Red tides, a common term for the more proper name of “harmful algal blooms” (HABs), occur when colonies of algae—simple ocean plants that live in the sea—grow out of control while producing toxic or harmful effects on people, fish, shellfish, marine mammals and birds. The human illnesses caused by HABs, though rare, can be debilitating or even fatal. As the name suggests, the bloom of algae often turns the water red.
But not all algal blooms are harmful. Most blooms, in fact, are beneficial because the tiny plants are food for animals in the ocean. In fact, they are the major source of energy that fuels the ocean food web.
The fire tornado or fire devil, one of nature’s rarest phenomenon, is caused when a column of superheated, rising air comes into contact with a wildfire. Basically its a tornado composed of fire instead of dust.
Film-maker Chris Tangey of Alice Springs Film and Television was filming a wildfire in Curtin Springs, Australia, when a small twister touched down causing it to build into a spinning flame. Just 300 meters away was a 30 meter high fire swirl which “sounded like a fighter jet” despite there being no wind in the area. The tornado that Tangey caught on camera reportedly lasted for more than 40 minutes.
(Source: Daily Mail)
The Real Abandoned Overlook Hotel
Unlike the fictional Overlook Hotel in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, this hotel is really named the Overlook. The abandoned hotel is located in the small, wine growing town of Bernkastel-Kues in Germany. Aside from the fact that it has been unoccupied for about 13 years, there is no information as to why the hotel was closed. All of the furniture remains and it looks as if everyone there simply left. There are rumors that the hotel is haunted. According to urban explorers who frequent the spooky site, cameras malfunction, sounds can be heard throughout the premises and items seem to move around the hotel by themselves.
- Devil’s Flower Mantis - one of the largest types of praying mantis, they can measure up to 13 centimeters in length and have a range of coloring that allows them to mimic the Devil’s Flower, a type of orchid.
- Pipevine Swallowtail Caterpillar - before transforming into a beautiful fluorescent blue butterfly, its an armored, blood-red caterpillar with tinted visor shades for eyes and a quadruple row of blunt horns running across its body.
- Scorpionfly (Mecoptera) - neither scorpion or fly, what looks like a scorpion’s stinger on the insect is actually its genitals.
- Calleta Silkmoth Caterpillar - with a massive color range and dangerous looking barbs, this caterpillar is something most predators avoid.
- Giant Prickly Stick Insect (Extatosoma tiaratum) - as the largest known stick insect, it reaches lengths of 20 centimeters. It is covered with large thorny spikes which double as camouflage and defensive armor.
- Goliath Beetle - can grow more than 4 inches in length and weigh about 100 grams in their larval stage. It is alleged to be mostly vegetarian.
Kayaking Across an Active Volcano
Extreme sports photographer Alexandre Socci accompanied professional kayaker Pedro Oliva and his team as they decided to take on the turbulent waters surrounding Kilauea, an active volcano on the southeast slope of Mauna Loa in south-central Hawaii. Unlike a typical water expedition, though, the group kayaked alongside flows of molten lava as it streamed down the gushing volcano.
Twice the Scare
This two headed albino milk snake was born last year in Florida. The condition is known as Polycephaly and occurs when monozygotic twins fail to separate completely. Most organisms with this condition will not live for long, but occasionally you will get cases like this one, where the snake seems healthy enough and can live for years.
The heads act independently of one another, and will fight over food given the opportunity.
Piebald Ball Python by JAMills
Literally, a snake ball.
Creepy Vintage Ventriloquist Dummy Portraits
These are Vaudeville era performers with their creepy ventriloquist dummies. The first one actually looks like he might be funny, but I can’t say that for the rest. Some are eerily unsettling and others are just plain scary. Perfect fodder for the Twilight Zone or your nightmares.
The Fish with Human Teeth
This is not a Photoshop job. This is the very strange smile of a sheepshead fish. Like humans, these fish have both incisors and molars — perfect for masticating an omnivorous diet. Apparently, they also taste good.
Sheepshead fish are a common North American marine species that span from Cape Cod and Massachusetts through to Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to Brazil. Preferring coastal habitats around rock pilings, jetties, mangroves, reefs and piers, they can grow up to around 91 cm in length and weigh up to 9.6 kg. They have five to seven distinctive black, vertical bars running down their silvery bodies, which is why the sheepshead is also called the convict fish.