First Known Venomous Frogs Uses Spiky Faces To Deliver Deadly Headbutt

KS Strange ScienceDon’t try to butt heads with these little guys – it just might kill you! The first known venomous frogs have been discovered Brazil. They use small spines on their head, and a vicious head thrash, to inject their potent venom. Yikes! 🐸

Corythomantis greeningi. CREDIT: Carlos Jared / Butantan Institute
Corythomantis greeningi. CREDIT: Carlos Jared / Butantan Institute

Poisonous frogs are nothing new, but ‘truly’ venomous frogs are. Traditionally, venomous creatures bite, sting or stab you to do their damage, while you have to bite or touch poisonous critters to feel their effects. I suppose the venomous variety are a bit more proactive with their toxins. 🐍

“Discovering a truly venomous frog is nothing any of us expected, and finding frogs with skin secretions more venomous than those of the deadly pit vipers of the genus Bothrops was astounding,” co-author Edmund Brodie, Jr., of Utah State University said in a press release.

Brodie and his colleague Carlos Jared of Instituto Butantan in SĂŁo Paulo, Brazil, study Corythomantis greeningi (Greening’s frog) and Aparasphenodon brunoi (Bruno’s casque-headed frog). Jared learned the frogs were venomous the hard way after a Greening’s frog ‘stung’ his hand, which resulted in excruciating pain that spread up his arm – lasting five hours!

According to NBC News, a single gram of the venom from the more toxic frog species, Aparasphenodon brunoi, could kill more than 300,000 mice, or about 80 humans, while a gram of the venom from Corythomantis greeningi could kill more than 24,000 mice, or about six humans.

The frogs release a white, toxic mucus from glands in their skin when they feel threatened. Then they use the spines on their skull to drive the toxins into its enemy’s flesh. No thanks…

 

First Known Venomous Frogs Uses Spiky Faces To Deliver Deadly Headbutt

These Tiny Fluffy ‘Sea Bunny’ Slugs Almost Broke the Internet

KS_LOGOs2_UnderwaterWho knew sea slugs could be adorable? The ‘sea bunny’ slug, or Jorunna parva, is a species known for its fluffy bunny-like appearance. No wonder it just gave the internet a heart attack! 💓

cute-bunny-sea-slug-jorunna-parva-11

This little sea slug’s bunny ears are actually rhinophores, or chemosensory organs that help them detect chemicals in the water and also sense changes in currents. And its tiny ‘fluffy’ bunny body (less than 1 inch) is actually covered in caryophyllidia – sensory tubercles, surrounded by tiny needle-like structures called spicules.

Jorunna parva belongs to a group of soft-bodied, marine mollusks called nudibranchs. They are found along the coast of Japan, but have also been spotted in the Indian Ocean and around the Philippines.

This cute underwater rabbit can vary in color from yellow, to orange, to white with black ‘spots.’ All I know is I want one! 🐰

These Tiny Fluffy ‘Sea Bunny’ Slugs Almost Broke the Internet

Hades Centipede Discovered in the Deepest, Darkest Caves of Croatia

KS Strange ScienceIn Greek mythology Hades is god of the dead and king of the underworld. Now, Hades is the deepest cave-dwelling centipede known to man.

Hades Centipede
The Hades centipede (Geophilus hadesi) – named after the god of the underworld. IMAGE: J. Bedek

Geophilus hadesi, better known as the Hades centipede, lives in three caves in Croatia’s Velebit mountains. Scientists collected three specimens of the Hades centipede at different depths in the caves and spotted one at a shocking 3,600 feet below the surface.

Members of the Croatian Biospeleological Society discovered the centipede and published their findings in the journal ZooKeys.

Unlike most species of centipede, which occasionally take shelter in caves, Hades spends all of its life underground and has learned to adapt. The centipede has “exceptionally elongated antennae, trunk segments and leg claws.” This makes Hades one of the cave’s top predators 🐛

“When I first saw the animal and its striking appearance, I immediately realized that this is a new, hitherto unnamed and highly adapted to cave environment species,” said Pavel Stoev, the study’s lead author, in a statement. “This finding comes to prove once again how little we know about the life in caves, where even in the best prospected areas, one can still find incredible animals.”

But, Hades isn’t alone! According to mythology, Hades is not only ruler of the underworld, he is also husband to Persephone. Geophilus persephones (named after Persephone, queen of the underworld) is the only other known cave-dwelling centipede. A match made in hell ❤️

Hades - Hercules

Hades Centipede Discovered in the Deepest, Darkest Caves of Croatia

These Red, White, and Blue Creatures Don’t Need July 4th Costumes!

