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Adult female red back spider
The redback spider (Latrodectus hasselti), also known as the Australian black widow, is a species of highly venomous spider believed to originate in South Australia or adjacent Western Australian deserts, but now found throughout Australia, Southeast Asia and New Zealand, with colonies elsewhere outside Australia. It is a member of the cosmopolitan genus Latrodectus, the widow spiders. The adult female is easily recognised by her spherical black body with a prominent red stripe on the upper side of her abdomen and an hourglass-shaped red/orange streak on the underside. Females usually have a body length of about 10 millimetres (0.4 in), while the male is much smaller, being only 3-4 mm (0.12-0.16 in) long.
Mainly nocturnal, the female redback lives in an untidy web in a warm sheltered location, commonly near or inside human residences. It preys on insects, spiders and small vertebrates that become ensnared in its web. It kills its prey by injecting a complex venom through its two fangs when it bites, before wrapping them in silk and sucking out the liquefied insides. Often, it first squirts its victim with what resembles 'superglue' from its spinnerets, immobilising the prey by sticking the victim's limbs and appendages to its own body. The redback spider then trusses the victim with silk. Once its prey is restrained, it is bitten repeatedly on the head, body and leg segments and is then hauled back to the redback spider's retreat. Sometimes a potentially dangerous victim can be left to struggle for hours until it is exhausted enough to approach safely. Male spiders and spiderlings often live on the periphery of the female spiders' web and steal leftovers. Other species of spider and parasitoid wasps prey on this species. The redback is one of few arachnids that usually display sexual cannibalism while mating. (Full article...)
Brittle stars, serpent stars, or ophiuroids are echinoderms in the class Ophiuroidea closely related to starfish. They crawl across the sea floor using their flexible arms for locomotion. The ophiuroids generally have five long, slender, whip-like arms which may reach up to 60 cm (24 in) in length on the largest specimens. From New Latinophiurus ("brittle star"), from Ancient Greek ? (óphis, "serpent") + ? (ourá, "tail") (referring to the serpent-like arms of the brittle star). (Full article...)
Glaucus atlanticus is a species of small, blue sea slug. This pelagic aeolid nudibranch floats upside down, using the surface tension of the water to stay up, and is carried along by the winds and ocean currents. The blue side of their body faces upwards, blending in with the blue of the water, while the grey side faces downwards, blending in with the silvery surface of the sea. G. atlanticus feeds on other pelagic creatures, including the Portuguese man o' war.
The plains zebra (Equus quagga, subspecies Grant's zebra pictured) is the most common and geographically widespread species of zebra. It ranges from the south of Ethiopia through East Africa to as far south as Angola and eastern South Africa. The plains zebra is mid-sized, smaller on average than the other two zebra species, and thick-bodied with relatively short legs. Adults of both sexes can stand from 1.1 to 1.47 m (3.6 to 4.8 ft) high at the shoulder, are 2 to 2.5 m (6.6 to 8.2 ft) long (excluding the tail), and weigh 175 to 387 kg (386 to 853 lb), with males slightly heavier than females.
A cross section of a post-clitellum segment of an annelid (ringed worm); almost all segments of an annelid contain the same set of organs and parts, a pattern called metamerism. Annelids have no lungs, but rather exchange carbon dioxide and oxygen directly through the moist skin when blood reaches the extremely fine capillaries of the body walls; a dry worm cannot breathe and will die of suffocation. The worm's red blood, which does not consist of platelets or red cells but mostly of a liquid containing suspended hemoglobin, makes a circuit up and down the animal in its closed circulatory systems.
Plate 5 from Ernst Haeckel's Kunstformen der Natur, showing a variety of calcareous sponges, a class of about 400 marine sponges that are found mostly in shallow tropical waters worldwide. Calcareous sponges vary from radially symmetrical vase-shaped body types to colonies made up of a meshwork of thin tubes, or irregular massive forms. The skeleton has either a mesh or honeycomb structure.
Thysanozoon nigropapillosum, the yellow-spotted flatworm, is a species of marine flatworm in the family Pseudocerotidae. The species is native to the tropical Indo-Pacific region, where it lives in shallow reef habitats. Flatworms are hermaphrodites, each being able to act as either male or female. As a donor of sperm, it can grip the margin of the recipient's body, using its two penises in a chopstick-like manner, and deposit sperm on the surface of the skin of the recipient, even while it is actively swimming.
This picture shows a yellow-spotted flatworm photographed in Manta Ray Bay, on the island of Yap in the Federated States of Micronesia. The flatworm is seen swimming to the right at a depth of 12 metres (40 ft) by undulating the margins of its body. The pseudotentacles at the front have simple eyes and sensory receptors to enable the flatworm to find tunicates on which it feeds.
Liguus virgineus, also known as the candy cane snail, is a species of snail in the family Orthalicidae. It is native to the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, in the nations of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. There have also been at least three reports of living specimens being found in the Florida Keys of the United States. The snail lives on trees and feeds on moss, fungi and microscopic algae covering the bark.
