strange sea creatures you likely didn’t know exist – LtL (lifetolegend.com)
Fantastic specialization of living organisms – LtL (lifetolegend.com)

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