KS NatureThis weekend Americans will be celebrating our country’s independence, but these creatures are one step ahead of us! Check out nature’s version of the good ol’ red, white, and blue 🗽🇺🇸 Happy Fourth of July!

 

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This Video of a Cuttlefish Changing Colors Will Hypnotize You – Plus Fun ‘True’ Cuttlefish Facts!

KS Strange ScienceWho needs a stress ball when they have this underwater footage? There are few creatures as unique and bizarre as the cuttlefish. This video, filmed by a diver with the Japan Marine Club, features a Pfeffer’s flamboyant cuttlefish, which uses chromatophores — color-changing cells in its skin — to alter its appearance 🐙

Cuttlefish are masters of camouflage – using their skin to communicate and evade predators – but, scientists know very little about how these animals disguise themselves so well.

Flamboyant_Cuttlefish
Metasepia pfefferi – also known as Pfeffer’s flamboyant cuttlefish

Below is a video courtesy of Ze Frank, EVP of Video for Buzzfeed, explaining fun ‘true’ facts about the cuttlefish. Try to ignore the fact that it sounds like it was narrated by Ron Burgundy 👨

This Video of a Cuttlefish Changing Colors Will Hypnotize You – Plus Fun ‘True’ Cuttlefish Facts!

Seven New Teeny Tiny Mini-Frogs Discovered in Brazil – Some are the Smallest Ever

KS Nature

These newly discovered mini-frogs are so small they barely fit on your fingernail – but, they do come in some flashy colors!

Brachycephalus (Anura: Brachycephalidae) is a remarkable genus of miniaturized frogs that call the Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest home. The first Brachycephalus species was found in 1824, but most of the species have been discovered over the past 15 years.

The seven new species live on seven distinct mountaintops in south eastern Brazil. Their habitats are known as ‘cloud forests.’ Each species is cut off from one another due to dips and valleys with varying climates that act as environmental barriers.

Brachycephalus are a group of frogs known for their bright colors and miniscule size – some are the smallest terrestrial vertebrates on record (less than 1cm). Their tiny frog anatomy has shrunk to their size, but one thing has changed. These amphibians typically have three toes and two fingers, instead of the five toes and four fingers found in most frogs.

Their skin is what sets them apart. They vary in color and texture; some are rough and bumpy, while others are quite smooth. Their bright colors alert predators to the poisonous toxins in their skin. Those with brighter colors often reflect higher levels of the deadly chemical tetrodotoxin.

The severe isolation experienced by these frogs has produced 21 known species of Brachycephalus – and a new study has pushed that count to 28.

Brachycephalus comes in a variety of bright colors IMAGE: MARCIO R. PIE, CC BY SA
Brachycephalus comes in a variety of bright colors IMAGE: MARCIO R. PIE, CC BY SA

Marcio Pie, a professor at the Universidade Federal do Paranå in Brazil, led researchers into the remote misty rainforest in search of these tiny critters. Following extensive fieldwork, treacherous hikes, and hours of sifting through dirt and leaves, they found a surprising seven new species of Brachycephalus!

Marcio Pie’s findings were published June 4 in the journal PeerJ.

Seven New Teeny Tiny Mini-Frogs Discovered in Brazil – Some are the Smallest Ever

Insane Frog Births: These Babies Greet the World From Mom’s Mouth and Mom’s BACK!

KS Strange ScienceI’d like to introduce you to two very special amphibians. One gives birth through its mouth, and was brought back from the dead. The other has given me terrifying nightmares since I was a kid. This is mainly due to the fact that it gives birth to live young from its back. Scroll down if you dare.

The Gastric-Brooding Frog

Gastric-Brooding Frog

The gastric-brooding frog is famous for two reasons; it gives birth out of its mouth, and it was literally brought back from extinction.

This unique species of frog is native to Queensland in eastern Australia. The female swallows her fertilized eggs and incubates them in her stomach for roughly six weeks. Don’t worry, she doesn’t digest them! Chemicals released by the eggs tells her stomach to stop producing acid and she stops eating. Around 20 to 25 tadpoles hatch inside her and the mucus from their gills continues to keep the acid at bay. Over the next six weeks, as the hatchlings grow and her stomach bloats, mom’s lungs collapse and she is forced to breathe through her skin. She then ‘vomits’ out her fully formed frog babies.