Anatomical diagram of an adult female chambered nautilus, the best known species of nautilus, a "living fossil" related to the octopuses. The animal has a primitive brain that forms a ring around its oesophagus, has four gills (all other cephalopods have only two), and can only move shell-first (seemingly "backwards") by pumping water out through its funnel. The shell and tentacles are shown here as shadows.
Eutropis macularia, the bronze grass skink, is a species of lizard in the skink family, Scincidae, native to South and Southeast Asia. It lives in both deciduous and evergreen forests, in plantations, in grasslands, and in rocky areas with scattered trees. The species is active in both the day and the night, feeding on insects and other invertebrates. This bronze grass skink was photographed on a tree trunk on the island of Don Det in Laos.
The flatworms, flat worms, Platyhelminthes, or platyhelminths (from the Greek , platy, meaning "flat" and (root: -), helminth-, meaning "worm") are a phylum of relatively simple bilaterian, unsegmented, soft-bodied invertebrates. Unlike other bilaterians, they are acoelomates (having no body cavity), and have no specialized circulatory and respiratoryorgans, which restricts them to having flattened shapes that allow oxygen and nutrients to pass through their bodies by diffusion. The digestive cavity has only one opening for both ingestion (intake of nutrients) and egestion (removal of undigested wastes); as a result, the food cannot be processed continuously. (Full article...)
Aplysina archeri is a species of sponge that has long tube-like structures of cylindrical shape. Many tubes are attached to one particular part of the organism; a single tube can grow up to 5 feet (1.5 m) high and 3 inches (7.6 cm) thick. These sponges mostly live in the Atlantic Ocean. These filter feeders eat food such as plankton or suspended detritus as it passes them.
The Peacock flounder (Bothus mancus) is a species of lefteye flounder found widely in relatively shallow waters in the Indo-Pacific. This photomontage shows four separate views of the same fish, each several minutes apart, starting from the top left. Over the course of the photos, the fish changes its colors to match its new surroundings, and then finally (bottom right) buries itself in the sand, leaving only the eyes protruding.
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Drawing of Apororhynchus hemignathi by Arthur Shipley in 1896. This is the original sketch of the first species in the genus Apororhynchus to be described.
Apororhynchus is a genus of small parasitic spiny-headed (or thorny-headed) worms. It is the only genus in the familyApororhynchidae, which in turn is the only member of the orderApororhynchida. A lack of features commonly found in the phylum Acanthocephala (primarily musculature) suggests an evolutionary branching from the other three orders of class Archiacanthocephala; however no genetic analysis has been completed to determine the evolutionary relationship between species. The distinguishing features of this order among archiacanthocephalans is a highly enlarged proboscis which contain small hooks. The musculature around the proboscis (the proboscis receptacle and receptacle protrusor) is also structured differently in this order. This genus contains six species that are distributed globally, being collected sporadically in Hawaii, Europe, North America, South America, and Asia. These worms exclusively parasitize birds by attaching themselves around the cloaca using their hook-covered proboscis. The bird hosts are of different orders, including owls, waders, and passerines. Infestation by an Apororhynchus species may cause enteritis and anemia. (Full article...)
Image 10A brilliantly-coloured oriental sweetlips fish (Plectorhinchus vittatus) waits while two boldly-patterned cleaner wrasse (Labroides dimidiatus) pick parasites from its skin. The spotted tail and fin pattern of the sweetlips signals sexual maturity; the behaviour and pattern of the cleaner fish signal their availability for cleaning service, rather than as prey (from Animal coloration)
Image 14A praying mantis in deimatic or threat pose displays conspicuous patches of colour to startle potential predators. This is not warning coloration as the insect is palatable. (from Animal coloration)
Image 17Animal anatomical engraving from Handbuch der Anatomie der Tiere für Künstler. (from Zoology)
Image 18Idealised bilaterian body plan. With an elongated body and a direction of movement the animal has head and tail ends. Sense organs and mouth form the basis of the head. Opposed circular and longitudinal muscles enable peristaltic motion. (from Animal)
The following table lists estimated numbers of described extant species for the animal groups with the largest numbers of species, along with their principal habitats (terrestrial, fresh water, and marine), and free-living or parasitic ways of life. Species estimates shown here are based on numbers described scientifically; much larger estimates have been calculated based on various means of prediction, and these can vary wildly. For instance, around 25,000-27,000 species of nematodes have been described, while published estimates of the total number of nematode species include 10,000-20,000; 500,000; 10 million; and 100 million. Using patterns within the taxonomic hierarchy, the total number of animal species--including those not yet described--was calculated to be about 7.77 million in 2011.[a]
^The application of DNA barcoding to taxonomy further complicates this; a 2016 barcoding analysis estimated a total count of nearly 100,000 insect species for Canada alone, and extrapolated that the global insect fauna must be in excess of 10 million species, of which nearly 2 million are in a single fly family known as gall midges (Cecidomyiidae).
^Sluys, R. (1999). "Global diversity of land planarians (Platyhelminthes, Tricladida, Terricola): a new indicator-taxon in biodiversity and conservation studies". Biodiversity and Conservation. 8 (12): 1663-1681. doi:10.1023/A:1008994925673. S2CID38784755.