In pictures: 15 weirdest animal species on earth
A small species of deer characterized by a prominent tuft of black hair on its forehead and fang-like canines for the males, they are found mainly in China, where it occurs in the south from eastern coast to eastern Tibet. Although suffering from overhunting and habitat loss, this deer is not considered to be endangered.
Discovered in 2009 by Dr. Arthur Anker of Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, in the Gran Sabana region of Venezuela, this possible new species of moth. It bears similarities to the Diaphora mendica, the muslin moth. Pic/YouTube
Fan-throated lizards are small sized agamids, many of which will fit on our palm and are only known from South Asia. The first species of fan-throated lizard Sitana ponticeriana was described by the renowned French Naturalist and father of Paleontology, Georges Cuvier in 1829 from Puducherry, India. Since then five other species were described from Nepal and Sri Lanka.
The Hummingbird hawk-moth's long proboscis and its hovering behaviour, accompanied by an audible humming noise, make it look remarkably like a hummingbird while feeding on flowers. It is distributed throughout the northern Old World from Portugal to Japan, but is resident only in warmer climates (southern Europe, North Africa, and points east). It is a strong flier, dispersing widely and can be found virtually anywhere in the hemisphere in the summer. However it rarely survives the winter in northern latitudes (e.g. north of the Alps in Europe, north of the Caucasus in Russia). They have been spotted in Newfoundland, Canada and Malaysia as well. The insects are seen as a lucky omen.
Found on coral reefs in shallow water in the tropical and subtropical parts of the western Atlantic from Maryland in the United States to Bermuda, the Bahamas, and south to Brazil. They are also found throughout the West Indies but are absent from the northern part of the Gulf of Mexico. They feed on small organisms found in the sand and algae that they scrape off rocks and spend 80% of their time searching for food.
A type of lemur native to Madagascar that combines rodent-like teeth that perpetually grow and a special thin middle finger. The aye aye is the world's largest nocturnal primate, and is characterized by its unusual method of finding food; it taps on trees to find grubs, then gnaws holes in the wood using its forward slanting incisors to create a small hole in which it inserts its narrow middle finger to pull the grubs out. From an ecological point of view the aye-aye fills the niche of a woodpecker, as it is capable of penetrating wood to extract the invertebrates within. It is currently classified as Endangered by the IUCN; and a second species, Daubentonia robusta, appears to have become extinct at some point within the last 1000 years.
Found near Cocos Island off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, this fish is mainly known for its bright red lips. Batfish are not good swimmers; they use their highly adapted pectoral fins to "walk" on the ocean floor. When the batfish reaches maturity, its dorsal fin becomes a single spine-like projection (thought to function primarily as a lure for prey). Like other anglerfish, the red-lipped batfish has a structure on its head known as illicium, which is employed for attracting prey.
It is a critically endangered antelope that originally inhabited a vast area of the Eurasian steppe zone from the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains and Caucasus into Dzungaria and Mongolia. Today, the dominant subspecies (S. t. tatarica) is only found in one location in Russia (in The Republic of Kalmykia) and three areas in Kazakhstan (the Ural, Ustiurt and Betpak-Dala populations). The saiga stands 61â81 centimetres (24â32 in) at the shoulder, and weighs 26â69 kilograms (57â152 lb). The head-and-body length is typically between 100 and 140 centimetres (39 and 55 in). A prominent feature of the saiga is the pair of closely spaced, bloated nostrils directed downward. During summer migrations the saigas' nose helps filter out dust kicked up by the herd and cools the animal's blood. In the winter it heats up the frigid air before it is taken to the lungs. Saigas form very large herds that graze in semi-deserts, steppes, grasslands and possibly open woodlands eating several species of plants, including some that are poisonous to other animals. They can cover long distances and swim across rivers, but they avoid steep or rugged areas.
