Ocean sunfish are some of the heaviest in the world, weighing between 250 and 1,000 pounds. They resemble miniature pufferfish and are a delicacy in certain Asian countries like Taiwan, Korea, and Japan. Sunfish have few predators, though sea lions and sharks will happily consume them. Their females produce an incredible 300,000,000 eggs per lay.
Vogelkop Superb Bird-of-Paradise
Until recently, the Vogelkop superb bird-of-paradise was treated as a subspecies of the superb bird-of-paradise, but it received the title of a full species because of its beautiful black feathers that absorb 99.95% of light. Also, the behavioral differences between males and females are quite marked. These birds are primarily found in the mountains of Western New Guinea in Indonesia.
The aye-aye, living exclusively in Madagascar, is the world’s largest nocturnal primate. It has an odd method of finding food, by tapping on trees to find grubs. The aye-aye then bores holes in the wood and uses its unusually long middle finger to pull the grubs out. In that regard, it much resembles the common woodpecker because it can penetrate wood for its food.
Japanese Spider Crab
The Japanese spider crab has the largest leg span of any arthropod, reaching up to five meters. It is regularly fished and considered to be a delicacy. These crabs have armored skeletons that help protect them from large protectors. Still, they also have an intricate form of camouflage by blending into the ocean floor and decorating its shell with sponges and other animals.
Pink Fairy Armadillo
The pink fairy armadillo is the smallest of its species and can be found living in the deserts of Argentina. Their conservation status is still uncertain, but its population decline has primarily been associated with farming. Their field sightings are rare, and individuals that were caught in the wild don’t live more than a couple of the days in captivity.
The purple frog is found exclusively in India, where it is the object of many superstitions. They are also part of the diet of their local communities. A burrowing species, it has been found to forage for termites underground using its tongue and buccal groove. The purple frog’s body helps them to hang on to submerged rocks so that they may fight the strong currents in the stream banks where they reside.
Blue Dragon (Glaucus Atlanticus)
Blue Dragons are a type of sea slug that floats upside down by utilizing the surface tension of the water to stay up. They are then carried along by the winds and ocean currents. The slug makes great use of countershading because the blue side of their bodies faces upwards, which then blends with the blue of the water. They use a powerful stinger as their primary defense mechanism.
Jerboas reside in the deserts of North Africa and are a lot like kangaroos in many ways. They can move incredibly fast and travel around by hopping. A natural predator escapee, it can easily change speed and directions, making it quite difficult to catch. A bipedal animal, they are primarily active at night, preferring to burrow away from the sun during the day.
Also known as the Mexican walking fish, the axolotl is found in several lakes south of the border. It is a strange amphibian because instead of developing lungs and taking to land in adulthood, it remains water-bound and with gills. The axolotl is now nearly extinct because of urbanization in Mexico City. To add to this danger, these salamanders were also sold as food in markets and were a staple in the Aztecs’ diet.
These enormous birds are easily identified by the large horn on its bill called a casque, which is used in head to head combat among the males. Sadly enough, the helmeted hornbill is near to extension because of the high value of its casque. Today, fewer than 100 are left living in Thai forests. At least 546 hornbill beaks have been sold on Thai social media in the last five years.
Ctenophores, also known as comb jellies, live in waters worldwide and are characterized by the tooth-like extremities that they use to swim. Most of these animals are predators and prefer to consume larvae, rotifers, and small crustaceans. They have no nervous system but, instead, contain a nerve net that forms a ring around its mouth and the inner layers of its combs.
The heikegani is a bizarre type of crab in that its shell resembles a human face. This has thus given it the nickname of the Samurai crab. Carl Sagan has a theory that when these crabs were fished, those that bore a resemblance to a person were thrown back into the water out of respect for the warriors. This hypothesis is very much debatable.
Lowland Streaked Tenrec
The lowland streaked tenrec is exclusively found in Madagascar, off the coast of Africa. This bird is active day and night, seeking out earthworms, but they sometimes eat other invertebrates. They have been seen stamping their feet on the earth in order to increase worm activity to ease the foraging process. Another adaption is the long snout that is used to poke around the ground to find food.
The saiga antelope is now severely endangered and comes from the Eurasian steppe region. These animals form huge herds that graze in steppes, grasslands, and semideserts. They eat several species of plants, some of which of poisonous to the majority of other animals. The saiga can cover long distances and swim across intense rivers, but can’t handle rugged or steep areas.
The Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock gets its name because it goes into boulders to mate. It lives across the forested regions of South America, where it primarily subsists on black or red fruit. These birds generally live in groups called leks, where they are able to exercise their complex courting behavior and warn each other of possible predators.
The Ankole-Watusi bull has a particularly interesting history. Though it derives from central African cattle, some of these animals were brought to Germany as a zoo novelty in the early twentieth century. A few were taken to the United States, and a herd was started in New York by cross-breeding some with a Canadian bull. Today, 80% of the Ankole-Watusi live in the United States.
Giant African Land Snail
The giant African land snail is oftentimes confiscated by the quarantine authorities at airports in the United States. These huge pets are often kept as pets in the western world because of their rarity, but they are actually very dangerous to agriculture, natural ecosystems, human health, or commerce. These snails have already established themselves in Florida, where they are considered a pest.
