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In the fantastic realm there are hundreds of dangerous creatures, among them we find the giant spiders. Arachnids that get as big as a tree. Most of them dangerous and aggressive, but at the same time most of them are not a direct threat to humans. But there’s one of them that makes the “big” exception.
The Battered Wife, as originally named. Or “Howleesh”, as called by the common folk. Why? because this creature will destroy your throat before you can say “Holy shit that’s a big ass motherfucking spider”.
The Battered Wife is a spider that chose populated cities as its natural habitat. Thousands of years of refined evolution have created the perfect disguise on which this arachnid can prey on its preferred target. Humans. The Battered Wife as the exact resemblance of a young woman in a long dress with a hood. But that’s not why it’s the most dangerous creature of the alley. It’s because she not only looks like a hurt lady in distress, but can actually act like one. This spider doesn’t talk, but moans exactly as someone that just got stabbed in the stomach. It also recreates the same posture and it shivers as someone scared to death. The Battered Wife is a basic creature with the wits of any other animal. But that little brain has the enough intelligence to use hair and blood from its last victim to get the realism it wants.

The Battered Wife nests in the sewers or abandoned houses, it can live to 30 years and spawn every 6 years hundreds of eggs. This means that one single female can spawn over 3 thousand spiders in its life time. The Battered Wife feeds only on humans and as it grows it eats absolutely nothing until it reaches full maturity and can be able to hunt. In between that, almost all of the little spiders die from other predators or starve before they get to kill anything. So that’s why this hardly gets as a plague and will never become a threat to our specie. The only big problem is (as this b*tch isn’t already one) that its growth is extremely fast. In a few months it can get to full size. And since it hasn’t eaten anything and it’s hungry, it will make the best performance ever in order to eat a full grown man.

The rumor tells that there’s a crazy scientist around that experiments on animals, and one of them was a Battered Wife he altered into a different breed. They call it The Battered Mother in Law. Why? Because the motherf*cker has wings… and flies. But luckly for us, that’s only a story of fiction.

phys.org
Polar bear numbers to plunge a third as sea ice melts: study
The probability that polar bear numbers would drop by a third in 35 to 41 years is more than 70 percent, the study concluded.

Polar bear numbers could drop a third by mid-century, according to the first systematic assessment, released on Wednesday, of how dwindling Arctic sea ice affects the world’s largest bear.

There is a 70 percent chance that the global polar bear population –- estimated at 26,000 -– will decline by more than 30 percent over the next 35 years, a period corresponding to three generations, the study found.

Other assessments have reached similar conclusions, notably a recent review by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which tracks endangered species on its Red List.

The IUCN classified the sea-faring polar bear—a.k.a. Ursus maritimus—as “vulnerable”, or at high risk of extinction in the wild.

But the new study, published in the Royal Society’s Biology Letters, is the most comprehensive to date, combining 35 years of satellite data on Arctic sea ice with all known shifts in 19 distinct polar bears groupings scattered across four ecological zones in the Arctic.

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the skull of the black roadkill cat in my dermestid beetle tank. i’m so happy to finally have some beetles, i finally got them from the awesome @mysticmutt after having wanted to buy some for almost a year. i’m excited to see the colony grow and watch how fast they can clean bones, they’ve already done some good work on this cat in just a day.

before putting it in the tank i removed the eyes, tongue, and as much flesh as i could.

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closely related to sharks but with long, flat bodies and wing-like pectoral fins, mobula rays are ideally suited to swooping through the water - here off the gulf of california - yet seem equally at home in the air, so much so that they have earned the name “flying rays”. mobula rays can reach heights of more than two metres, remaining airborne for several seconds. 

mobula rays are quite elusive and difficult to study, so biologists are not quite sure why they jump out of the water. theories vary from a means of communication, to a mating ritual (though both males and females jump), or as a way to shed themselves of parasites. they could also be jumping as a way of better corralling their pray, as seen with them swimming in a circular formation. 

what is known about mobula rays is that they reach sexual maturity late and their investment in their offspring is more akin to mammals than other fishes, usually producing just a single pup after long pregnancies, all of which makes them extremely vulnerable to commercial fishing, especially as a species that likes to come together in large groups.

I’ve seen a lot of videos going around of urban-dwelling critters coming to humans for help with various problems, ranging from boxes stuck on their heads to young trapped down a storm drain, and it’s gotten me to thinking:

On the one hand, it’s kind of fascinating that they know to do that.

On the other hand, setting any questions of how this sort of behaviour must have arisen aside for the nonce, does it ever strike you how weird it is that we’ve got a whole collection of prey species whose basic problem-solving script ends with the step “if all else fails, go bother one of the local apex predators and maybe they’ll fix the problem for no reason”?

sciencealert.com
Scientists need your help looking at photos of adorable penguins. Seriously
"We can't do this work on our own."
By Fiona MacDonald

Guys, this is not a drill. Antarctic scientists need you to study photos of penguins to help them figure out how climate change is affecting these stumpy little flightless birds.

