Amazing Animal Facts (i)


Anglerfish: The male deep-sea anglerfish is much smaller than the female. But he has giant eyes to look for a suitable female and enormous nostrils to sniff out her pheromones.

Having found her, he latches onto her with his teeth and then starts to disappear. Scales, bones, blood vessels all merge into those of the female. After a few weeks, all that’s left of the male are the testes hanging off the female’s side, supplying her with his genes.

The Antennarius Striatus or Striped Anglerfish

Ant: More than 200 species of ant farm fungi for food. They gather compost for the fungus to grow on, fertilise it with their dung, prune it and even fumigate it with a powerful bacteria to keep it parasite-free. But they don’t get it all their own way. Several species find out too late that fungi can sometimes farm them.

Spores work their way inside the ant’s body and release an “override” pheromone that scrambles its orderly world. Confused and reeling, it finds itself climbing to the top of a tall plant stalk and clamping itself there with its jaws. Once in place, the fungus’s fruiting body erupts as a spike from the insect’s brain and sprinkles a dust of spores on the ant’s unsuspecting sisters toiling below.

Beaver: In 1760, the College of Physicians and Faculty of Divinity in Paris classified the beaver as a fish because of its scaly tail. This meant that the French settlers in North America could officially eat beaver during Lent and on other fast days. Beaver tail is supposed to taste like roast beef.

Bee: Bees can recognise human faces. Given that many humans struggle with this once they have turned 40, it seems utterly remarkable in a creature whose brain is the size of a pinhead. Yet bees who are rewarded with nectar when shown some photos of faces, and not rewarded when shown others, quickly learn to tell the difference. Not that we should read too much into this. Bees don’t “think” in a meaningful way. The “faces” in the experiment were clearly functioning as rather odd-looking flowers, not as people they wanted to get to know socially.

Beetle: If diversity and adaptability are the measuring sticks for success, then beetles are the most successful animals on the planet. There are 350,000 known species, with up to eight million more out there waiting for names: new species are being discovered at an average rate of one an hour. If you lined up all animal and plant species in a row, every fifth species would be a beetle. There are about 750,000,000,000,000,000 individual beetles going about their business right now.

See other: Amazing Animal Facts

Mating Anglerfish


‘The male deep-sea anglerfish is much smaller than the female and doesn’t have a lure. He’s interested in mating, not fishing. He uses his giant eyes to look for a suitable female, and his enormous nostrils to sniff out her pheromones. Having found her, he latches on to her with his teeth and then starts to disappear. Scales, bones, blood vessels all merge into those of the female. After a few weeks all that’s left of the male are the testes hanging of the female’s side, supplying her with sperm. Females have been found with eight testes attached to their sides.

In some species, if the male fails to find a female, then he will eventually turn into one himself and grow massively in size.’

– Lloyd. J., Mitchinson. J. 2007. The QI Book of Animals London, Great Britain: Faber and Faber (2009) p. 7