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What is this creature?

What is this creature?


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Since it has six legs, I believe it's some sort of insect, but I could be wrong.

I spotted it in my Central Texas backyard (Austin area). It was very slow and not at all skittish.

For size reference, it's standing on a 2x4. It was a good 3-5 inches long, not counting antennae.


Walkingsticks, like that in your photo, belong to the insect order Phasmida (also sometimes called Phasmatodea). The species in your photo belongs to the family Pseudophasmatidae. Texas has two species documented for this family. One is Anisomorpha ferruginea, commonly called the dark walkingstick or northern two-striped walkingstick. The other species is Anisomorpha buprestoides, commonly called Florida stick insect or two-striped walkingstick.

According to W.S. Blatchley's Orthoptera of Northeastern America (1920), pg. 145, A. ferruginea has narrow stripes and is a bit shorter than A. buprestoides, which has broad stripes. Based on the appearance of the stripes in your photo, I'd say you have A. buprestroides.


Scientists say this tiny creature survived 24,000 years in a frozen state

Scientists are hailing the discovery of tiny animals that were able to be revived and even reproduced after being in a frozen state for some 24,000 years.

Researcher say microscopic multicellular animals known as bdelloid rotifers survived after 24,000 in frozen state.

Previous studies have shown the microscopic multicellular animals known as bdelloid rotifers are highly resilient organisms that can survive up to ten years in extremely low temperatures.

Now scientists in Russia have found just how resilient rotifers are, after recovering the creatures in permafrost from northeastern Siberia and then reviving the organism in a laboratory. Using radiocarbon-dating, it was determined that the rotifers were about 24,000 years old.

"This constitutes the longest reported case of rotifer survival in a frozen state," researchers said in the study published in the journal Current Biology. "Our discovery is of interest not only for evolutionary biology but also for practical purposes of cryobiology and biotechnology." 

Lateral view of arctic rotifer, which scientists said survived after 24,00 years in a frozen state.

Scientists followed the process of slow freezing and thawing in the recovery of the ancient rotifer and found that the animals have "effective biochemical mechanisms" to shield their cells and organs from damaging ice crystals, allowing for survival at low temperatures.

Researchers also found that once thawed, the rotifers underwent asexual reproduction through a clonal process known as parthenogenesis. 

"Our report is the hardest proof as of today that multicellular animals could withstand tens of thousands of years in cryptobiosis, the state of almost completely arrested metabolism," said Stas Malavin of the Soil Cryology Laboratory at the Institute of Physicochemical and Biological Problems in Soil Science in Pushchino, Russia.

Researchers noted that while the findings were a major breakthrough, it&aposs highly unlikely that more complex and larger life forms could survive in similar conditions.

"The takeaway is that a multicellular organism can be frozen and stored as such for thousands of years and then return back to life--a dream of many fiction writers," Malavin said. "Of course, the more complex the organism, the trickier it is to preserve it alive frozen and, for mammals, it&aposs not currently possible. Yet, moving from a single-celled organism to an organism with a gut and brain, though microscopic, is a big step forward."


Zoology > What's This? Colorful Creatures

Why did colorful organisms evolve? Discover some of the amazing ways that animals use color to help them survive.

Look closely at this mystery photo.
Can you guess what it is?

a forest viewed from above

tiny plants floating on a pond

a lizard hiding among vines on a tree

an insect hiding among moss and lichen

ANSWER: an insect hiding among moss and lichen

Explore the photo gallery below to see how some animals use color for everything from hiding to hunting to finding mates.

Ever wonder why so many insects are green? If you’re a delicious, defenseless insect like this katydid (Championica montana), it pays not to get noticed. And green animals are harder to spot on green plants!

Animals often use color to hide from predators. In this case, both the color and shape of the katydid make it look like the moss and lichen around it. Blending in with the background is called camouflage , and it can help keep the katydid from getting eaten.

Nature isn’t all green leaves. Many animals blend in with different color backgrounds. For example, brown is a common color for tree trunks and dry or decaying plants. And the ocean floor is often full of colorful corals.

Can you find the camouflaged animals here?

The owl moth, scorpion fish, and snipe all use camouflage to help them survive. Their color, pattern, and texture help them blend into their environments.

Sometimes it’s better NOT to blend in with the background. Many animals use eye-catching colors to scare off predators. Ladybugs, for example, contain chemicals that birds dislike. Once predators learn to associate this bad taste with the color red, they avoid eating ladybugs.