Scientists from the UK have installed a series of 75 cameras near penguin territories in Antarctica and its surrounding islands to figure out what’s happening with local populations. But with each of those cameras taking hourly photos, they simply can’t get through all the adorable images without your help.

“We can’t do this work on our own,” lead researcher Tom Hart from the University of Oxford told the BBC, “and every penguin that people click on and count on the website - that’s all information that tells us what’s happening at each nest, and what’s happening over time.”

The citizen science project is pretty simple - known as PenguinWatch 2.0, all you need to do is log on, look at photos, and identify adult penguins, chicks, and eggs in each image. Each photo requires just a few clicks to identify, and you can chat about your results in the website’s ‘Discuss’ page with other volunteers.

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theatlantic.com
The Thirsty Little Snake That Swam Across the World
It’s always dehydrated, and it's not a great swimmer, but it can somehow cross oceans.
By Ed Yong

The 62 species of sea snakes are all wonderfully adapted to life in the oceans, but they almost always come ashore to lay eggs. But not the yellow-bellied one; it is the only member of the group that lives full-time in the open ocean. It eats at sea, mates at sea, and gives birth to live young at sea. It has special valves in its nose to stop water from getting in, and can even partially breathe through its skin. It hunts by sitting amid flotsam and picking off small fish that gather beneath it. And it swims by propelling itself with a flattened, paddle-like tail.

And yet, in some ways, it is so ill-suited to life in the ocean that its existence borders on poetic tragedy. For example, a few years ago, Brischoux and his colleague Harvey Lillywhite from the University of Florida showed that the yellow-bellied sea snake is almost constantly thirsty and dehydrated.

If you tried to swallow water in the ocean, your kidneys would remove the extra salt by diluting it in urine. In doing so, you’d actually get rid of more water than you ingested. This is why, when humans drink seawater, they get dehydrated. Some marine animals cope with this problem using special salt-removing glands, but Lillywhite showed that—contrary to what scientists previously believed—sea snakes do not. They live most of their lives in the oceans, but they never swallow seawater. Instead, they try quench their thirst with fresh water.

Some species stick close to coastal sites with nearby sources of fresh water, like springs or streams that empty into the sea. But the yellow-bellied sea snake has no such option. Instead, it drinks from the thin layers of freshwater that briefly form on the surface of the ocean when it rains. That seems precarious, and it is. For much of the year, from November to May, these snakes are almost constantly dehydrated.

The yellow-bellied sea snake isn’t a great swimmer either. “It is really small,” says Brischoux. “It can move in the water, but not for a very long period of time and not against really strong currents—unlike, say, a seal.” So how could it possibly occupy such a large range? The only other tetrapods that are so widespread are either powerful swimmers like the giant whales or strong fliers like seabirds. The yellow-bellied sea snake is neither, and yet it has spread over two-thirds of the Earth’s surface.

Read full article here.

sciencealert.com
Scientists Just Discovered There Are 'Bees' in the Oceans
Huh...
By Mike McRae

For the first time, researchers have found evidence that underwater ecosystems have pollinators that perform the same task as bees on land.

Just like their terrestrial cousins, grasses under the sea shed pollen to sexually reproduce. Until now, biologists assumed the marine plants relied on water alone to spread their genes far and wide. But the discovery of pollen-carrying ‘bees of the sea’ has changed all of that.

Over several years from 2009 to 2012, researchers from the National Autonomous University of Mexico filmed the spring nocturnal wanderings of crustaceans among beds of turtle seagrass, Thalassia testudinum.

Looking through the videos, they spotted more invertebrates visiting male pollen-bearing flowers than those that lacked pollen – just like bees hovering around pollen-producing plants on land.

“We saw all of these animals coming in, and then we saw some of them carrying pollen,” lead researcher Brigitta van Tussenbroek told New Scientist.

The concept was so new, they invented a new term to describe it: zoobenthophilous pollination. Before that, researchers had never predicted that animals were involved in pollinating marine plants.

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When Scientists Get Accidentally Artsy

A new exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History lies right at the intersection of art and science, showcasing the inherent beauty of skeletons — that is, fish skeletons.

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photos by matt smith from the Illawarra coast in new south wales of bluebottles. despite its resemblance to the jellyfish, the bluebottle is more closely related to coral. known as a zooid, the bluebottle (or portugese man of war) is a colonial animal composed of many highly specialized and physiologically integrated individual organisms incapable of independent survival.

notes matt, “despite their potentially dangerous sting, the bluebottle is an amazingly beautiful creature. with strong winds, hundreds of these cnidaria are blown into the bays around my home town and trapped overnight.” this allows him to capture the above shots, which he creates with use of a fluorescent tube in his strobe light and a homemade waterproof lens dome.