The Sea’s Strangest Square Mile
Lightning-quick eels! Coral-colored, pregnant frogfish stuffing their bellies with wriggling prey! Baby cuttlefish!! BABY CUTTLEFISH!!!
Showing 9 posts tagged camouflage
For reasons unknown, the parents, Eunice, who is on loan from Riverbanks Zoo in South Carolina, and Gullet, who is from Sea World Orlando, abandoned the nest about halfway during the incubation period. To give the unborn chicks a chance at life, staff pulled the eggs and placed them in an incubator. Once they hatched, they received round-the-clock care. Now at 3 1/2 weeks old, they have grown, are eating well, and appear to have a bright future ahead of them.
Tawny Frogmouths are native to Australia, Tasmania and southern New Guinea. They are not owls, but they do often pretend to be tree branches.
The camo-bot is an upgraded version of a soft-bodied machine that strode out of George Whitesides’ laboratory at Harvard University last year. That white, translucent machine ambled about on four legs, swapping hard motors and hydraulics for inflatable pockets of air. Now, Morin has fitted the robot’s back with a sheet of silicone containing a network of tiny tubes, each less than half a millimetre wide. By pumping coloured liquids through these “microfluidic” channels, he can change the robot’s colour in about 30 seconds…
The robot is still awkward and its disguise is imperfect. Morin has to prepare the coloured liquids beforehand, and pump them into the robots via cumbersome tubes. The team are now working on larger models that can carry their own power sources, pumps, fluids, and electronics, and operate without human support.
Tommi Vainionpaa keeps Indian Walking Sticks (Carausius Morosus) as pets. They are about 10cm long each, perhaps as long as 15cm if you include their legs. He filmed them eating, climbing and trying to hide in plain sight as they stayed as still as possible… like sticks! Slow moving at times, but completely fascinating. From National Geographic:
As its name suggests, the stick insect resembles the twigs among which it lives, providing it with one of the most efficient natural camouflages on Earth. It and the equally inconspicuous leaf insect comprise the Phasmida order, of which there are approximately 3,000 species.
That’s worth repeating: 3000 kinds of stick and leaf insects!
Phasmids generally mimic their surroundings in color, normally green or brown, although some species are brilliantly colored and others conspicuously striped. Many stick insects have wings, some spectacularly beautiful, while others resemble little more than a stump. A number of species have spines and tubercles on their bodies.
Found predominantly in the tropics and subtropics—although several species live in temperate regions—stick insects thrive in forests and grasslands, where they feed on leaves. Mainly nocturnal creatures, they spend much of their day motionless, hidden under plants.
There’s a great three minute stick insect introduction with narration via Backyard Bugs. Definitely worth watching next!
And here are stick insects from the archives.
Meet the Orchid Mantis. Native to Malaysia, they camouflage with flower petals, specifically white and pink ones. “In this way the mantis can remain unseen for predators such as birds and at the same time can catch pollinating insects that are attracted to the flowers… An adult female is approximately 6 to 7 cm long, while the male is only about 2.5 cm.”
These two featured pets appear to be very happy ones — climbing, hanging upside down, cleaning their faces, eating flies, blending in with flower petals and generally hanging out. Quite beautiful.
There are more insects from the archives!