But don’t be fooled… Not all bright-colored animals are poisonous. For some, the color is a bluff: they evolved to look toxic, even though they aren’t. This is actually a picture of a non-toxic cockroach (Prosoplecta) that looks like a toxic ladybug! Looking like something you’re not is called mimicry.

Color is not just used to hide from hunters. Predators also use color to help them hunt.

The orchid mantis is an insect that tricks its victims by mimicking a harmless flower. Its color and shape attract insects that come seeking nectar, only to be seized and eaten.

Colors also help some animals, like the fan-throated lizard, recognize their own species for mating.

During breeding season, a male lizard will try to attract female attention. First it climbs to higher ground and arches its back upwards. Then it displays its dewlap, a fan-shaped fold of skin on its throat, by puffing it out into a colorful fan.

Countless creatures all across the tree of life use color for courtship.

Reptiles, mammals, insects, fish, and birds evolved bright colors that announce who they are, and how healthy they are, to potential mates.


This deep-sea creature is long-armed, bristling with teeth, and the sole survivor of 180 million years of evolution

Credit: C. Harding/Museums Victoria, Author provided

Let me introduce you to Ophiojura, a bizarre deep-sea animal found in 2011 by scientists from the French Natural History Museum, while trawling the summit of a secluded seamount called Banc Durand, 500 meters below the waves and 200 kilometers east of New Caledonia in the southwest Pacific Ocean.

Ophiojura is a type of brittle star, which are distant cousins of starfish, with snake-like arms radiating from their bodies, that live on sea floors around the globe.

Being an expert in deep-sea animals, I knew at a glance that this one was special when I first saw it in 2015. The eight arms, each 10 centimeters long and armed with rows of hooks and spines. And the teeth! A microscopic scan revealed bristling rows of sharp teeth lining every jaw, which I reckon are used to snare and shred its prey.

As my colleagues and I now report in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Ophiojura does indeed represent a totally unique and previously undescribed type of animal. It is one of a kind—the last known species of an ancient lineage, like the coelacanth or the tuatara.

We compared DNA from a range of different marine species, and concluded that Ophiojura is separated from its nearest living brittle star relatives by about 180 million years of evolution. This means their most recent common ancestor lived during the Triassic or early Jurassic period, when dinosaurs were just getting going.

Bristling teeth poke out from all eight jaws, ready to pierce and shred prey. The colour in this micro-CT scan reflects the density of the skeleton. Credit: J. Black/University of Melbourne, Author provided

Since then, Ophiojura's ancestors continued to evolve, leading ultimately to the situation today, in which it is the only known survivor from an evolutionary lineage stretching back 180 million years.

Amazingly, we have found small fossil bones that look similar to our new species in Jurassic (180 million-year-old) rocks from northern France, which is further evidence of their ancient origin.

Scientists used to call animals like Ophiojura "living fossils", but this isn't quite right. Living organisms don't stay frozen in time for millions of years without changing at all. The ancestors of Ophiojura would have continued evolving, in admittedly very subtle ways, over the past 180 million years.

Perhaps a more accurate way to describe these evolutionary loners is with the term "paleo-endemics"—representatives of a formerly widespread branch of life that is now restricted to just a few small areas and maybe just a single solitary species.

For seafloor life, the center of paleo-endemism is on continental margins and seamounts in tropical waters between 200 meters and 1,000 meters deep. This is where we find the "relicts" of ancient marine life—species that have persisted in a relatively primitive form for millions of years.

Seamounts, like the one on which Ophiojura was found, are usually submerged volcanoes that were born millions of years ago. Lava oozes or belches from vents in the seafloor, continually adding layers of basalt rock to the volcano's summit like layers of icing on a cake. The volcano can eventually rise above the sea surface, forming an island volcano such as those in Hawaii, sometimes with coral reefs circling its shoreline.

But eventually the volcano dies, the rock chills, and the heavy basalt causes the seamount to sink into the relatively soft oceanic crust. Given enough time, the seamount will subside hundreds or even thousands of meters below sea level and gradually become covered again in deep-sea fauna. Its sunlit past is remembered in rock as a layer of fossilized reef animals around the summit.

While our new species is from the southwest Pacific, seamounts occur worldwide and we are just beginning to explore those in other oceans. In July and August, I will lead a 45-day voyage of exploration on Australia's oceanic research vessel, the RV Investigator, to seamounts around Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Islands in the eastern Indian Ocean.

These seamounts are ancient—up to 100 million years old—and almost totally unexplored. We are truly excited at what we may find.

