Top 10: The strangest and most controversial animals

We used to think that animals were very predictable creatures. For example, fish swim, birds fly, and rabbits reproduce at an incredible rate. But in our world there are still such creatures that can surprise you, because they break stereotypes and completely surpass all expectations.

 

Ahead of you is the list of animals that definitely have amazing qualities. By the way, in some cases you do not even have to mount an expedition to see them yourself, because many of the most unusual creatures live practically next to you. More often than not, we just don't even realize it...

 

10. Fish that don't swim

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According to ordinary logic, a fish should certainly be able to swim. But you would be surprised to learn that one fish can't (or swims very, very badly). The Darwin's nephyr (Ogcocephalus darwini) lives in the coastal waters of the Galapagos Islands, and instead of swimming, like most of its relatives, this creature literally crawls on the seafloor.

 

 

Scientists do not know why this red-faced fish moves in such a bizarre way, although it is most likely due to the inappropriate for sliding in water body shape. The fish walks on the bottom using its pectoral and pelvic fins, and it is its anal fin that propels itself forward. The Darwin's inability to swim is not such a bad trait, because its constant stay on the bottom protects this creature from most marine predators. In addition, neither the weather nor other changes in the environment can harm the Blubberwort to the same extent as other fish swimming in higher layers of water. As a result, the species lives to a very respectable age of 12 years on average, even despite its modest size.

9. A snake that looks more like a worm

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Most people who have seen an Indotyphlops braminus are unlikely to have known it was a snake at all. The thing is that this creature belongs to the family of the smallest snakes in the world, which is why it is often confused with a worm. The Brahmin's Mole Snake can be found in many parts of the world, so you have probably encountered it at some point, too. In any case, there is nothing to be afraid of, because these blindflies are not poisonous.

 

The Brahmin blindsnake is native to Southeast Asia, and from there it subsequently migrated to other continents. Most often these snakes are found in the ground, under decayed logs and rotten foliage, as well as in gardens, in flower beds and in flower pots.

 

Like all snakes, the bramble is covered with shiny scales, it too has a pair of eyes that are barely discernible because of their modest size, and a tiny tongue that the bramble pulls out if you take it in your hands. Its body is not made up of many segments like worms, and it cannot stretch or contract like normal earthworms. The unusual snake hunts ants and loves termite eggs, and grows from 6.5 to 16.5 centimeters in length.

8. The dog that doesn't bark

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Again, we all know that dogs bark. However, the Basenji breed does not know how to bark. That's why another name for this breed is the African mute dog. It can howl, squeal and even cough, but not bark. The name of the breed translates roughly as "creature from the thicket," and it was first bred in ancient Egypt. Later, an unusual dog came to the Congo, where tribes began to actively use this animal as an assistant in the hunt. That is why the Basenji is sometimes also called the Congo Terrier or dog Zande (African people).

 

In England, the outlandish animal was introduced only in the 1930s after several unsuccessful attempts to do so in the 19th and 20th centuries. After England, a couple of Basenji dogs were also exported to the U.S., and from there their offspring dispersed around the world. In the 1980s, more dogs were brought from Africa to America in order to cross them with overseas cognoscenti terriers, which at that time already suffered from hereditary diseases due to a limited gene pool. Crossing purebred African zande dogs with American non-lantern dogs produced spotted puppies, something that had never happened before in the case of basenjis.

7. Terrestrial fish

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The Pacific jumping dogfish (Alticus arnoldorum) is a fish that lives exclusively on land. We have already told you about a fish that cannot swim, and there are also fish in the world that often hunt on land, but always return underwater. However, this time we will talk about a completely unique species, because Alticus arnoldorum literally cannot stand the sea and flees from the slightest waves.

 

The Pacific jumping dogfish has gills for breathing underwater, but in the process of evolution it moved to land and learned to breathe normal air through the skin. However, this fish still depends on water, because its skin must necessarily be wet in order to breathe. To moisten its body surface, the jumping dogfish has even learned to roll over puddles near the coast. This is why Alticus arnoldorum always tries to stay on the rocks and coastal caves, never crawling too far from the water. You can meet these amazing jumpers on the island of Guam.

6. An egg-laying mammal

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The first scientists who were sent a platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) carcass first thought it was just a stuffed animal made of different animals. Not surprisingly, they did not believe it was real, since the platypus looks as if it is made of a duck, a beaver, and an otter at the same time. He has a beak, webbed feet, large and flat tail, and the whole body is covered with thick fur. In addition, the platypus lays eggs, making it one of only 2 mammal species in the world that gives birth to their young in this way. The second egg-laying mammal in the world is the echidna.

 

If you're still not amazed by the uniqueness of the platypus, you should know that males of this species produce venom that is secreted directly from the spurs in the animal's hind legs. Scientists analyzed the DNA of the platypus and found that it contains a mixture of genes characteristic of birds and reptiles. Experts also found that platypus have 10 sex chromosomes, with five X and five Y chromosomes each in males and 10 X chromosomes in females. Humans and most mammals have only 2. Theoretically this should have allowed platypuses to produce as many as 25 different sexes, but there are still only 2 - male and female.

