This mushroom - thought to be a specimen of Clathrus archeri, or “Devil’s Fingers” - takes the cake for being the strangest and creepiest specimen of a fungus looking like something else. It looks like a cold, dead hand reaching out to pull the rest of the zombie body out of the earth. Those even look like tattered sleeves down by the wrists of the hands.
UGH I LOVE FUNGI
DID YOU KNOW …
Most sharks give birth to live young, but a few lay eggs, mostly small sharks that live near the sea floor. Empty egg cases often wash up on beaches and are called mermaid’s purses.
Ghost shark egg case (Callorhynchus milii) Spotted by RachaelB
via Project Noah
Giant Sea Cucumber Eats With Its Anus
by Carrie Arnold
Most kindergarteners can tell you that an animal eats with its mouth, not its butt.
One species of sea cucumber, however, didn’t appear to get the memo: Scientists have discovered that the giant California sea cucumber (Parastichopus californicus) actually uses its anus as a second mouth.
Scientists already knew that the marine invertebrate, which lives in the shallow ocean waters off the Pacific coast of North America, breathes with its butt. Because they don’t have lungs, sea cucumbers rely on respiratory trees, a set of long tubes running down either side of the body with a lot of different branches. P. californicus is shaped like a hollow tube, with a mouth at one end and its anus at the other.
The respiratory trees receive oxygen when water is pumped through their anus using the muscles of their cloaca, an opening at the end of the intestinal tract.The 20 in. long (50-cm-long) animal is no slouch: It can pump 3.5 to 4 cups of water per hour through its anus, transferring the oxygen from the water into its respiratory trees, which then oxygenates its cells…
(read more: National Geographic)
(photos: T - Gary Hughes, Your Shot; BL - Lois Booth, My Shot; BR - Gerald and Buff Corsi, Visuals Unlimited/Getty Images)
This unfortunate arachnid is infected with Cordyceps, a parasitic fungus that replaces its host’s tissue with its own. Cordyceps fungi invades its hosts (mainly arthropods), and its mycelium eventually replaces the host’s tissue. Once the arthropod is dead, cylindrical or branching growths emerge from the creature’s dead body. Some species also have mind-control capabilities, convincing the host to travel to a place where the fungus will find optimal growth conditions before the host dies.
Clemens Wirth & Radium Audio presents:
…moving on from Macro Kingdom, we pass through the portal of a microscope to venture into the Micro Empire … surrounding us … inhabiting us …
Stranger than fiction… molecular conflict and mitochondrial warfare … a heartstopping, subcellular epic … a truly microcinematic experience …
“as an enthusiast for little things, I wanted to go deeper than the macro universe, so I found myself hanging on the eyepiece of a microscope. The real challenge was definitely the small depth of field in microscopy. It’s really fascinating how detailed this tiny world is.”
(gifs by moi)