Life on a seamount. Feather stars and brittle stars have evolved multiple arms to reach up into passing currents. Credit: S. Samadi/MNHN/KANADEEP2, Author provided

Seamounts are special places in the deep-sea world. Currents swirl around them, bringing nutrients from the depths or trapping plankton from above, which feeds the growth of spectacular fan corals, sea whips, and glass sponges. These in turn host numerous other deep-sea animals. But these fascinating communities are vulnerable to human activities such as deep-sea trawling and mining for precious minerals.

The Australian government recently announced a process to create new marine parks in the Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) regions. Our voyage will provide the data required to manage these parks into the future.

The New Caledonian government has also created a marine park in offshore areas around these islands, including the Durand seamount. These marine parks are beacons of progress in the global drive for better environmental stewardship of our oceans. Who knows what weird and wonderful treasures of the deep are yet to be discovered.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.


What is the workplace of a Marine Biologist like?

Oceanography centres, laboratories, aquariums, research boats and vessels are some of the possibilities for field workplaces. It would not be unusual to find a marine biology graduate working in a tide pool, a swamp, a mangrove forest, a coral reef, or any place on earth that supports marine life. Travel to interesting places is one of the possible perks for a career in marine biology.

Laboratory work could involve working directly with the federal government, or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), or on behalf of a university's research program. Virtually every body of salt water on the planet is being studied by marine biologists, from the Caribbean seas to the arctic ocean. Nonprofit organizations are also a major employer for marine biology graduates since they fund studies and research projects for commercial products. Drug companies conduct marine research as well, as marine life is often at the cutting edge of research.


Materials & Methods

The goal of this project for classes in general zoology is to test the students’ knowledge of animal taxonomy, which they would have been taught prior to the project’s implementation. The students are instructed to go to the Alien Species Wiki (2013) website (http://aliens.wikia.com), which is an online database of creatures from science fiction across various forms of media. There are currently >1000 species on the site. Although they represent the different biological kingdoms, casual observation will reveal that a majority of the species are animals. The class locates the animals in the list for the purpose of classification. When I handled two zoology classes with an average class size of 27 students, I assigned alien species whose names begin with A to M to one class and the rest to the other class. Each class then divided the total number fairly evenly among themselves.

The final output for the project consists of a table showing the classifications made (Table 2) and a pie graph illustrating the distribution of species among the recognized animal phyla. The table should include the following information: (1) the name of the species (2) the source material (i.e., book, film, television show, etc.) (3) the speculated classification (down to the taxonomic level of phylum, at least) (4) a justification for the classification and (5) the name of the student who classified each animal. The pie graph is generated to show which phylum is most heavily represented in the database. Although this database is nowhere near complete, the trends seen here could be a good indication of what animal phylum is depicted most often in the science fiction genre.

Some examples of tables constructed by students.

Alien’s Name . Source . Phylum . Subphylum/Class . Justification .
(1) Hanonian Land Eel Star TrekArthropoda Myriapoda “They have jointed appendages and thorax covered with thick outer shell like exoskeleton for protection. Though they appear like big worms, they have legs.”
(2) Aganof Star WarsEchinodermata Asteroidea “Has tube feet used for walking the characteristics (having no head and eyes, having radial symmetry and a lot of arms)”
(3) Venom Cannon Warhammer 20kArthropoda “Has visible pharyngeal slits, with cranium, jaw and paired appendages have endoskeleton and exoskeleton have spiracles and specialized jointed appendages mandibulate with specialized mouthparts”
(4) Spawn of Cthulhu At the Mountains of MadnessMollusca Cephalopoda “Head looks like an octopus”
Alien’s Name . Source . Phylum . Subphylum/Class . Justification .
(1) Hanonian Land Eel Star TrekArthropoda Myriapoda “They have jointed appendages and thorax covered with thick outer shell like exoskeleton for protection. Though they appear like big worms, they have legs.”
(2) Aganof Star WarsEchinodermata Asteroidea “Has tube feet used for walking the characteristics (having no head and eyes, having radial symmetry and a lot of arms)”
(3) Venom Cannon Warhammer 20kArthropoda “Has visible pharyngeal slits, with cranium, jaw and paired appendages have endoskeleton and exoskeleton have spiracles and specialized jointed appendages mandibulate with specialized mouthparts”
(4) Spawn of Cthulhu At the Mountains of MadnessMollusca Cephalopoda “Head looks like an octopus”

Of the 1298 animal species that my two classes worked on, 900 (69.3%) belong to phylum Chordata, and virtually all of these are of the subphylum Vertebrata (Craniata) 207 (15.9%) are arthropods and 76 (5.9%) are molluscs. Interestingly, these are the three largest animal phyla in terms of number of species (Hickman et al., 2006). The remaining 8.9% of animals belong to eight other major invertebrate phyla, particularly Cnidaria (33, 2.5%) and Echinodermata (20, 1.5%), or are otherwise unclassified (9, 0.7%) because of overly confounding morphologies. A question that could be asked the students as a final synthesis point is why most species in science fiction are chordates or arthropods. That humanoid vertebrates are staples of science fiction is understandable because of our easier association with such species and the lower cost of portraying them in film or television (Csicsery-Ronay, 2007).


