Sunday, 24 July 2016


Top ten Creatures with the best Self Defence Mechanism

Hi everyone. This week’s episode of the amazing creatures is tagged "Top ten creatures with the best self defence mechanism”. Enjoy! In no particular order, they are:

1) Bombardier Beetles: These amazing beetles are ground beetles and are famous for their defence mechanism which gives them their name. When disturbed, they eject a hot noxious chemical spray from the tip of their abdomen with a popping sound.

The spray is produced from a reaction between the two chemical compounds it comprises which are hydroquinone and hydrogen peroxide which are stored in different reservoirs in the beetles’ abdomen. Heat from the reaction brings the mixture to a point near the boiling point of water and a gas helps to drive the ejection. The damage cause can be fatal to attacking insects and some bombardier beetles are able to direct the spray over a wide range of directions.

2) Hagfish: Hagfish, (also known as Hyperotreti), are eel -shaped, slime-producing marine fish (occasionally called slime eels). When threatened, the hagfish secretes a substance from 100 tiny glands located along its flanks. When combined with water, this substance increases into over five gallons of gelatinous goo that sticks to the gills of undersea carnivores, causing suffocation. The slime is created by cells that create incredibly long protein threads and store them in “loops” that can be rapidly released when the animal feels endangered. Each thread can get to a length of 15cms, and they’re stored in a manner which prevents them from ever tangling with each other.

3) Potato Beetle: Insect larvae of the potato beetles are one of the most tempting foods for a variety of predators as they seem defenceless, full of protein and typically found in large amounts. However, these insect larvae have an efficient style of self-defence.

The baby insects purposeful roll themselves in their own faeces, which is poisonous to a number of predators. The preferred food of the larvae is nightshade and other alkaloid plants, which are toxic to mammals. Those alkaloids get excreted as “frass” from a gland on the larvae’s back. Interestingly enough, that very same frass is a delicacy for fire ants, which often protect the larvae as they progress to the stage of adulthood.

4) Boxer Crab: Lysomethingbia tessellata also known as the “boxer crab” crabs makes use of tools to create their awesome defence as they are well known for their habit of finding and collecting small poisonous sea anemones and carrying them around as weapons in its claws. The stinging cells of the anemones aren’t strong enough to penetrate the crab’s armour, but they are enough to scare potential predators as well as paralyze smaller animals, which the crab then feeds on with its maxillipeds.

5) Armored ground crickets: Acanthoplus discoidalis also known as the “armored ground cricket,” actually brings a lot of different self-defence options up its sleeves. When predators draw near, they rub their limbs together to make a loud, threatening noise while biting with their mandibles and angling their exoskeletal spikes towards the sensitive parts of their enemy’s body. But if that doesn’t work, they have one last option. They can autohemmorhage gouts of disgusting green blood at their attacker. This fluid contains phytotoxins, extracted from plants in the cricket’s diet that are poisonous to several of the lizards that eat the cricket. After they repel an attack, they carefully clean themselves so as not to be mistaken for food by their own kind.

6) Sea cucumber: Although these sea creatures seem like easy preys without defensive abilities, they are quite tough. These marine invertebrates don’t seem to have any defensive abilities at all. But there’s a horrifying secret hidden inside the sea cucumber: their guts. When endangered, some sea
cucumbers can eject their internal organs through their anus. These organs are often sticky and saturated with potentially toxic chemicals, so they serve as a deterrent to oncoming predators.
Some cucumbers also boast Cuvierian tubules, which have great tensile strength and can
entangle other fish when they’re expelled along with the internal organs. Amazingly enough, these creatures can actually completely regenerate everything they blast out in two to four weeks. How cool is that…


7) Blast Ants: Camponotus saundersi is a species of ant found in Malaysia and Brunei. They live in large colonies and often come into conflict with other insect groups over resources. Like other ants, their primary fighting weapon is their mandibles. But if things aren’t going too well, the blast ant has the ability to commit suicide in a massive explosion of poison. By contracting its abdominal muscles, the ant willingly ruptures its gaster and mandibular glands, releasing a spray of sticky, irritating liquid
around itself at the cost of its life. The reason an individual is willing to sacrifice itself involves the intensely social nature of ant colonies. Foraging territory is vital to the health of the anthill, so ensuring that opposing forces are repelled at all costs is a selfless and smart move.


8) Texas horned lizard: This spiky-bodied reptile mostly depends on its coloration to hide it from predators, but when its natural camouflage isn’t sufficient, the Texas horned lizard has a bizarre weapon it uses as its last resort. If a predator isn’t deterred when the lizard puffs its body up, it tenses muscles around its eye sockets. This increases the pressure in a number of compartments called sinuses that are filled with blood. The sinus walls break, causing blood to rapidly eject from the animal’s eye ducts, squirting distances of up to five feet. In addition, a noxious, distasteful chemical mixes with the blood when the sinus walls break, adding yet another deterrent.

9) Fulmar Bird: These fuzzy and seemingly helpless little birds can’t even fly to escape predators. But the fulmar bird, a tube nosed seabird indigenous to the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, has evolved a disgusting way for its little ones to defend themselves. When approached by a larger bird, the cute, fluffy white fulmar chick will projectile-vomit the contents of its stomach all over the attacker. This by itself is not terribly unique as plenty of animals puke under pressure – but it’s the ingredients of this vile orange spit-up that are really fascinating. The oils in the baby fulmar’s stomach sticks to the feathers of predatory birds, mating them together and making them unable to swim or fly.
If enough gets on the attacker, they can drown as a result


10) French Guiana Termite: When the older members of Neocapritermes taracua get very old and seemingly useless, there’s one last thing they can do for their own. As they get older, the worker class of these insects secrete blue crystals that contain a mixture of proteins and copper called hemocyanins. The older the termite, the larger the “backpack” of crystals they carry around. When these sacs are torn (typically by the bites of other termites), these crystals leaks and combines with ambient moisture to create a toxic blue liquid that takes out a group of attackers. The crystals are produced only by the worker termites as the soldiers and breeders don’t make them, because they both typically die early and don't attain an old age.

Fadare Shalom


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