To survive in this harsh environment, the flies perform a feat that Mark Twain described with great fascination in 1872. “You can hold them under water as long as you please—they do not mind it—they are only proud of it,” he wrote in a passage of his book Roughing It. “When you let them go, they pop up to the surface as dry as a patent office report.”
This is the best description ever, and makes me want to go into taxonomy.
Read more about these aberrations here!
If you see a hagfish don’t anger it. Under attack, these bottom scavengers and hunters releases thick, clear slime in astonishing quantities. Potential predators back off quickly when presented with the slime, because it clogs their gills. The hagfish itself escape their own mucus that they tie their bodies into a knot and scrape it off (A highway in Oregon was harder to clean up after a truck full of hagfish crashed there last year.)
However, it turns out that this mucus is a precious resource for a hagfish. After sliming a predator, the fish can take nearly a month to refill its slime glands. So leave the poor slime monsters alone.
Read about it here.
The spectacled (or Andean) bear – which turns out to be more common around Machu Picchu than previously believed – is the only South American bear, found in the ranges of the Andes from Venezuela in the north to Peru and Bolivia in the south.
But the species isn’t unique just for being the only bruin on a huge continent: it’s also the sole remaining representative of a bear family that once encompassed some of the all-out most formidable mammals ever to exist.
Want to read more? Check it out here.
The Mexican cavefish have no eyes, little pigment, and require about two hours of sleep per night to survive.
Imagine what you could do with those extra hours! So we should ask cavefish, how do they do it?
Read more about that very research here.
And I for one am wondering how the hell they do it! I just moved to a bigger city and I love it, but I’m finding my time a little stretched thin.
And I have opposable thumbs, and grocery stores. I can’t imagine how wildlife are doing it. Are they better at adulting than I am?
Read about how mountain lions are handling it here.
Blue whales are the most massive creature on earth. And yet it is surprisingly flexible and able to move about with remarkable ease. This allows for graceful and borderline romantic mating rituals.
They also have an alien-like tongue that can invert itself, allowing the entire area from the whale’s mouth to its belly button to expand.
This is completely different than all other whales, and all other mammals.
So while they aren’t actually from space, they look very alien.
Read more about it here!