WHY IS OCTOPUS BLOOD BLUE?

The octopus is a surprisingly complex creature and, quite possibly, the world's original "blue blood." Its 500 million neurons are distributed throughout its head and body, compared to the 100 billion neurons in our brains. The octopus's brain power isn't easily apparent at first glance, but it's proven itself capable of planning, reasoning and -- predicting sporting matchups. On the planning front, researchers have discovered that octopuses in Indonesia will gather coconut shell halves in preparation for stormy weather, then take shelter by going inside the two pieces of shell and holding it shut.

So what makes these smart sea creatures so adaptable? The ability is literally in their blood. The same pigment that gives the octopus blood its blue color, hemocyanin, is responsible for keeping the species alive at extreme temperatures. Hemocyanin is a blood-borne protein containing copper atoms that bind to an equal number of oxygen atoms. It's part of the blood plasma in invertebrates.

Blue-hued hemocyanin binds to oxygen in the blood and transports it throughout the octopus's body to supply tissues, a critical factor in its survival. Octopuses have three hearts and need more oxygen than most other invertebrates, so the hemocyanin allows octopuses to get a steady oxygen supply, even when it isn't readily available in their environment. It also ensures that they survive in temperatures that would be deadly for many creatures, ranging from temperatures as low as 28 degrees Fahrenheit (negative 1.8 degrees Celsius) to superheated temperatures near the ocean's thermal vents.

Researchers suspect the "blue blood" adaptation is the result of the octopus's inability to migrate away from challenging environmental conditions.

Credit : How stuff works

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WHAT ARE THE FUN FACTS ABOUT DUGONG?

A Dugong (family: Dugongidae) is the only herbivorous marine mammal found in deep waters. Dugong is a mammal that is closely related to elephants. It is a huge bulbous animal who is usually grey brown in color. Like whales, they have flattened fluked tail, a distinctive head shape, paddle like flippers but do not have any dorsal fin. The dugong is a marine mammal that is the only herbivore found in the deep waters that eats seagrass. Dugongs, even though they resemble a manatee, do not belong to the family of manatees. They weigh less than manatees and have different physical characteristics. Their rarity and the decreasing population are a great threat to their extinction. Issues like degradation of sea beds and illegal fishing traps are a major threat to the Dugong population.

There are very few dugongs that live in shallow waters of Australia, the Indian, and Pacific Ocean. Dugongs are listed as creatures that are vulnerable to extinction by the IUCN Red List. The numbers of these beautiful sea creatures are decreasing day by day due to the loss of seagrass beds and pollution of water which disrupts their habitation. Illegal fishing and fishing of dugongs for consumption and trade also is causing their population to decrease. They cannot live in freshwater and can tolerate marine water. Dugongs communicate by emitting sounds which are similar to chirps, whistles, barks that travel through water. They also communicate through sounds that echo underwater. They are also found in oceans around United States.

A dugong is a marine mammal that is native to the Great Barrier reef, world’s largest coral reef in the continent of Australia. The coastal shallow water around Australia were home to more than 85,000 animals but dugong populations are constantly decreasing across the world and they are highly endangered. The dugong species is hunted to extinction as well as traded to different countries illegally. Dugongs mostly live a sedentary lifestyle and migrate for miles in search of seagrass. Some dugongs prefer living in pairs, while sometimes, a herd of 7-10 Dugongs can be seen habituated. The herd or a group of dugong is called a nutcluster.

Dugongs have a lifespan of 70 years and give birth to only one calf during reproduction. They spend most of their time nursing and tending to their offspring. Low litter count and elongated weaning periods are also the reason why the gugong population is depleting. Young dugong calves are easy prey for crocodiles and sharks, which again contributes to population decrease.

Credit :  Kidadl

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Where can we see funnel-web spiders?

The funnel-web spiders get their name from their webs which are shaped like a funnel. The funnel’s mouth opens wide, and the spider sits patiently in the narrow part. When an insect prey touches the web, the spider rushes out to capture it. At least 40 species have been identified among these spiders, several of them carrying highly toxic venom. Especially dangerous is the male of Atrax robustus, or the Sydney funnel-web spider, which has caused many deaths. It has become part of Sydney’s folklore. An antivenom for its toxin was introduced in 1981.

Funnel-web spiders mainly live in eastern Australia, in the moist forest regions and highlands. They can be from 1 cm to 5 cm in body length, with the females more heavily built than the males. The front part of their body is covered with a carapace which is sparsely haired and glossy, and the colour of the body can vary from black to brown.

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Which is the largest spider in the world?

The Goliath birdeater tarantula from South America is the largest spider in the world. Weighing up to 170 gm, its legs can reach up to one foot. Hunting at night, its diet mainly comprises earthworms, insects and frogs.

The Goliath bird-eating tarantula lives in the rainforest regions of northern South America, including Venezuela, northern Brazil, Guyana, French Guiana and Suriname. It lives in the deep rainforest, in silk-lined burrows and under rocks and roots.

If they need to defend themselves, they rub hairs together to create a hissing noise loud enough to be heard 15 feet away. They can also let their hairs loose and fling them at attackers. The goliath bird-eating spider may also rear up on its hind legs to show its large fangs as a further defense strategy. If they need to defend themselves, they rub hairs together to create a hissing noise loud enough to be heard 15 feet away. They can also let their hairs loose and fling them at attackers. The goliath bird-eating spider may also rear up on its hind legs to show its large fangs as a further defense strategy.

After their maturation molt, males develop a "finger" on the underside of the first set of front legs that is used to hook and lock the female's fangs and to steady themselves while they mate. After mating, males die within a few months.

The female must have recently molted in order to reproduce, or acquired sperm will be lost during the molt. Once mated, the female makes a web in which she lays 50 to 200 eggs that become fertilized as they pass out of her body. The female then wrap the eggs into a ball, and, unlike other species of tarantula, the female carries the egg sac with her. Egg sacs are almost the size of a tennis ball and contain around 70 spiderlings.

In order to grow, they must go through several molts. Molting is the process by which the tarantula sheds its old exoskeleton and emerges in a new, larger one. Spiderlings can be expected to molt five or six times in their first year. They take around two to three years to reach maturity.

Credit : Smithonian National Zoo

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What happens when a tarantula hawk stings a tarantula?

The tarantula hawk, a kind of large parasitic wasp, paralyses a tarantula spider with its sting and then lays an egg into the spider so that when the egg hatches the larva will have enough food to feed on for weeks together. Its sting is considered to be one of the most powerful insect stings on Earth.

In most cases, tarantula hawks won’t sting unless you bother them first. They’re similar to wasps in that they are incredibly bold, but it would take stepping on one or picking one up for you to receive a sting.

If you do get stung, you’ve had some bad luck, as the sting of the tarantula hawk wasp is rumored to be one of the most intense, painful stings of all insects. Because their stingers are so large, very few animals eat them, and as a result, they have few natural predators.

Luckily, the sting is not dangerous, unless you are unfortunate enough to develop an allergic reaction. The area where you are stung may remain red for up to a week, but the pain from most stings subsides within just a few minutes.

To treat the sting, make sure you wash the site with antibacterial soap and warm water. This will reduce the likelihood of an infection. You can apply a cold compress, ice, or topical cortisone or antihistamine to relieve the pain, itch, and swelling.

Credit : Rest Easy Pest Control 

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