5 Incredible Animals and Plants

  • June 06, 2010
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  • Lifestyle
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Duck-Billed Platypus

This animal was initially considered a myth or a hoax for years and is even now regarded as a complete oddity of nature. To be honest we can understand why, it has not one but several unique characteristics held over from its evolution from very early mammals. For starters, it’s one of only three mammals to lay eggs similar to reptiles but feed its babies with milk. And the milk actually just kind of oozes from a patch of skin like sweat. It’s one of the very few known poisonous mammals and it’s possibly unique in the way it uses electroreception.

duck billed platypus

It also looks weird.

In case you’re wondering what electroreception is, basically it’s a way of detecting prey by sensing the electrical discharges of muscles. In other words, a platypus can sense the muscle movement of its prey and focus in on that using its other senses. Also, the platypus doesn’t use its poison to hunt, that seems to be reserved for attacking other males during mating season and self defense. The poison is hidden in a spur located under each leg and, while not really dangerous to humans, it can hurt pretty badly.

Finally, the platypus is a true link between reptiles and mammals, being unique in the way it reproduces. The female has a pair of ovaries, but only uses the left one in order to produce a leathery egg that resembles the eggs of reptiles. This has puzzled many researchers and had been under debate until the late 1800’s with many zoologists claiming no mammal could ever lay eggs. At the end of it all, the platypus proved to be more intense than anyone could have though, redefining all expectations of what a mammal should be.


Alcon Blue Butterflies and Ichneumon eumerus Wasps

There is something fascinating about butterflies; they are such gentle and beautiful creatures. Also, some of them are able to control the minds of other animals.

alcon blue butterflies and ichneumon eumerus wasps

If it were human, it would be a hypnotist at the airport Hilton.

There is something fascinating about butterflies; they are such gentle and beautiful creatures. Also, some of them are able to control the minds of other animals.

The Alcon Blue Butterfly is one of the few animals that manage to perfectly imitate the smell and sounds of another species. Very much like the cuckoo birds, this species of butterfly uses another animal to raise its young. In this case, the used animal is the ant which is dependent on chemical smells in order to maintain their hive. Knowing this weakness, the butterfly caterpillar camouflages itself as an ant queen brood and thus gets first class treatment from other ants. Not only does the butterfly get cleaned and fed by the ants, sometimes it even eats other ant larvae without the ant workers noticing.

What makes the whole thing really strange is that Ichneumon eumerus wasps seem to somehow sense when a butterfly caterpillar is hiding in an ant hill. The wasp releases its own brand of chemicals, causing the ants to go crazy and attack each other. In the meantime, the wasp lays an egg inside the butterfly caterpillar. When the wasp leaves, everything returns to normal and the ants take care of the caterpillar which, in a very Alien-like fashion, has a chestburster inside it.

At the end of the day, the caterpillar is manipulating the ants into taking care of it and the wasp uses this to infect the caterpillar with its own offspring. Somehow, we suddenly feel much better that we’re much bigger than wasps, anything that can control minds in order to deposit eggs inside you is seriously creepy.

Written by Jack Mendoza – Copyrighted © www.weirdworm.com Image Sources

Image sources:

  • - Killer Trees: http://www.pixdatabase.com/data/r/o/l/rolljack/medium/6150-wo124-umbrella-thorn-acacia-tree-s3.jpg http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/bigphotos/images/070611-sudan-animals_big.jpg
  • - Fishzilla: http://www.lugaluda.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/snakehead_fish.jpeg http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1003/1366621805_5cca3899ab.jpg
  • - Sea Cucumber: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Espardenya_%28animal%29.jpg
  • - Duck-Billed Platypus: http://people.whitman.edu/~yancey/platypus1.jpg
  • - Alcon Blue Butterflies and Ichneumon eumerus Wasps: http://www.david.element.ukgateway.net/butterflies10lycaenidaeblues_files/image012.jpg


  • http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg12717361.200-antelope-activate-the-acacias-alarm-system.html
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snakehead_fish
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_cucumber
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duck-Billed_Platypus#Electrolocation
  • http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4460030.stm