10 Wild Facts About Chameleons
- 1 — Changes in light, temperature or emotion can prompt Chameleons to change color - they do not change color to camouflage themselves.
- 2 — Their tongues moves faster than human eyes can follow, hitting their prey in about 30 thousandths of a second. They have ballistic tongues that are 1.5 - 2 times the length of their body.
- 3 — The word ‘chameleon’ is a combination of two Greek words, “Chamai”, meaning ‘on the ground’ and “Leon” meaning ‘lion’.
- 4 — Chameleons do not have any ears.
- 5 — Almost half of the world’s species live on the island of Madagascar with 59 different species there. There are approximately 160 species of chameleon worldwide.
- 6 — Chameleon eyes have a 360-degree arc of vision and can see two directions at once. They can rotate and focus separately to observe two different objects simultaneously, which lets their eyes move independently of each other.
- 7 — Their feet resemble tongs with five toes that are fused into one group of two and another group of three.
- 8 — A prehensile tail is adapted for grasping especially by wrapping around an object.
- 9 — Males are typically much more ornamented. Many have head or facial ornamentation such as horn-like projections while others have large crests on top of their heads.
- 10 — Chameleons vary greatly in size and structure. Their lengths can vary from 15 millimeters (0.6 in) in the male Brookesia micra (one of the world’s smallest reptiles) to 68.5 centimeters (30 in) in the male Furcifer oustaleti.
Coconut Crab — The Largest Crab on Earth
Coconut crabs (Birgus latro), also known as robber crabs or palm thieves, can grow over 3 feet (1 m) in length and weigh up to 9 pounds (4.3 kg). It is the largest land-living arthropod in the world. Unfortunately their numbers are dwindling as they are hunted for their meat. They are a protected species in most areas.
The largest population of coconut crabs is found on Christmas Island, an Australian territory in the Indian Ocean. As you might recall from a previous post on Curious History, Christmas Island is also home to the largest annual red crab migration on Earth. Perhaps the island should consider a name change.
Blue is the most common color for coconut crabs, although they are also found in shades of orange and red or a combination of all three. As for diet, they eat fruits, nuts, seeds and coconuts, but given the opportunity they will eat carion (animal carcasses). To obtain coconuts, these crabs are famous for their dexterity of tree climbing and jumping to obtain the fruit. Their goal is to have the coconut crack open after hitting the ground. Once open, they use their pincers to tear at the thick, fleshy fruit.
At Curious History, we love strange animals. They show just how diversified animal species are on this planet and how so many them, if seen out of their native habitat, look more like creatures from science fiction novels. Evolution has created an innumerable amount of unusual life forms and the red-lipped batfish (Ogcocepphalus darwini) is no exception.
Native to the Galapagos Islands, this fish moves from place to place using modified fins to “walk” across the ocean floor instead of swim, as they are bottom dwelling creatures. It is believed that the function of the bright red lips may be to enhance species recognition during spawning.
Caterpillar of Feathers
Here’s a fantastic optical illusion courtesy of mother nature. What looks like a vibrantly colored caterpillar perched on a tree limb is actually photographer José Luis Rodríguez’s chance encounter with nine European Bee-eaters, a species of beautiful, brightly colored birds. The photographer named the image Oruga de Plumas, which translates roughly to “Caterpillar of Feathers”.
The Butterfly of the Sea
This is fish is called the Sea Robin, otherwise known as a Gurnard or The Butterfly of the Sea. This interesting fish is a bottom dweller. They have several sets of specialized fins, including some that allow the fish to swim and others that let it perch on the seafloor. It’s not related to flying fish, nor do they glide in air. The Sea Robin’s large pectoral fins are normally held against the body, but are spread out when threatened to put off predators.
The Amazing Jellies
Jellyfish or jellies are the major non-polyp form of individuals of the phylum Cnidaria. They are free-swimming marine animals consisting of a gelatinous umbrella-shaped bell and trailing tentacles. Most jellies are bioluminescent (self-producing light), resembling colorful, floating lamps. Jellyfish have roamed the seas for 500 to 700 million years, making them the oldest multi-organ animal on the planet.