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Showing posts from December, 2020

Taita African Caecilian

TAITA AFRICAN CAECILIAN ( Boulengerula taitana ) Image modified from Wikipedia. Original image by Milvus     When I was a kid, my family was friends with this other family, and one of the older sons had a tank of caecilians. These animals were very confusing to me, because "caecilian" and "Sicilian" are pronounced approximately the same way, and I couldn't figure out what limbless tropical amphibians had to do with Sicily. Nevertheless, I thought they were really cool and always asked if I could go look at them when we were visiting over there. And then I didn't think about them for like 15 years, until I was at university and learning about amphibians for my animal taxonomy course and saw the word written down and was like "ohhhhhhhhhh" Appearance Caecilians look like the love child of a snake and a slug. In the grand scheme of things, this is not that weird: right now the internet is all freaked out about carcinization, but only because it hasn&#

European Stag Beetle

 EUROPEAN STAG BEETLE ( Lucanus cervus ) Modified from wikipedia Original image by Simon A. Eugster Stag beetles are a whole group of insects with big fuck-off horns on their face. I'm gonna talk about the best-known species, Lucanus cervus , whose name means "Lucanian deer", and is sort of condescending to the literal deer that presumably live in Lucania. Appearance Stag beetles exhibit sexual dimorphism, which means the females look physically different from the males. Female stag beetles look pretty much like your average beetle - that is to say, pretty and shiny, but don't make you say "woah, what the hell is that thing???" The male stag beetle (pictured), on the other hand, looks absolutely ridiculous. Like, what do you have going on there, buddy? Pinchers? For pinching? Who are you going to pinch with those? What look like pinchers are actually grotesquely oversized mandibles - the part of the insect used for grabbing and breaking up food. They need re