Complex and Unusual Creatures - Part One

7 “But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee:

8 Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee.

9 Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the LORD hath wrought this?

10 In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind."

Job 12:7-10

1. The Amazonian Royal Flycatcher

This festive looking Amazonian royal flycatcher builds its nest on tree branches hanging over the water, making it difficult for predators to reach.

2. The Long-Eared Jerboa

Long-eared jerboa: This tiny rodent was first caught on film in 2007. They live in parts of China and Mongolia, and it's believed that their ears help them cool off in the desert.

3. The Chevrotain

Also known as mouse-deer, chevrotains live in parts of Asia and Africa. There are several different species, but the smallest ones weigh as little as 4.4 pounds and are the tiniest known ungulates.

4. The Gelada

Geladas live in the Ethiopian mountains and are the last living species of grass-eating primates. They're noteworthy for their impressive hair coats and the patch of hairless skin on their chests that can be a bright crimson color.

5. The Orange Tortoise Spider

While this rare spider is almost too cute to be real, very little is known about the species except that they live in South America.

6. The Pink Fairy Armadillo

These tiny armadillos, which look like furry beetles, are endemic to Argentina. They're less than five inches long and are excellent burrowers.

7. The Patagonian Mara

These cute rodents look like a cross between a deer and a rabbit. They live in Argentina and form monogamous pairs, and closely resemble their cousin the capybara.

8. The Venezuelan Poodle Moth

The astonishing Venezuelan Poodle Moth currently still remains an almost complete mystery to entomologists. This incredibly unique looking insect first made an appearance in 2009. The name derives from a comparison of its appearance to a cross between a moth and a poodle.

9.  Devil’s Flower Mantis

Resembling an exhibitionist mixed leaf salad, this is a Devil’s Flower Mantis (Idolomantis diabolica).

10.  The Horsehead Grasshopper

The Horsehead Grasshopper is from the jungles of Ecuador and Peru. It looks like a stick insect and has the diet of a stick insect (foliage, tree leaves) but it is actually a real grasshopper.

11. The Frogfish

This is a Frogfish, which is a type of angler fish, and is found is most oceans including the Pacific and Atlantic. The Hairy Frogfish is quite the odd-looking fish, with hundreds of hair like appendages on its body.

12. The Leafy Seadragon

The leafy seadragon is covered with leaf-like appendages, making for excellent camouflage.
It is found only in Australia.

13. The Sea Cucumber

The pink see-through fantasia is a sea cucumber, found about a mile and a half deep in the Celebes Sea in the western Pacific (east of Borneo).

14. The Saiga Antelope

The antelope's rather large nose helps to filter out dusty air in the summer and to warm freezing cold air in the winter.

15.  The Ribbon-Tailed Astrapia

This is a species of birds of paradise (exotic birds found off the islands of Australia, like New Guinea and Malaku).  Their diet mainly consists of fruits, especially from the Umbrella Tree, as well as insects, spiders and frogs.

16. The Elysia Chlorotica

The spectacular looking sea slug Elysia chlorotica has been described in the past as "a leaf that crawls."

17. The Macropinna Microstoma

Perhaps the most bizarre ocular structure is in the barreleye fish Macropinna microstoma.   Recent research found that not only are these fish eyes shielded behind a crystal clear dome, the eyes can also rotate! 

Unique and perfectly integrated muscular, nervous, and bone arrangements make it possible for their eyes to rotate forward. Like a pilot in a cockpit who can tilt his head to see in different directions through his transparent canopy, the barreleye fish rotates its eyes from dorsal (skyward) to rostral (mouthward).

18. Pistol Shrimp

The pistol shrimp makes such a loud noise with its claws, that it can kill other fish. 

The snap of the pistol shrimp’s claw is so loud that it competes with animals such as the sperm whale for the title of loudest creature of the sea.  In fact, they are so loud, their snapping sounds interfere with military and scientific sonar (so much so, that hostile submarines have used large colonies of pistol shrimps to hide!).

When it snaps its claws together, it creates a vapor bubble with pressure sufficient to kill nearby small fish; these are then eaten. Incredibly, when the bubble bursts it produces temperatures of up to 5,000 K, close to the temperature of the surface of the sun. This is not visible to the naked eye because of its low intensity.

19. The Octopus

The octopus has no bones.  Their bodies are incredibly flexible.  They can slither through openings not much bigger than their eyeballs.

With the suckers on its arms, an octopus seizes prey and pulls it up to its mouth, where a poisonous salivary secretion is immediately released from the beak. The secretion paralyzes the prey and partially digests it. Fortunately for the octopus, if it loses an arm, another one grows to replace it.

20. The Frilled Shark

Frilled sharks are found throughout deep waters in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. It is often described as a “living fossil” because of its resemblance to extinct, Paleozoic sharks. They’re rarely seen alive because of their preference for deep water. A dying one was captured near the surface in Japan in 2007.

21. The Red Cap Goldfish

A red cap goldfish, or “oranda,” are characterized by a prominent hood that covers the head – which let’s face it, look like their brains are on show.

Originally from China, they are popular aquarium pets today.

22. The Promachoteuthis Sulcus

Meet Promachoteuthis sulcus, a bizarre creature straight out of your nightmares. As you can see, this thing looks like it has freakishly human looking teeth. They’re actually just flaps of skin, but they’re still pretty unnerving! It’s a species of promachoteuthid squid and only one specimen has been found to date. It was captured in the Southern Atlantic Ocean at a depth of 2,000m in 2007.

23. The Crocodile Fish

The crocodile fish lacks both red blood cells and hemoglobin, and so have white blood. They have translucent bodies, and absorb oxygen directly from the water around them.

24. The Amber Phantom Butterfly

These unique butterflies have transparent wings, are often found proximate to bamboos & live in deeply shaded rain forests. The Amber Phantom Butterfly is crepuscular and is rarely seen in vivid sunlight.  A Bird of Paradise flower lends it some color in the background.

25. The Blue Footed Booby

The blue footed booby, found from the Gulf of California down along the western coasts of Central and South America to Peru. Their bright blue feet are a sexually selected trait. The brighter a males feet, the more attractive he is to a female. To attract a female, they have an elaborate dancing ritual to display their feet, first lifting one foot and then the other.