Belonging to a family of more than 3,000 species of wasps known as Mutillidae, whose wingless females resemble large, hairy ants, the black and white specimens are known as panda ants due to their hair coloration resembling that of the giant panda. Known for their extremely painful stings they are also termed cow killers or cow ants. Unlike real ants they don't have drones, workers and queens and are commonly found in desert and sandy areas, with most of the over 400 North American species found in the south-western United States and adjacent parts of Mexico. Pic/YouTube
A small animal, with a long snout and limbs, and a vestigial tail, pelgae black with yellow longitudinal stripes dorsally, light beneath; scattered quills, some barbed and detachable, it is generally found in tropical lowland rain forest, in the northern and eastern parts of Madagascar. Most Tenrecs possess a long snout for poking around in the ground to find their food and are also capable of eating worms and fruits. Some species of Tenrecs live in water and eat small fish and even frogs. Usually living in long, shallow burrows in families, tenrecs if threatened by predators, defend themselves by erecting the barbed quills on their back and on the crest around their head, pointing them completely forward, and drive them into the attacker's nose or paws with body and head movements. The non-barbed quills are clustered in the middle of the back, and produce a faint chattering sound when vibrated, and are used to communicate within family groups. The streaked tenrec is the only mammal known to use stridulation for generating sound, a method more commonly associated with insects and snakes.
A species of marine crab that lives in the waters around Japan, it has the largest leg span of any arthropod and is the subject of small-scale fishery which has led to some conservation measures. The Japanese spider crab has the greatest leg span of any arthropod, reaching 3.8 metres (12 ft) from claw to claw. The body may grow to a size of 40 cm or 16 in (carapace width) and the whole crab can weigh up to 19 kilograms (42 lb)âsecond only to the American lobster. They like to inhabit vents and holes in the deeper parts of the ocean.
Also known as whalehead or shoe-billed stork, the bird derives its name from its massive shoe-shaped bill. Its true affiliations with other living birds is ambiguous. Some authorities now reclassify it with the Pelecaniformes. The adult is mainly grey while the juveniles are browner. It lives in tropical east Africa in large swamps from Sudan to Zambia. The shoebill is noted for its slow movements and tendency to remain still for long periods, resulting in repeated descriptions of the species as "statue-like". They are quite sensitive to human disturbance and may abandon their nests if bothered. Though normally silent they perform bill-clattering displays at the nest, adult birds have also been noted to utter a cow-like moo as well as high-pitched whines.
The reptile is endemic to Madagascar and found in deciduous dry forests and rain forests, often in vegetation 1.5 to 2 meters above the ground. Known to grow up to 1 meter in length, there is considerable sexual dimorphism within the species; the males are dorsally brown and ventrally yellow with a long tapering snout, while the females are mottled grey with a flattened, leaf shaped snout. The function of their leaf-like appendage is unknown, but obviously also serves as camouflage. The Madagascar Leaf-Nosed Snake is largely a sit-and-wait predator and may show curious resting behaviour, hanging straight down from a branch. Prey items include arboreal and terrestrial lizards. The snakes are generally calm and reluctant to bite unless provoked. Their venom causes severe pain in humans, but is not deadly.
Native to the northeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Central Africa, the okapi is most closely related to the giraffe even though it bears the stripes of a zebra. The animal stands about 1.5 m (4.9 ft) tall at the shoulder and has an average body length of about 2.5 m (8.2 ft) and weighs from 200 to 350 kg (440 to 770 lb). It has a long neck, and large, flexible ears with a chocolate to reddish brown coat, much in contrast with the white horizontal stripes and rings on the legs and white ankles. Male okapis have short, hair-covered horns called ossicones, less than 15 cm (5.9 in) in length. Females possess hair whorls, and ossicones are absent. Okapis are essentially solitary, coming together only to breed and are herbivores, feeding on tree leaves and buds, grasses, ferns, fruits, and fungi.
Considered the smallest species of armadillo it was first described by American naturalist R. Harlan in 1825. The pink fairy armadillo is desert-adapted and can be found inhabiting sandy plains, dunes, and scrubby grasslands. It has small eyes, silky yellowish white fur, and a flexible dorsal shell that is solely attached its body by a thin dorsal membrane with a spatula-shaped tail protruding from a vertical plate at the blunt rear of the shell. This nocturnal and solitary creature feeds on insects, worms, snails, and various plant parts. Unfortunately, the conservation status for pink fairy armadillo is still uncertain, and it is listed as Data Deficient by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The decline in population for this species has generally been attributed to farming activities and predators including domestic dogs and cats. Pic/YouTube