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

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In French, Ménage à trois literally means ‘household of three’.

English: Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis)

Varanus Komodoensis or Komodo dragon

The Komodo dragon (Varanus Komodoensis) is capable of virgin births. A female Komodo can lay fertile eggs without mating – a phenomenon known as Parthenogenesis.

Like humans, the Bonobo Chimpanzee (Pan Paniscus) and the Bighorn sheep (Ovis Canadensis) sometimes engage in group sex.

St. Adrian Nicodemia is the patron saint of arms-dealers.

The word adolescent comes from one of two Latin verbs spelt adoleo. One means ‘to make bigger’ and the other means ‘to emit a smell’.

See other: Quite Interesting Facts

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The Spanish have a wider range of foods flavoured with almonds than any other country in the world.

Vibrissae near the nose and above the eyes of ...

The Phoca Vitulina or Harbor Seal

Bats are the only mammals that can fly, but a quarter of all species of mammals are bats.

Aerodontia is the branch of dentistry dealing with dental problems caused by flying.

Raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, cherries, plums, apples and pears are all kinds of rose.

In order to gain one pound in weight, a seal has to indirectly consume 10,000 pounds of tiny marine plants called phytoplankton. The 10,000 pounds of phytoplankton are eaten by 1000 pounds of tiny marine animals called zooplankton, which in turn are eaten by 100 pounds of small fish such as herring or anchovies, which provide food for 10 pounds of larger fish, which are eaten by the aforementioned seal.

See other: Quite Interesting Facts

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No birds have teeth, but baby birds have an ‘egg-tooth’ – a small hard growth which they use to break out of their shells and which falls off soon after hatching.

Phoenix dactylifera

Phoenix Dactylifera

The smallest trees in the world are the dwarf willows that grow on the tundra of Greenland. They are only two inches tall.

Most of the dozen or so species of date palms in the genus Phoenix (family Palmae) are grown as ornamental plants. Only the common date palm, Phoenix dactylifera is grown for its fruit.

Johann Gregor Mendel (1822-84) is known as the ‘Father of Genetics’. For eight years (1856-63) he studied peas, growing over 10,000 pea plants and carefully noting the results.

Red kangaroos give birth to only one baby at a time, but have a spare fertilised egg in their bodies. If the first baby dies, the second egg develops into a fully- grown kangaroo.

See other: Quite Interesting Facts

Flying Mammal

‘They [bats] are the only mammal to sprout wings and fly, opening up a whole new world of habitats and food sources. Their order name Chiroptera means ‘hand wing’, and their wings remain recognisable as hands, with a thumb and four fingers. If ours grew to match them, it would be almost 7 feet long and thinner than knitting needles. […]

Vampire bats (Desmodus Rotundus) feed mainly on cattle, horses, tapirs and turkeys. If they do dine on humans, they usually go for the big toe, not the neck, but can only manage two table-spoons at one sitting. They are the only mammals that feed exclusively on blood.’

– Lloyd. J., Mitchinson. J. 2007. The QI Book of Animals London, Great Britain: Faber and Faber (2009) p. 14-15

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An okapi can wash its own ears inside and out with its tongue.

Okapi sandiego

An Okapia Johnstoni or Okapi

The praying mantis has only one ear, which is located between its legs.

Human ears contain the smallest muscles and the smallest bones in the human body.

A golden eagle is seven and a half feet wide but weighs less than nine pounds.

The bioluminescent Giant Siphonophore can grow 40 metres long – almost twice as long as a blue whale – but its body is only as thick as a broomstick.

Ants’ Mating Ball

‘Ant species mate in a variety of different ways: in mid-air, on the ground or in a ‘mating-ball’, where the queen is completely surrounded by a swarm of love-addled males.’

– Lloyd. J., Mitchinson. J. 2007. The QI Book of Animals London, Great Britain: Faber and Faber (2009) p. 8