It needs no convincing that the world is so diverse, it is inconceivable to an average mind. The earth is home to millions of species, all with characteristics distinguishing them from one another. It is not possible to fathom the workings, some so unlike ours, of every creature that the creator endows with for thriving and Mother Nature harbours with so much care. Let’s have a look at some of the most unusual sounding traits of some of them-
- The awe-inspiring mating practice of the praying mantis- A praying mantis is an insect with six legs, two wings and two antennae. It is unique from other insects in that it can turn its head around 180 degrees, like a human. The weirdest part is that the female mantids sometimes kill their mates while in action. It’s true, their cannibalism has been caught in action- they bite off the males’ heads and even devour other body parts while mating.
- Darwin’s frog: A frog species with a marsupial aspect to it- Named after its discoverer Charles Darwin, it is found in South America. You will find it perfectly normal to look at but wait until you hear about its transformation process. The Smithsonian magazine billed its male “one of nature’s most extreme dads”. The male has a large vocal pouch. After the female lays the eggs, the male guards them closely until they hatch. And then it swallows the tadpoles, allowing them to grow up safely in its vocal pouch. Once they turn into frogs, the father spits them out!
- Opossums are immune to snake venom!– Don’t mistake it for its distant Australian cousin, the possum. This is North America’s only marsupial and possesses a steely immune system. It is immune to snake venom! And apart from being immune also to bees, etc. thanks to a protein found in their body (Lethal Toxin-Neutralizing Factor), it almost never gets rabies. And these were just a few fascinating facts about them.
- There is an immortal variety of jellyfish!– Turritopsis Nutricula, commonly known as the scarlet jellyfish, regenerates itself from a dying state after acquiring sexual maturity by a process called transdifferentiation- here, one cell can transform into another. In this way, it can revert back to the polyp (immature) stage an infinite number of times and be immortal. That is, of course, if they can save themselves from predators in the polyp stage.
- Pitohui, a poisonous bird- Birder Jack Dumbacher was studying birds in Papua New Guinea when, unexpectatedly, an unknown bird scratched his hands. While licking his cuts, his tongue began to tingle and burn and later went numb. That’s the story of the first discovery of a poisonous bird, the Pitohui, containing a very potent poison- batrachotoxin!
Truly, nature never fails to amaze us. These were five mere instances.