category:monsters

4

Golden Star Tunicates are teeny, tiny colonial sea squirts.

Each individual sea squirt is about a quarter to half a centimetre long and looks like a little tube. They take in water at one end, filter out bacteria to eat and then release the water through the other end.

The stars form because individual sea squirts are never alone. Around six or more of them are all connected to each other so they each take in water on their own, but then they share a common OUT tube or exhalent siphon. Sort of like flatmates sharing a bathroom.

Then you get a whole bunch of these stars all growing next to each other and sharing blood vessels and all embedded in a fleshy mass and the colony is complete.

Golden Star Tunicates are native to the North Sea, Mediterranean Sea and nearby Atlantic areas but they’ve now spread to Australia, Japan and both sides of North America.

It’s a very popular wallpaper design.

…Images: Malcolm Storey/Deryk Tolman/James Lynott

4

The Rhinoceros Viper (Bitis nasicornis) is a big, chunky puff viper from western and central Africa.

Behind their strange and apparently purely ornamental nose horn their strikingly pretty body is covered in stripes and triangles in blues, yellows and reds.

Rhinoceros Vipers are only about 3 feet long but they have a thick body which they don’t like to move too much. They can swim and even climb trees if they want, but mostly they like to rest on the ground waiting to inflict doom on passing rodents.

They’re horribly venomous, but luckily they’re also sluggish, fairly placid and can emit a hissing sound to warn you of their presence.

As venomous snakes go, their quite friendly!

…Images: Josh More/Simongsh/Terese Hart/H. Krisp

5

“Spoilm Ispling”

“Sproi” in the common tongue; seen about in dry heated climates; when night falls, they wrap their tails around their body to retain heat until the sun comes up.

  Sproi lack hind legs, so they use their long tails to get from place to place.  Coiling the tails allows for bouncing; they can also use their ears to glide a bit between bounds to give their tails a rest.

   Sproi diets consists mostly of bugs and milk from cacti-like plants. More research needs to be done on these intriguing plants.