A green sea slug found off North America’s east coast not only looks like a leaf, but can also make food out of sunlight, just like a plant.
Excerpt from original article found at NewScientist.com. Find the full article and much more information there.
15 July 2006 by Stephanie Pain
On 14 June 1918, the supply ship Makambo struck a submerged rock off Lord Howe Island, a volcanic dot 780 kilometres north-east of Sydney, Australia. The cargo was salvaged and taken ashore to the island, which is a semi-tropical paradise, lushly forested and rich in plants and animals found nowhere else. Unfortunately, the ship’s rats came ashore too. They spread rapidly, soon dispatching several island species, including a giant wingless stick insect, or phasmid. By the 1930s, the Lord Howe Island phasmid (Dryococelus australis) was written off as extinct.
By all accounts, it had been a spectacular insect, so big the islanders called it the land lobster. Females grew up to 15 centimetres long, with bodies as thick as a finger and long, stout legs equipped with hooks. The slightly shorter males had peculiarly massive thighs armed with evil-looking spines. They couldn’t fly but they could run surprisingly fast.[…]
However, in 1964, a rock climber found a dead phasmid, not on Lord Howe Island but on Balls Pyramid, a remote spire of rock 24 kilometres to the south-east. Another climber found two more dead phasmids there in 1969, one lodged in a bush, the other as part of a seabird’s nest – a stick insect mistaken for a stick. Was the giant phasmid alive and well and living somewhere on Balls Pyramid? It seemed improbable. This was a creature of warm, damp forests that needed living trees with sizeable hollows to hide in. Balls Pyramid is the world’s highest sea stack, its sheer cliffs rising 550 metres. Isolated, exposed to high winds and with no apparent water supply, the islet has just a few scraps of vegetation and no trees. To everyone’s disappointment but no one’s surprise, every expedition that went in search of giant phasmids drew a blank.
This article from NewScientist is a must-read! A great recount of a fascinating story…
Long Live the Phasmids!
What tipped me off to Land Lobsters? The Tree Lobsters! comic. Science geeks beware- there’s hilarity afoot! Don’t miss the secret messages under each comic.
And the Bug Girl’s Blog.
(AP) — A marine biologist says he has discovered a new crab species off the coast of southern Taiwan that looks like a strawberry with small white bumps on its red shell.
Follow the link for the rest of the article:
Thank you to Crumpled-Wings for yet another great find!
Quoted from the AP article Thousands of strange creatures found deep in ocean, by Cain Burdeau
Nov. 22, 2009
A report released Sunday recorded 17,650 species living below 656 feet, the point where sunlight ceases. The findings were the latest update on a 10-year census of marine life.
“Parts of the deep sea that we assumed were homogenous are actually quite complex,” said Robert S. Carney, an oceanographer at Louisiana State University and a lead researcher on the deep seas.
Thousands of marine species eke out an existence in the ocean’s pitch-black depths by feeding on the snowlike decaying matter that cascades down — even sunken whale bones. Oil and methane also are an energy source for the bottom-dwellers, the report said.
The researchers have found about 5,600 new species on top of the 230,000 known. They hope to add several thousand more by October 2010, when the census will be done.
The scientists say they could announce that a million or more species remain unknown. On land, biologists have catalogued about 1.5 million plants and animals.
More than 40 new species of coral were documented on deep-sea mountains, along with cities of brittlestars and anemone gardens. Nearly 500 new species ranging from single-celled creatures to large squid were charted in the abyssal plains and basins.
Also of importance were the 170 new species that get their energy from chemicals spewing from ocean-bottom vents and seeps. Among them was a family of “yeti crabs,” which have silky, hairlike filaments on the legs.
A team of scientists from Britain, the United States and Papua New Guinea found more than 40 previously unidentified species when they climbed into the kilometre-deep crater of Mount Bosavi and explored a pristine jungle habitat teeming with life that has evolved in isolation since the volcano last erupted 200,000 years ago. In a remarkably rich haul from just five weeks of exploration, the biologists discovered 16 frogs which have never before been recorded by science, at least three new fish, a new bat and a giant rat, which may turn out to be the biggest in the world.
The plant is among the largest of all pitchers and is believed to be the largest meat-eating shrub, dissolving rats with acid-like enzymes.
The team of botanists, led by British experts Stewart McPherson and Alastair Robinson, found the plant on Mount Victoria in the Philippines.
They decided to name the plant Nepenthes attenboroughii, after the wildlife broadcaster Sir David.
Find the entire article at Telegraph.co.uk.(Thanks to Crumpled-Wings for the heads-up on this most excellent discovery!)
RI O DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Researchers have discovered a new sub-species of monkey in a remote part of the Amazon rain forest, a U.S.-based wildlife conservation group said on Tuesday.
The newly found monkey was first spotted by scientists in
2007 in the Brazilian state of Amazonas and is related to the saddleback tamarin monkeys, known for their distinctively marked backs, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) said.
The small monkey, which is mostly gray and brown and weighs 213 grams (0.47 pound), has been named the Mura’s saddleback tamarin after the Mura Indian tribe of the Purus and Madeira river basins where the new sub-species was found.
[Read the full article at Reuters.com]