If you're a fan of Harry Potter, you know all about Dementors and what they do. A Dementor is a dark creature that once guarded Azkaban prison, then turned to work for Lord Voldemort. It's a creepy, wraith-like thing (it looks very much like a ring wraith from Lord of the Rings, actually) that can suck out your soul with it's Kiss, leaving you an empty husk. That's what scientists decided to name a wasp that apparently does the same thing.
When you picture a caterpillar in your mind's eye, if you're anything like me you think of a monarch or something pretty basic. You may not imagine, say, a saddleback, which is so venomous it can send a human into anaphylactic shock, or a monkey slug, which can sting you. Not only do these caterpillars have crazy powers but they also look pretty wild!
You might think that humans are the only creatures who know how to lie, but there you would be completely wrong. Many animals are well practiced at the art of deception, using lies to increase their own chances of survival. National Geographic just published a great list of such creatures and you might be surprised at who the lying liars are!
"Two times the fun, wrapped up and rolled into one!" Eighties kids know this tune. It's the theme song to the Wuzzles cartoon, which featured a bunch of animal hybrids coposed of two to three species each. A bee lion? Why not!
It’s a bit of a paradox: you get bit by the deadly funnel-web spider in Australia and you need the antidote, which is built by utilizing the spider’s own venom. BUT you have to risk getting bit to capture the spider in the first place in order to milk its venom!
It sounds and looks like something out of a Dungeons & Dragons campaign, but the giant shipworm was just recovered in the Philippines. While the giant shipworm was technically known before the find—since the 18th century, in fact—researchers had yet to capture one until now.
We all have at least one ugly critter we love to death. Whether it's a hairless rat, a pug dog, a weird spider or fish--some might call that smashed-in face cringe worthy, but you think it's adorable. Science can shine a light on why we feel this way. It turns out that any kind of animal that seems in need of protection--whether it has big eyes, a small or soft body or other traditionally baby-like qualities--is cute to us humans.
This weekend I watched a movie (Practical Magic) which made mention of the myth of the deathwatch beetle. I had never heard of this little critter, although I vaguely remembered reading mentions of it back when I was studying for an English Lit degree.