Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Very Greedy Birds

Cowbirds don't make their own nests. Cowbirds sneak into other birds' nests that already have eggs, and lay eggs of their own, for the other mommy birds to tend. A cowbird will even kick one or two of the other bird's eggs out of the nest. Then, the other mommy bird will take care of the cowbird's hatchlings. The cowbird hatchling is likely to kick a couple of the other hatchlings out of the nest, so its adopted mommy can feed it more food.

Wrasse Fish and Bass

Little Wrasse fish clean bass by removing and eating parasites and unhealthy flesh from the Bass's body. The wrasse gets food and the bass gets cleaned!

Clownfish and Sea Anemone

The clown fish constantly swims within the long stringy tentacles of the sea anenome. It poses as food for bigger fish that hungrily swim in, only to get grabbed by the ananemone's tentacles and eaten up by the anemone. The clown fish eats the leftovers. The feces of the Clown Fish also fertilizes the anemone (thanks, buddy!).

Swimming with the Sharks and Catching a Free Ride (and Free Lunch, too)

Remora, a kind of long flat fish, attaches itself to sharks with sticky disks. In doing so, it gets a free ride, and a bodyguard -- the shark. In exchange, the Remora helps the shark in such ways as eating parasitic crustaceans off of its body. After sharks eat their prey, the Remora also gets to feast on the remains!

The Darwin Moth and the Star Orchid

Darwin long noticed that flowers were matched with living creatures that pollinated them. In Madagascar he noticed star orchids with very long passages to their nectar, about 30 cm in length. Darwin asserted that there must be a giant moth with a proboscis – sort of like a drinking straw— long enough to reach the nectar. People laughed at him for saying this, but 41 years after his death, the moth that pollinates the star orchid was discovered. It has a super-long proboscis, just as Darwin predicted. Darwin was right, as usual.

How Can a Turtle Clean its Back?

Have you ever wondered how turtles clean their backs? They have no way of reaching their backs with their short little legs. One type of water turtle has servants doing the job -- turtle cleaner fish! The fish eat the algae and other stuff that dirties the turtles back, and keep the turtle's back clean!

African Cuckoo Catfish Mommies are Very Naughty

When the Female cuckoo catfish of Africa is ready to have babies, it finds another mommy fish to take care of them! As a female cichlid fish releases her eggs, the African catfish will release eggs at the same time and mix them up with the cichlid's eggs. The cochlid scoops all the eggs up including the catfish's and raises them all. And the sneaky mommy catfish just goes off and plays while the cichlid fish does all the work of making babies!

The Honey Guide Bird and the Badger

Animals have different abilities. Birds can fly and see things. Land animals such as badgers can't fly but they have other abilities such as being able to grip their legs around a tree and knock down food with their paws, like fruit or hives of honey. So, what if birds and land animals helped each other? It happens, believe it or not! The Honey Guide bird flies around looking for honey bee nests, but isn't strong enough to tear them open. Badgers like honey, too, but they have more trouble finding honey than birds do! So, after a honey bird finds a honey bee nest, it calls the badger and the badger follows the bird. Sometimes the bird has to stop and wait for the slow-poke badger. When the badger reaches the honey bee nest, it tears it open. Then the badger and the honey bird gobble it up together!

Many Cultures Have Seen Bats' Great Value

In Chinese culture, bats are seen as good luck. Part of the Chinese the word for bat, bianfu--"Fu"--sounds the same as a word that means "Good luck".

The natives of the Fijian island of Matangi believe that a bat hero called Toba Fu showed them how to make fire and knowledge vital for their survival.

In a legend of the Toba people in northern Argentina, their very first leader was a bat who taught them everything they needed to know.

Are the recurrences of "Toba" and "Fu" sounds in reference to bats, or people who revere bats, an amazing coincidence or what? There have been some theories of Fijians of ancient times landing on the shores of South America in boats.

[According to what seems to be modern myth overwhelmingly discarded by scholars, Chinese Explorer Zheng He explored the shores of the world, including Fiji and the Americas, in "junks" -- huge Chinese ships -- before the ominous and sinister arrival of bloody and murderous thief Christopher Columbus to the Americas.]

The Native American Hopi people see bats as protectors. In one legend, the bat is a hero who rescues a girl is being attacked by a violent man.

In Mexio, Tzotzil Maya people in the province of Chiapas hold a high esteem for bats. Zotzil means "bat people". Zinacantan, their traditional capital city, means "place of the bat". They recognize bats as protectors of Earth's creatures and plants.