Didn't Know That Existed

A short blog about animals, places, and things you had no idea existed until right now

The Resplendent quetzal

The Resplendent quetzal flies in the cloud forests of central America. It was venerated as the “god of the air” by the ancient Aztecs and Maya, and their rulers adorned their headdresses with its long tail feathers.

Abronia

Abronia is a genus of dragon-like lizards from central America. They are known locally as the ‘tree-scorpion’ as they often defend themselves with an aggressive bite.

The Basket Star

This incredible animal is the Basket Star. They live in the cold, deep ocean, and this one was found off South Africa. Prey like small worms will fall into their long branches, which curl up to enclose them.

The Dragonhead Caterpillar

In the jungle canopies of the Himalayas there is a relatively plan-looking brown and yellow butterfly whose larval stage is something incredible. It’s the half-dragon, half-pokemon looking Dragonhead Caterpillar.

The Sea Robin

This is an extremely strange fish called the Sea Robin. Apart being extremely vibrant and colourful, it has 6 spindly legs underneath its dorsal fins with which it walks along the ocean floor. Super weird.

The Philippine Eagle

The Philippine Eagle also known as the ‘Monkey Eating Eagle,’ is the apex predator of its range. It is the longest eagle in world with a wingspan of over one meter.

The Rainbow Sea Slug

Rainbow sea slugs will eat hydrozoids (small stinging animals related to jellyfish) and will store their stinging cells throughout their skin, to protect themselves against predators.

Pink-necked green Pigeon

The pink-necked green pigeon loves to eat fruits, especially figs, and is crucial to dispersing seeds in forests and woodlands. It has also learned to thrive in garden cities like Singapore.

The Indian Bullfrog

The Indian Bullfrog is a large, nocturnal frog that will grow up to 6 inches. It’s an invasive species that will lay up to 6,000 eggs in a single clutch, and the tadpoles that hatch will eat anything including each other.

Diablo Lake

Diablo Lake in Washington state USA, gets its brilliant colour from its surrounding glaciers that grind rocks into a fine powder. The powder is carried into the lake through creeks where it is suspended in the water, giving it a brilliant colour.

Breakthrough Starshot

This week I learned about ‘Breakthrough Starshot’, which is a project that aims to launch a fleet of spacecraft to a neighbouring star by 2036. The spacecraft are tiny (about 1 centimeter large, not including their sails) and they’d carry miniature cameras and other equipment. The idea is that a swarm of these tiny spacecraft could be accelerated through space by huge lasers down on Earth. They would be able to reach the habitable planet Proxima Centauri b within 20 to 30 years. A truly amazing idea.

Three new planets!

Three new planets have been discovered ‘just’ 12 light-years from Earth, and one of them is in the habitable zone of its star. It is another piece of evidence suggesting that there are many, many small planets out there that could harbor water. (Artwork by M. Kornmesser at ESO)

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