5. Warm-blooded fish

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We all know that fish are cold-blooded creatures, so imagine the surprise of researchers when they first encountered warm-blooded fish. To date, the red-finned ops (Lampris guttatus), or, as it is also called, moonfish (sunfish), is the only warm-blooded fish known to science. The discovery was made by scientists from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

 

All other fish tend to adopt the temperature of their environment, but the common opah (aka redfin) self-regulates its body temperature through the constant operation of its pectoral fins. In addition, he uses the method of countercurrent heat exchange, the essence of which is to heat cool, oxygenated blood flowing to its gills, by warm and oxygen-deprived blood, already poured from the gills of fish.

 

As a result, the redfin is able to dive much deeper than most other fish, and stay at greater depths much longer than other congeners, which simply need to surface closer to the surface, not to overcool and maintain the work of internal organs. In addition, the opah swims faster, sees better, and has a much better reaction time than other fish.

4. Lizard without legs

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Try to remember what ordinary lizards look like, because you've probably seen them in person more than once. Did you get it? Didn't they all have four legs? And there are some lizards that don't have any! Most people confuse these creatures with snakes, but that's absolutely not true. In fact, the legless lizards (scales, snake-like lizards) also once ran on legs, but in the process of evolution, they lost their limbs, although otherwise they look almost like normal members of their suborder.

 

However, legless lizards and snakes have something in common - scaly skin and a bifurcated tongue. Like snakes, scales eat eggs and small animals (mice, for example), although they cannot swallow too large victims, because their jaws are not as flexible and mobile as those of ordinary snakes. An exception is the striped lilis, whose jaws are almost as big as those of a snake.

 

What distinguishes these lizards from snakes is the presence of transparent eyelids and ear holes, which snakes do not have. In addition, scales crawl by moving with the help of lateral scales, not with the help of the abdomen as snakes do. For the same reason, these lizards cannot move on surfaces that are too smooth. Serpentine lizards have longer tails than snakes, and they are able to drop their tails, as normal lizards do in case of danger. The tail that falls off often falls apart into several parts, which resembles a broken glass. This is why they are sometimes popularly called glass lizards. Snakes certainly don't do that.

3. animal with plant, bacterial, and fungal DNA

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The puffin, or little water bear, is a microscopic animal known for its ability to survive in the harshest environments. It can be found at the bottom of the coldest oceans, in the highest mountains, and even in the hottest deserts. The pacific walker is able to withstand even cosmic radiation. In addition, it can be resurrected by water if it has been in a dried up lifeless state for decades before.

 

When scientists decided to analyze the DNA of this amazing creature, they were surprised to find that 17.5% of its genome is of plant, bacterial and fungal origin. The researchers believe that it is the presence of bacterial DNA that allows the water bear to survive in the harshest conditions. Of course, there are other animals in nature with quite diverse DNA, in which traces of genetic material from other organisms have been found, but in the case of the stillwater bear, the proportion of these genes is incredibly high. Another microorganism, the rotifer, comes in second place, with a rate of 9%. It is still a mystery for scientists how such a combo of genes can coexist in a silent walker.

2. Flying Snake

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Technically speaking, a flying snake does not actually fly, but rather glides or plans through the air in free fall. However, its ability to jump from one tree to another almost without any effort at one time so amazed people that this snake was popularly called flying after all. Decorated (or golden) tree snakes (Chrysopelea) are found in South and Southeast Asia.

 

As you have already figured out, these snakes live in trees, from which they jump either onto other trees or onto the ground. Flying snakes can glide through the air at a distance of as much as 24 meters. They manage it thank to their developed skill of turning into a spiral before making a jump for a dynamic leap, and in the very air they move the front part of their body to one side and to another, while their tail wags up and down.

1. An animal capable of photosynthesis as a plant

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We all know that plants survive by using carbon dioxide, water, and sunlight to carry out the process of photosynthesis. But what few people know is that some animals have also learned to use photosynthesis to their advantage. Meet the gastropod Elysia chlorotica, one of the very few animals capable of photosynthesis.

 

Elysia is found in New England (a region of the United States) and Canada. Externally, this green mollusk resembles something between a sea softbelly and a plant, and its back looks like an ordinary leaf. This bizarre appearance is the result of feeding on local algae. Somehow, this gastropod managed to adopt the genes of seaweeds, due to which it learned to use the chloroplasts of its food for photosynthesis. Thanks to this feature, Elysia chlorotica can survive for a very long time in starvation conditions.

 

Researchers at the University of South Florida, Tampa, have been studying these animals for almost 20 years. Several individuals were placed in the aquarium for laboratory observation, where these sea slugs survived for months without algae, instead of which they received 12 hours of daylight. In addition, the experiment found that the bizarre gastropod is able to transfer the "chlorophyll" genes to their offspring, although the new generation was not able to perform photosynthesis until they had fed on seaweed to acquire their chloroplasts, so necessary for photosynthesis.

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