the most 5 strange animals on the earth
1/ Leafy Seadragon
The leafy seadragon (Phycodurus eques) can be found on the southern and eastern coasts of Australia, in waters up to fifty meters deep. These magnificent creatures have some of the most elaborate camouflages in the animal kingdom. They measure up to twenty-four centimeters long and have a collection of yellow or brown leaf-like appendages covering their bodies. These appendages hide them well amongst the kelp, seaweed, and seagrass that grows in shallow coastal waters.
The fish has tiny, transparent fins which beat very slightly to avoid attracting attention from predators. Because of the size of its fins, the fish moves extremely slowly through the water, appearing to drift in the current like seaweed. It is also able to change its color based on its surroundings.
Leafy seadragons eat small shrimp, amphipods and plankton which are sucked up through their pipe-shaped mouth. Like their close relative the seahorse, males look after the eggs, which are placed onto his tail by the female, and then attach to the male’s brood patch, remaining there until they hatch nine weeks later. This is a threatened species, which is often caught for the aquarium trade, and for use in alternative ‘medicine’. Pollution and habitat loss also pose a big risk to the future of the species.
Giraffe weevils (Trachelophorus giraffe) are native to Madagascar and measure 2.5 centimeters. This species has a bright red wing case and a black body, but the most prominent feature is its absurdly long neck, that is used for fighting and building intricate nests.
Males have a much larger neck, which can be up to three times as long as the females! When two males are fighting, the female will wait nearby for the champion to emerge and will even act as a sort of ‘referee’ during the fight.
After the fighting has ended, and mating has occurred, the female carefully cuts a leaf and folds up the end where she lays a single egg. The leaf is then chewed off and drops to the forest floor where it will eventually hatch, and the larvae inside get their nutrients from their plant cocoon. The weevil is very picky when it comes to nesting material, and only uses leaves from two closely related tree species. They also feed exclusively on these trees and spend most of their lives on their branch- es.
The common gliding lizard (Draco sumatranus) from Southeast Asia is a real-life dragon! Well, kind of. This lizard has elongated ribs that extend into a wing membrane, allowing it to glide for great distances. Gliding is a big advantage for these animals, as it helps them get away from predators very quickly. There are forty-two species of gliding lizards, which spend most of their lives in the trees.
Only females leave the relative safety of the canopy so they can lay their eggs in the ground. The common gliding lizard feeds mainly on ants and termites and reaches just nine centimeters in length.
Males have a yellow ‘throat flag’ called a gular fold, which is used for communication, and to attract mates. Females also have a fold, but it’s much smaller and blue in color. Although these lizards can’t actually fly, they can travel an impressive sixty meters through the air during a single glide! Their gliding membrane and ribs can be extended like a fan, and it’s folded close to the body when not in use.
Some species of gliding lizard can change their color slightly to match the patterns and colors of different tree trunks. The lizard’s population trends are currently not known, although deforestation may be affecting their numbers.
Belugas (Delphinapterus leucas) are white-skinned whales found in the Arctic and sub-Arctic oceans.
They grow to over five meters long, weigh up to 1600 kilograms, and possess a gigantic, bulbous head that houses an echolocation organ called ‘the melon’. This organ can produce a beam of sound waves that help the whale navigate around the ice, find air pockets and hunt prey.
The beluga’s diet consists mainly of fish, crabs, and mollusks, and they can dive seven hundred meters to find food. They uncover burrowing prey by spitting a stream of water at the seafloor, forcing away the silt surrounding them. Their unusual white color acts as a camouflage, allowing the whales to blend into the surrounding polar ice caps.
Despite measuring over five meters, belugas are some of the smallest whales and are hunted by apex predators such as orcas and polar bears.
Another unique feature of the beluga is that it seasonally sheds its skin and will rub itself on gravel riverbeds in order to remove it.
The whale’s blubber makes up about forty percent of its body weight, which protects it from the freezing waters it inhabits. Belugas are one of the most sociable whales, and often travel and hunt in pods of hundreds of individuals.
They carry objects on their backs during the breeding season such as wood, nets, and bones, and they play with bubbles or random objects in the water. The beluga’s main threats include hunting, disease, and pollution.
There are around 160 species of stalk-eyed fly (Diopsidae) which can be found on every continent apart from Antarctica. They measure up to one centimeter in length and feed on the bacteria and fungi that grow on rotting animals and plants.
These insects have bizarre eyes that are mounted on the end of long stalks, extend- ing outwards from the sides of the head. In some species, the eyestalks can actually be longer than the fly’s entire body! Eyestalks are an advantage when it comes to vision, but they pose a problem during flight, as they reduce aerodynamics and increase the fly’s weight.
This characteristic probably evolved because females prefer males with longer stalks, as it signifies good health.
Males compete for territory, and those with bigger stalks scare off smaller rivals.
If two males with eyestalks of equal length meet, they will fight by punching each other with their front legs. After the stalk-eyed fly hatches from its pupal case, it will suck air into its mouth, and then push it through tubes in its head, causing the stalks to extend outwards.
They must do this right after they hatch, as their tissues are still soft and inflatable.