Strange and Unique Animals

It’s estimated that 99% of all species that ever existed have gone extinct. Well, how many species remain today? While there is no clear number, some scientists estimate there are about 8.7 million! Here’s where it gets even more mind-boggling: only about 1.2 million species are known to us today, meaning there are 7.5 million creatures out there waiting to be discovered. The diversity of the animals on earth is staggering, and sometimes rather odd. Here are 4 animals with very unique characteristics:

1. Platypusplatypus-diving

Is it a duck? Is it a beaver? Is it an otter? No, it’s a platypus! This oddity is one of the two mammal species that are monotremes (they lay eggs). In addition, the male platypus has a venomous spur on its hind limbs that he uses to fight competing males, making the platypus one of the only venomous mammals. They spend most of their time on land, but they hunt for their prey in the water using their impressive bills, which are lined with electroreceptors. The ability to feel the electrical impulse of another organism is typically not found in mammals, making the platypus a very unique animal!

2. Hummingbird Hawk-Mothhummingbirdhawkmoth

Speaking of animals that look like some sort of a hybrid creature, this is the Hummingbird Hawk-moth. This moth has wings and antennae similar to any common moth. However, its long protuberance from its mouth and its humming noise make it appear uncannily like a hummingbird. They can be found primarily around Asia, northern Africa, and southern Europe, however, they tend to migrate north and south depending on the seasons.

3. Glaucus AtlanticusGlaucusAtlanticus

More commonly known as a blue sea slug or a blue dragon, the Glaucus Atlanticus has some pretty amazing adaptations. This seemingly weak creature moves by floating in the water and allowing the currents to bring it to a destination. But don’t be fooled by its mild mannered appearance, these creatures can eat poisonous animals like the Portuguese Man O’ War jellyfish, and then can store that poison in its body to use against its predators!

4. Wood Frowood_frog_102914_7g

The wood frog looks like your typical run-of-the-mill frog. However, these frogs have a special adaptation that allows them to survive the harsh winters. Wood frogs have unique proteins in their bodies that allow the frogs to become so completely frozen that their heart stops beating. Then, when springtime comes around, the frog simply thaws out and carries on with its normal life.

-Luyan Lin

Works Cited:

http://www.plosbiology.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pbio.1001127

http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/platypus/?rptregcta=reg_free_np&rptregcampaign=20130924_rw_membership_r1p_w#

http://eol.org/pages/396579/overview

http://eol.org/pages/451180/details

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/02/070220-frog-antifreeze_2.html

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