The most bizarre animals ever found

By Stef Zisovska
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The most bizarre animals ever found

Stef Zisovska
 
Icefish - Author: Uwe kils - CC BY-SA 3.0
Icefish - Author: Uwe kils - CC BY-SA 3.0
 
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Our planet’s biodiversity is tremendous. There are millions of different species that live on earth, no one knows the exact number. When you think about animals, the first ones that pop up into your mind are probably cats, dogs, horses and all the usual animals that you see in your everyday life. What, of course, we don’t think of are the various bizarre species living in the oceans and on land, animals that we’ve never heard of nor seen before. Here you can learn about some of the world’s most bizarre animals.

Star-nosed mole

Star-nosed mole
Star-nosed mole

The star-nosed mole is a small animal with thick, blackish-brown, waterproof fur that lives in wet areas, mostly in the northern parts of the US. They have a weird looking nose with 22 appendages. The star-like extension is not there just to make these animals weird-looking, but it contains 25,000 touch receptors known as Eimer’s organ. The moles move around, feeling their surroundings with the help of these receptors. They can even detect seismic waves and help these blind creatures to get around, find food, and dig a hole. The star-nosed mole weighs about 55 grams and has 44 teeth.

Ice Fish

Chionodraco rastrospinosus – Ocellated icefish
Chionodraco rastrospinosus – Ocellated icefish

The ice fish lives mostly in the Southern Ocean around the coasts of Antarctica, South America, and New Zealand. Their depth range is 0–4,921 ft and they live in temperatures below zero. Some of the subpolar species, like the ones around New Zealand and South America, live in waters that are 32 degrees Fahrenheit. The blood of the ice fish contains a glycoprotein that acts as an antifreeze and helps it stay alive in severe cold water.

Most of the subpolar fish species contain some form of antifreeze-like proteins in their blood and body fluids, but not all of them. Another interesting fact about the ice fish is that its body only has 1% of hemoglobin, unlike other animals that have around 45%. So, have you ever heard of a bloodless living creature that has antifreeze instead of blood?

Sea Pig

A living Scotoplanes globosa, or sea pig, from Monterey Bay with a juvenile king crab sheltering beneath it at a depth of approx. 1260 meters. Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, 2016 – Author: NOAA/MBARI – CC BY-SA 3.0
A living Scotoplanes globosa, or sea pig, from Monterey Bay with a juvenile king crab sheltering beneath it at a depth of approx. 1260 meters. Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, 2016 – Author: NOAA/MBARI – CC BY-SA 3.0

The sea pig has no similarities to the pig that we know, except maybe the color of the flesh. This creature is actually a sea cucumber with feet. They are described as little aliens by many people that have seen them. Sea pigs are not rare, and they inhabit the floors of all the oceans in the world, even in extremely cold waters. They always move in groups of hundreds, and despite their oddness, the sea pig is quite popular among marine life lovers.

Portuguese man of war

Portuguese man o’ war in Tayrona National Natural Park, Colombia – Author: Biusch – CC BY-SA 3.0
Portuguese man o’ war in Tayrona National Natural Park, Colombia – Author: Biusch – CC BY-SA 3.0

The Portuguese man of war, or the floating terror, lives in the Atlantic Ocean, but can be found in the Pacific, too. It’s often mistaken for a jellyfish, but it is not one. The man of war is a siphonophore. No idea what that is, right? Siphonophore is a colonial organism made of many individual animals from similar species that live and function together as one.

These individual organisms are called polyps or zooids and they can’t survive on their own. But, connected with others and living in a group they function like one body. The tentacles of a Portuguese man of war are very poisonous and sometimes can even be deadly. Stings from a Portuguese man o’ war are often extremely painful. They live on the surface of the water, so the chances to get stung by one are quite high. The Indo-Pacific man of war has way more victims than the Atlantic one. The Indo-Pacific man of war is responsible for 10,000 stings to humans around Australia. If you ever see something like this swimming near you, quickly get out of the water.

Imagine just what else is yet to be discovered. Isn’t the world amazing?

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