Sea Slugs that Decapitate Themselves…

The Nara Women’s University of Japan has a vast collection of Sea Slugs. It was noticed that on occasion the body of a sea slug would be lying next to its severed head. What was strange was the severed head was still moving around the tank and still munching on algae. What was determined by the scientists was that sea slugs will decapitate themselves if they feel their body has become infected by a parasite. The head wound took about a day to heal and a new heart about 3 days to grow. However, there was no new growth on the severed body, but it did react to stimuli for months before finally decomposing. Too bad Marie Antoinette wasn’t part sea slug.

The Mysterious Purple Orb…

In 2016 a strange purple orb was discovered off the coast of southern California near the Channel Islands by the exploration ship the Nautilus. This glowing globular creature was found at a depth of 5,000 ft. below the surface. Totally stumped scientists could not decipher if it was a type of plankton or an egg sack. It was later discovered to have one foot which put it in the category of a gastropod (abalone, conches). It may even be more closely related to a sea slug (Pleurobranchus areolatus). When it is approached by a light source it turns and reflects a bright purple glow. Researchers describe it as having a resemblance to a sci-fi alien’s brain. This is a first for this unknown, new species. Most of our ocean floor remains untapped and unreachable. The Channel Islands marine sanctuary covers an area of 1,470 miles, only about half has been mapped or explored. Who knows what else is lying down there or whether they prefer to remain “unknown”?

 

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jul/30/submarine-scientists-crab-mysterious-glowing-purple-orb

The Plant that Hides from Humans…

Fritillaria Delavayi grows in the hillsides of China in the Hengduan mountains and in Nepal. It has been used for over 2,000 years for medicinal purposes. The plant is believed to have properties that can treat coughs and other respiratory ailments. What this plant has done is evolve to the point where it can change its color to blend in with its environment in much the same way as reptiles do. This is in response to the over harvesting of the plant and its attempt to survive. The over harvesting of the plant is the result of the high price it now brings on the market. Since the plant is not threatened by any animal that feeds on it, scientists determined that this is a defense mechanism against humans. In areas where it is not threatened it has a bright yellow flower and green leaves. In heavily harvested areas it can change to blend in with rocks. Since it only blooms every 5 years it is difficult to find and harvest the bulb of the plant. This is not the first time humans have had an effect on plant life. Until recently, this was not even considered.

 

https://www.sciencenews.org/article/plant-camouflage-people-china-traditional-medicine-fritillaria

The Un-squashable Bug…

The Diabolical Ironclad Beetle (Phleoodes-diabolicus) has an ironclad exoskeleton that is almost impossible to crush. Dr. Rivera, of the Biometrics and Nanostructured Materials Lab of the University of California, set out to prove this. The beetle was place on a pillow of dirt in a parking lot and a Toyota Camry (3,500 lbs.) ran over it twice. Any other insect would have been liquified. The insect is capable of withstanding 39,000 times its body weight. This force would completely crush a human. The exoskeleton is packed with proteins giving it extreme durability. The underpart of the insect is of a separate section that interlocks with the above allowing it to separate almost like two puzzle pieces while providing a buffer space. As a result, there is no weak spot. The question remains, why would you run over a beetle in the first place?