Sunday, 1 February 2015

Weird and wacky wildlife!!

Just to add something of interest and something that's a bit different, this post is to show some of the weird and wonderful wildlife I have come across on my travels. A lot of the pics are taken abroad and definitely no scientific names here - in fact I can't even name most of the species! Firstly some pretty wacky crabs - including a hermit crab that decided to make his home in a bottle stopper!

Hermit crab in a bottle stopper - Costa Rica
Bright and colourful Galapagos Island Crab
It's the colours that I love in the crab above - a bit brighter than our UK edible and shore crabs!! Next for some wacky frogs. The first one pictured is in a pond in France and is probably a common species but I just love the eyes. It reminds me of toad in the Wind in the Willows!

The other two frogs in the pics below were in a frog house in Costa Rica. The locals called the red bellied frog the blue jean frog due to his blue legs! I have no idea what the other frog is but I love the way his feet are suckered onto the glass - very cool!

Froggy in France!
The poisonous blue jean frog! - Costa Rica
Amazing suction - Frog in Costa Rica
Now for some very odd caterpillars. I recently saw these on Chris Packham's TV show 'Natures Weird Events'. I am pretty sure they are the same species and he called them the Pine Processional moth. They start off in the large 'cocoon' in the tree and and then they head to the ground and form a procession. They march along the ground in a line following the leader until they find a suitable place to head down into the earth! I am guessing this is what they are doing when they form a heap! My dad had watched their behaviour in his old garden in France and we were both fascinated by them!

Walking in Procession!
Pine processional moth caterpillar - maybe?? - France
Next its back to Costa Rica for a pretty wacky stick insect. What amazes me about this insect is it's size - if you look at the pic with the hand in it you can really see how big it is!

Humongous stick insect - Costa Rica
Also in Costa Rica I saw a caiman which actually looks like a dummy! It didn't seem real to me - well that was until it opened its jaws! Also there was some leaf cutter ants and they were on a mission transporting bits of leaf in a mass frenzy!

Caiman - Costa Rica
Leafcutter ants - Costa Rica
Then there was a locust in Cyprus which has such an alien like head!

Is it an alien? - no its a locust! Cyprus
And then...talking of aliens back in the UK I have been lucky enough to see dragonflies emerging from their larval skin into a newly emerged insect. The first pic below is of this taking place and then there is one of the new dragonfly which is so fragile. They basically 'pump' themselves up to become the fully fledged insects that we see whizzing around.

Dragonfly shedding its larval skin - Cumbria, UK
Newly emerged dragonfly - Cumbria, UK
And also spotted in the UK is the larva of the 6 spot ladybird. I was amazed the first time I saw one of these. Its hard to believe that they turn into a red and black, round bodied, winged insect!

This ugly beast turns into the beautiful 6 spot ladybird!
Last but not least is another freaky looking caterpillar that I saw in France. I remember coming across these as a child and they kind of freaked me out due to their size. They are pretty big and bright green with a very scary looking spike on their tail... and well they are just scary!!
Big scary looking green caterpillar - France

So that's just a quick overview of some of the weirder creatures I have come across both at home and on my travels. I am sure there will be more out there waiting to be found. As I am sure I have said before the natural world never ceases to amaze me with its diversity and well there are some pretty wacky creatures out there!

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