This odd-looking monkey can be characterized by its long nose and reddish-brown coat. It makes its home on the Asian island of Borneo and generally lives in forests and on the coast. The proboscis usually lives in a clan of one male and several females plus their offspring, though they have been known to live as individuals. They are herbivores, primarily feeding on seeds and plants.
The hammer-headed bat is the largest in Africa, with the males being much larger than the females. Their skulls are very specific and are diagnosed by their dental features because the premolars and molars are markedly lobed. No other African fruit bats have this particular characteristic. Because their fruit diet is low in protein, they have an especially long digestive track that allows them to better absorb amino acids.
Hairy frogs are mostly found in Central Africa and are identifiable by the hair-like markers on the sides and thighs of the males. These are thought to increase the surface area and serve a similar purpose as external gills. Though this species primarily resides on land, it returns to the water to reproduce. It has an odd set of claws that are made of broken bone instead of keratin.
The star-nosed mole is primarily characterized by the formation at the tip of its nose. This minute organ contains 25,000 sensory receptors, the most out of any member of its tribe. As a result of this appendage, it is able to detect seismic movements and can smell underwater. Even though their eyes are poor, they have the capacity to detect prey using their noses, also known as Eimer’s organ.
Mexican Mole Lizard
The Mexican mole lizard is native to Baja California and lives most of its life underground. Living from one to two years, the females lay their eggs underground in mid-summer. They have strong front legs, the better to burrow, but their back legs have evolved into obsoletion. This lizard only surfaces in the dark or after heavy rain and survives off of termites, ants, and earthworms.
Tarsiers are the only carnivorous primate, a tall order given the large variety of this order. They catch lizards, snakes, and birds, though they prefer to eat arthropods, by leaping on them. These animals are quite nocturnal and vary tremendously based on their geographical location in as much as their skulls are different depending on the climate.
The bigfin squid is controversial because of its lack of sightings. Though it was first spotted in 1988, the information was damaged and so was not considered valid. Very little is known about this squid, though it is hypothesized that it collects food off of the ocean floor by dragging its long arms across it and grabbing anything edible.
This adorable little octopus has few of the characteristics of its less pale counterparts. It generally resides on the seafloor though its body looks a lot like those of shallow-water species. This mollusk has a particularly strange reproductive method in that it lays thirty eggs at a time on a dead sponge and attaches itself to it for years on end.
Though it is still called a fish, the red-lipped bat is a very poor swimmer and instead resides on the ocean floor, where it lures its prey with its spine-like dorsal fin. This small animal primarily feeds on small invertebrates like shrimp and little crabs. It also has an esca that serves as a light to attract food sources. They primarily live in the Galapagos and off of Peru.
The silkie chicken is most easily recognized by its extremely soft and fluffy plumage, something that makes it highly appealing for young children to keep as pets. These chickens are, in fact, quite friendly and do very well with human companions. Though they do not lay many eggs, the silkie is often used to hatch other species because of how warm their feathers are.
This bat is among the strangest looking of the entire species. They have peculiar flaps of skin and storage pouches in their mouths that allow them to keep fruit on hand. The wrinkle-faced bat has a very short and wide skull, a feature that allows them to produce bite forces up to 20% higher than other similarly sized bats. This biting force is useful when softer fruit is scarce.
This rather revolting-looking species has eyes on top of its head, giving it the name of stargazer fish. Their mouths are also upwards facing and are their primary method of attracting food. When they are ready to prey, they bury themselves in the sand and leap forward to capture its victim, sometimes poisoning it with its venom. The stargazer is a delicacy in some cultures, and the venom is not poisonous when ingested.
The remora is often found in coastal waters in the Atlantic or in the Mediterranean. What makes this creature especially unique is the strange suction cup that adorns the top of its head. This apparatus is used to attach itself onto the stomach of larger animals like sharks. This is a mutually beneficial arrangement because the remora cleans the host animal while getting rides around the water and protection from predators.
Eastern Long-Necked Turtle
The eastern long-necked turtle managed to make its home in the waters of Eastern Australia. Because it is a side-necked turtle, it retracts its head into its shell by turning it sideways rather than straight back like the majority of the species. The eastern long-neck is carnivorous, primarily feeding on insects and small fish.
The clawed frog, or xenopus, is an entirely aquatic creature, though they have been known to migrate during times of drought or heavy rain. They can be found in lakes, rivers, and swamps. Oddly enough, the clawed frog is both a predator and a scavenger, and since they cannot use their tongues, they make clicks underwater to communicate.
Mata Mata Turtle
This extraordinary turtle is local to South America and has a few unusual features, the most impressive being its shell. Unlike many turtles that have relatively fragile shells, the Mata Mata isn’t prepared to get knawed on. This turtle is especially slow-moving and prefers to inhabit stagnant pools, marshes, and swamps. They are usually found in Northern Bolivia and Venezuela.
Spike-Nosed Tree Frog
The spike-nosed tree frog, also known as the Pinocchio frog, is primarily extraordinary because of, surprise surprise, its beak-like nose. Not only is it odd on its own, but it inflates and deflates based on whether it is calm or calling out. Initially discovered in the Foja mountains of Indonesia, it baffled the scientists from a National Geographic Society during their expedition in 2008.