The gastric-brooding frog went extinct in 1983, but researchers in Australia brought it back! Click here to learn more about the “Lazarus Project” and ‘de-extinction’ technology 🙂


 The Suriname Toad

Image: sandiegozoo.org
Image: sandiegozoo.org

The Suriname sea toad is flat and gives birth out of its back! The female toad’s offspring develop from eggs to frogs underneath her skin. No joke, the video below could actually make me vomit, so I’m just going to leave it below for your creepy viewing pleasure.

This species is famous for its reproductive abilities. The female Suriname toad can carry up to 100 eggs in her back – forming an irregular honeycomb design.

The male toad produces a sharp clicking noise by snapping the hyoid bone in its throat, which attracts a nearby partner. The female rises from the floor –> the male mounts her back –> they begin flipping through the water –> the female releases eggs with each flip –> the male fertilizes them before he helps embed the eggs in her skin.

Once the eggs are implanted, a film forms over them, creating protective pockets (gross). Four months later, the fully grown frogs punch their way through the skin to freedom.

Insane Frog Births: These Babies Greet the World From Mom’s Mouth and Mom’s BACK!

Top 10 Crazy New Species Found in 2014: A Cartwheeling Spider, Neon Sea-Slug, and the Bird From Hell

KS Strange ScienceScientific American shared a list of the top 10 most interesting new species discovered last year. The fascinating list was published by the International Institute for Species Exploration (IISE) at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry on May 21. Explore the new creatures below!

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VIDEO: Watch This Chameleon Hatch and Take Its First Steps – Amazing!

KS NatureScreen Shot 2015-05-14 at 11.50.39 AMThere is a reason this video of a chameleon hatching – posted in 2008 – has over 1,715,098 views. I could do without the epic music, but overall this video is absolutely captivating; it starts changing colors within minutes. You can watch its tiny two-toed zygodactylous feet and independently mobile eyes experience the world for the first time. Click below to watch the incredible footage!

Chameleon Reproduction

 

veiled-chameleonMost chameleon species lay eggs (oviparous), while a few give birth to live young (ovoviviparous).

The oviparous species lay eggs three to six weeks after mating takes place. The female will dig a hole in the ground and deposit her eggs, covering them with dirt, keeping them warm and safe. The mom then leaves the eggs to hatch and fend for themselves – which can take anywhere from 4-12 months, even longer for some species. Chameleon babies are independent at birth and must find their own food and shelter.

A batch of chameleon eggs is referred to as a ‘clutch.’ Clutch sizes vary greatly depending on the species. Click here to view an African Flapneck chameleon burrow her eggs and wait for the babies to hatch and catch their first snack!

The ovoviviparous species, like Jackson’s chameleons, have a five to seven-month gestation period. Each young chameleon is born within the sticky transparent membrane of its yolk sac. Once the membrane bursts, newly hatched chameleon babies free themselves and climb away for their first feeding.

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Beetle Butt, Beetle Butt, Beetle Butt! – This Insect Shoots Hot Nasty Liquid Out of Its Abdomen

KS Nature

Bombardier beetles are famous in the insect world, not because they have colorfully patterned wings or a nasty bite, but because they have a very unique defense mechanism: When disturbed or attacked, the beetles produce an internal chemical explosion in their abdomen and then expel a jet of boiling, irritating liquid toward their attackers.

Photo: Charles Hedgcock
Photo: Charles Hedgcock

The liquid they eject is called benzoquinone, and they heat it to the temperature of boiling water before they shoot it out in an intense, pulsating jet. They are not the only insect to use this liquid, but they are the only ones to make it steaming hot. Not only that, they are the only ones to emit a pulsating stream, forcing out the liquid with unique precision five times faster!

Researchers were baffled as to how these beetles could produce this spray without causing themselves any physical damage. But, the question has now been answered! Researchers at MIT used high-speed synchrotron X-ray imaging to look inside the abdomens of living bombardier beetles during their chemical explosions. Check out the video below to see the X-ray footage in action!

The key is that they synthesize the chemical at the instant of use, mixing two chemical precursors in a protective chamber in their hindquarters. As the materials combine to form the irritant, they also give off intense heat that brings the liquid almost to the boiling point — and, in the process, generates the pressure needed to expel it in a jet.

The findings are published this week in the journal Science by MIT graduate student Eric Arndt, professor of materials science and engineering Christine Ortiz, Wah-Keat Lee of Brookhaven National Laboratory, and Wendy Moore of the University of Arizona.

Bombardier beetles lives on every continent except Antarctica and have virtually no predators. Sounds like a good life to me 🙂 Spray on, little dudes.

Beetle Butt, Beetle Butt, Beetle Butt! – This Insect Shoots Hot Nasty Liquid Out of Its Abdomen