Leafy sea slugs

Elysia chlorotica.
Credit: Karen N. Pelletreau/Wikimedia, CC BY

Chlorophyll is the green pigment in plant cells that enables photosynthesis to happen, and is one of the defining traits of plants. But some animals use a very clever trick: they steal those solar-powered factories and use them to their benefit, a process aptly named kleptoplasty.

The gorgeous sea slug Elysia chlorotica was once described as “a leaf that crawls”. They can borrow chloroplasts from its algal snacks, sucking them with a structure that pretty much looks like a straw, pushing the concept of veganism to the limit. These sea slugs have specialised cells that can keep those chloroplasts for months. What’s more, they also use the stolen chlorophyll for camouflage. The blue dragon slug, Pteraeolidia ianthina, can go a step further. Instead of keeping chloroplasts from is food, is able to enslave whole algal cells.

Creatures that are not animals or plants are often informally called protists. Many in this category are in the habit of robbing plastids from algae or subjugating other single-celled organisms. These include dinoflagellates, ciliates and foraminiferans. In this way, all these organisms are able to use an animal-like behaviour (eating other organisms) to acquire plant-like traits (photosynthesis), getting a higher return from their sunbathing sessions than their peers.


What is this creature spawned from hell? Found in Puget Sound.

Ah you’ve found my son, now I will take him back home for dinner.

Eating your own child, you monster.

Dysdera crocata (Woodlouse Hunter)

Ya! And if you have a feeder tank of isopods, which are also easy, they are an easy pet!

Put it back where it came from or so help me

If they do that then it will just be waiting to greet you when you go to the beach, lol.

Edit: or any body of water.

How big is it? Looks like a sac spider.

Wild guess from an amateur, scaling based on the barnacle, no bigger than 3 - 4 inches across

I have these in my home it’s a woodlouse hunter I believe

And you haven’t torched your house yet? I’m pretty sure it justifiable in this case.

wow my brain doesn't wanna let my eyes look right at this. super horrible 10/10

Would biting the abdomen have the texture of an apple or a plum?

Do actively want to make people puke?

I think a very ripe peach.

its a woodlouse hunter they are good they kill woodlice which eat wood

I think that’s a woodlouse hunter but I would post on r/whatsthisbug to be sure

There is a species of fishing spider but am unsure if that is it, either way fucken horrific


Absurd Creature of the Week: This Isn’t a Spider, But It Does Have Genitals in Its Legs

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This isn't slowmo. It's how a sea spider actually moves. The critter was spotted 8,675 feet deep off the coast of Vancouver by a submersible manned by Ocean Networks Canada. Clearly, it won't even give submersibles the time of day. Ocean Networks Canada

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So, good news and bad news for those of you afraid of spiders. Good news is, this creature isn’t a spider because spiders can’t breathe underwater, so you’re safe from arachnids if you want to spend more time in the ocean. (Well, one species of spider actually can live underwater by trapping air around its abdomen---sorry, I’m really bad at good news.) The bad news is what while the sea spider may not be an actual spider, it looks like the ghost of a spider you once killed. Which might actually be worse and . totally scientific?

The 1,300 known species of sea spider are truly ancient animals that as far as scientists can tell aren’t closely related to any extant species, spiders or otherwise. At the moment, though, they’re lumped in the group that holds spiders and horseshoe crabs. They have such tiny abdomens that their guts extend into their legs. Their genitals are there in the limbs too, which makes mating . interesting. And like sea horses, it’s the males that carry the young.

Sea spiders live in both deep and shallow seas around the world, but all are carnivores, through and through. They have claw-like mouthparts known as chelicerae, which spiders also have, suggesting they may belong to the same group (appropriately enough called Chelicerata). The actual feeding happens through a proboscis, a sort of tube that can be longer than the rest of the sea spider’s abdomen in some species.

“They feed generally on things that don't move, like sponges and corals, but also slow-moving things like worms or sea slugs,” says marine biologist Claudia Arango of the Queensland Museum in Australia. “What they do is they've got very sharp jaws at the tip of that tube, the proboscis, so they pierce the prey and start sucking out fluids.”

