Cool animals

Peacock spider dancing dangerous dance
As a kind of predator, although the jumping spider is petite, it is the “sportsman” in the animal world: some jumping spiders can jump more than 20 times their body length! Long jumping is not the only movement skill of jumping spiders. Peacock spiders living in Australia are the coolest species in the jumping spider family. They will attract partners through wonderful dances.

When scientists studied the courtship dances of these peacock spiders, they found that they were so cute, so they gave them the nickname “Eight-legged Cat”. When a male peacock spider sees the female of his choice, it will find a prominent position in front of it and stand, and then raise its third pair of hind limbs to display its rainbow-like colorful fan-shaped abdomen.

Not only that, this male peacock spider will continue to jump up and down, move up and down, just to show off its dreamy colored “coat” to the other party, and continue to wave its white hind limbs, and constantly send out courtships to each other. signal. However, the display of male spiders is dangerous, because the male spider who completes the mating is very likely to become the dinner of the female spider after mating.

Clown toad with warning color
In the rushing mountain creeks of Central and South America, there is an eye-catching clown toad that can show neon-like purple, green, blue, orange and yellow patterns on its body. In natural environment Especially eye-catching.

These eye-catching color patterns are called “warning colors”, and their purpose is to make potential predators retreat. In other words, this is the warning to “be careful and don’t eat me”. After all, the attack of toads can be fatal, because the toxins secreted by their skin and neck glands are one of the most toxic natural toxins found so far.

The neurotoxins of amphibians can easily kill humans, and the Amazons have known this for a long time. They use the toxin of the clown toad in various tribal rituals (sometimes because of this), or for hunting. Not only that, the medical community is also becoming more and more interested in this toxin, and it is very likely to be used to develop a new generation of drugs for the treatment of cancer, heart disease and other diseases.

Bluffing cape lizard
Clown toad

This is a reptile from the outback of Australia-the cloak lizard. It looks like a miniature dinosaur, but compared to its own size, it protects itself so much that it is rare in the entire animal world. From the chin to the tip of the tail, an adult cloak can grow to more than 1 meter in length. Once threatened, it will pop open the 30 cm wide orange folds on the neck. These wrinkles are usually placed on the shoulders. When frightened, the cloak lizard will open its mouth like a vampire, open the rod-shaped bones connected to the hyoid bone, tighten the skin and erect the wrinkles. The larger the gap between the bones, the larger the wrinkle area after unfolding. At the same time, the cloak lizard did not forget to make a “hissing” roar to increase its threat.

However, this is all just a bluff: the cloak lizard is actually a shy insectivore, and most of the time they hide quietly in the eucalyptus. When they find that their intimidation has no effect, they will quickly stand up, like the Velociraptor in “Mini World”, relying on powerful hind limbs to flee quickly.

This defensive display that attempts to frighten or confuse predators is often referred to as “deterrent behavior.” However, in the face of fierce competition of the same kind, the cloaked lizards will also use their exquisite “headwear” to win. Scientists have found that compared with the dull folds, the cloak lizard with bright orange folds has a 90% chance of winning in the competition!

Lowland Zebra Hedgehog
The biological evolution on islands is always more bizarre. The Hedgehog on the island of Malagasy is a typical example. Thousands of years ago, the ancient ancestors of the horse island hedgehog first arrived in this paradise where no mammals had ever set foot, and in the following years they multiplied and evolved into a hybrid of shrews, moles, mice, rats, and hedgehogs. The characteristics of the magical species.

The lowland striped horse island hedgehog is a more outgoing member of the family. They walk through the lowland rainforest, have shrew-like snouts, and wear defensive spikes like porcupines. These spikes can be thrown out to pierce predators.

However, what makes this kind of small animal on the “Cool Animal Super League” list is actually another hidden talent: the horse island hedgehog can communicate with each other by vibrating the bristles on the neck and emitting sharp ultrasonic waves. . In the animal world, this type of communication is believed to only exist among crickets, grasshoppers, and beetles. This skill is unique among mammals. Some zoologists describe this type of ultrasound as “the sound of hay being kneaded together”, which is certainly one of the weirdest languages ​​in the animal kingdom.

Flame squid performing the “Gorgeous Light Show”
Like octopus, squid can change its color, shape and texture at will. More interestingly, scientists discovered that squid not only has amazing keen eyesight, but may even have self-awareness.

The skin of squid is full of pigment cells. These elastic and colorful cells are connected to the nervous system, allowing them to quickly change colors and patterns. Not only that, the squid can also emit these color combinations in pulses, covering the whole body like a wave, like a gorgeous light show. These squids may first develop this extraordinary ability to change into their own disguise, and then begin to use it to deter or confuse predators, and then escape.

In addition to being used for escape, the flaming squids living in tropical waters in Indonesia, New Guinea, Malaysia and northern Australia also use the wonderful skill of “light show” to please each other during their courtship. This is also one of the most fascinating forms of visual communication in the animal world.

A gardener bird that builds a courtship “pavilion”
Can animals create artworks? Although their skills are almost instinctive, the creations of gardener birds living in New Guinea and Australia have surprised the world time and time again.

Adult male gardener birds spend a lot of time and energy on the rainforest floor to build complex structures composed of branches and leaves, usually with subtle symmetry and perspective effects. The “pavilions” built by these flowers are a stage for them to attract females.

After the “pavilion” is built, these bird architects will also collect various dazzling objects in the forest-colorful berries and flowers, sparkling beetle wings, and even bones-to decorate the “pavilion”. Not only that, they also need to maintain these “gazebos” for several hours a day to ensure that any scattered branches or leaves are put back in place.

Each “pavilion” has its own iconic design features. For example, Hui Ting Bird Club will paint its “pavilion” with “new paint” made of mud every day. Take a look at the female gardener birds parading in front of the “pavilion”. Are they not the art critics in the bird world who are trying to find out their pros and cons?

“Pavilion”

The limelight giant stick insect
There are more than 3,000 kinds of stick insects in the world, most of which live in tropical forests and have superb skills to perfectly integrate their bodies into the environment. Some stick insects disguise themselves as newly born leaf buds. Others disguise themselves as broken branches or damaged leaves.

But there are always some guys in nature who don’t play cards according to the rules. Recently, two giant stick insects discovered by scientists in Madagascar are typical of this. These two kinds of stick insects retain the slender body that stick insects are used to, but the color of the body used for camouflage becomes bright and colorful. What’s more interesting is that the body color of these stick insects is dull when they are young, but they become shiny when they are sexually mature.

Scientists speculate that the fancy appearance of giant stick insects in adulthood may help them win mates and may also help deter hungry birds. The fancy body color may be caused by stick insects eating, absorbing and accumulating in plant leaves. Caused by toxins. But in any case, these colorful “exhibitionists” are heterogeneous in the stick insect family.