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?

Cicadas and a 17-year Gestation Period…

Their sound is so much a part of an August evening. A gradual hum that breaks out into a roar. They break through the ground and head in groups for the nearest tree. The nymphs remain underground for 17 years feeding on tree roots. Their number is so great that they provide an unending meal for turtles, racoons and birds. Every year a new group emerges in some area of the US, which is the only country where they are found. Only the males are capable of their unique sound which is used to attract females. Eric Day, an entomologist, recommends frying them in sake and garlic because of their high protein content. They are not poisonous and will do no harm to humans. They are a bit clumsy and will slam into you when you least expect it. Cicadas are extremely vulnerable to predators while they are waiting for their wings to dry after they emerge, but in spite of this, billions manage to survive, mate and die off leaving their nymph eggs to settle underground for another 17 years.