The deep and shallows are of course worlds apart as far as habitats go, so sea spider species have adapted accordingly. To find food in the blackness, the blind deep-sea varieties likely sniff out their prey's chemical cues, while their shallow-water peers have four simple eyes. In the shallows, they also tend to be more colorful than in the deep sea, since in the darkness, flashy colors won’t do you no good nohow.

The sea spider Nymphon grossipes, which really got short-changed on the whole name thing.

Alexander Semenov / Science Source

Their body plans, too, are wonderfully adapted for their environments. The long-legged species are built like the tripods from The War of the Worlds---but with fewer legs and death rays---because sediment down in the deep can be soft and unstable, so lankier limbs keep it from sinking up to its abdomen. In the shallows, sea spiders tend to be stouter, with thicker, shorter legs that help them better hold on in rough waters, not to mention avoid shattering into a shower of limbs.

What the many species of sea spider can agree on, though, is how to have sex: namely, very acrobatically. Both males and females have genital pores in their legs, males on just their last two pairs and females on every single limb. When a couple comes together the spindly male crawls on top of the spindly female. “So basically he climbs up and walks all over the female and then starts trying to go under the female so that both the pores come in contact,” says Arango. “The female would be standing totally normal while the male would be upside down, clinging on the female.”

Pseudopallene harrisi, from Australia. Note the claw-like chelicerae. It's fashionably colorful not because it's from Australia, but because that's par for the course for shallow-water sea spiders.

When the female releases her eggs, the male combines them with his sperm and bundles them together in balls. These he holds with special appendages, known as baby björns ovigers, and “he carries the eggs all the way until they hatch, and sometimes even later you can see fathers carrying the babies,” says Arango. “It's quite a heavy load sometimes.”

Inevitably, though, the larvae must set out on their own, and some species won’t just float at the mercy of the currents. They’ll invade the bodies of other creatures on the seafloor, including bivalves, burrowing into their flesh and feeding on them and eventually killing them. Others invade the bodies of coral, stealing the nutrients that algae produce for them.

A sea spider male carries eggs with specialized limbs called ovigers.

Still other species go after creatures called hydroids. One particular sea spider (.pdf) parasitizes the hydroid Tubularia larynx, a sort of small tube with frilly pink polyps, which grows en masse on rocks. The male sea spider will carry his young to fields of these hydroids and release them. Amid plenty of food, the young invade the hydroids’ tissues, feeding and feeding and growing and growing before erupting out of their dead hosts.

It should be clear by now that sea spiders aren’t like any other creature on Earth---not by a long shot. I mean, the body plan alone is out of control. The daddy long legs is a lanky little thing, but the sea spider has so simplified its body plan that really its abdomen is little more than a joint for its legs, forcing its organs to flow into its limbs. Its heart is exceedingly simple, and because it lacks gills, it seems to absorb oxygen through its cuticle. And it has that bizarre proboscis, plus the males have those unique specialized arms used to hold eggs.

It all adds up to large-scale befuddlement for the folks studying them, and accordingly it's a matter of controversy where exactly sea spiders fall in the tree of life. But Arango has an idea. “When you look at the morphology of the sea spiders, apart from a superficial resemblance to spiders, there's lots of things that are unique,” says Arango. “In terms of giving them a place in the classification the best thing we can do, based on DNA mostly, is keep them at the base of the chelicerates."

Anoplodactylus evansi may be Australian, but it looks a lot like a St. Louis Blues fan.


Is this sea creature a fountain of youth? Texas A&M at Galveston investigates

GALVESTON, TX — Over at Texas A&M-Galveston, a new study is taking a closer look into a death-defying species. of jellyfish.

Research shows, the Turritopsis Jellyfish can not only defy death itself, but they can also change form and reverse their age!

In fact, their cells undergo a process called trans-differentiation, allowing them to rewind their life-cycle.

"I think turritopsis is an amazing system to ask those questions and has some characteristics that make it a better system than others."
shared Dr. Maria Miglietta, Associate Professor, Department of Marine Biology at Texas A&M University-Galveston.

"It's an interesting system because it is simple and because of the unique capabilities that it has. From an evolutionary perspective, I want to know how this animal is able to escape death and how it's able to perform cellular trans-differentiation." Dr. Miglietta added.

While their research is in the early years, Dr. Miglietta hopes to discover treatments for muscular disease, genetic disorders, and memory aids through the study of this unique sea creature.


Watch the video: What is This Creature? (January 2023).