Amazing Animal Abilities

                        By Arnav Krishna

 

 

 

Dear Exploding ant,

Why do you explode?

 

The exploding ant has a weird ability. It can make itself explode. At least, it seems very weird to us. To the exploding ant, however, it is an ability which is not silly to them. It is a last-resort extremely effective defense mechanism used as an all-out, suicidal tactic.

            Many animals have abilities that are very important to them, but they may seem crazy or unbelievable to us. These abilities are necessary for those animals, however, and need them to survive.

In Amazing Animal Abilities, we go right in and interview ten different animals about their abilities.

 

So, what does the Exploding Ant have to say about itself?


My ability is that I can make myself explode in a lethal explosion that takes out my predators. I do this only as a very last res
ort, and I prefer not to undergo this.

Order of Showing Off to Our Reader (a.k.a table of contents)

 

1.Pistol Shrimp

 

2.Axolotl

 

3.Alpine ibex

 

4.Mimic Octopus

 

5.Peregrine Falcon

 

6.Turritopsis dohrnii

 

7.Bombardier Beetle

 

8.Crow

 

9.Mantis Shrimp

 

10.Tardigrade

 

1.The Pistol Shrimp

Dear Pistol Shrimp:

What on Earth could that claw be for?

        Hello! You ask me what my claw is for? The answer is that it is my defense mechanism and primarily a way of catching prey. I can snap my claw to create acoustic pressures of up to 80 kPa, 4 cm from the claw, 32N of force. The bubble attains velocities up to 100 kph and sounds up to 218 decibels, as loud as a 1-ton TNT blast, and given that over 140 decibels is damaging to humans, 218 decibels would give humans permanent rapid hearing loss. Also take into account that sound travels 4x faster in water, and since fish do not have ears, they feel the pressure and sound changes ON THEIR BODIES ITSELF, so high levels of sound for a fish would be equivalent to a hard punch to a human. The snap occurs in under a single millisecond!. The force is enough and more to kill both predators and prey. My snap can create a cavitation bubble, on collapse can attain temperatures of up to 4700℃. Compare that to the Sun’s surface temperature-5500℃!

         I am very small, but because of the facts above, don’t mess with me! I live in reefs and rocky areas in the sea. I mainly eat small fish. I have the same taxonomic order as the Mantis Shrimp, an equally remarkable shrimp who you will meet later.

2.Dear Axolotl:

How do you regenerate?

        Hi! To answer your question,scientists are currently studying me to see exactly how I can regenerate(because they don’t exactly know yet), but recently, scientists have discovered my regeneration has something to do with macrophages being present at the site of the injury. I can regenerate lost limbs, nonvital organs, vital organs, parts of the eyes, and even parts of the brain. I can even accept transplants from others of my species! Sometimes, a few of my kind regenerate a limb, while accidentally accepting another transplant, ending up with an unnaturally extra number of limbs.

        I am a species of water-dwelling salamander, and I am rarely found.Sadly, I am critically endangered and soon to be extinct in the wild. I am mainly found in Lake Xochimilco underlying Mexico City, and numerous small nearby lakes.

 

 

3.Dear Alpine ibex:

        Why are you climbing that wall like Spider-Man?

Spiderman and I have a lot in common . However, I’m actually real. To answer your question, I climb walls and any obstacle in my way to get to salt. I’m obsessed with the stuff, I need it to live. My uniqueness lies in the fact that I can actually climb the almost 90-degree wall in the first place! I can do this because I have special suction-cups on the bottoms of my hooves which allow me to do so. I literally defy gravity itself by climbing the steep walls with ease.

        As you can see(look at the bottom of the page), I am a relative of the goat. What gave it away, the horns? I live high in the mountains at up to heights of 14,800 feet. My other, less unique ability is that I can perform leaps and bounds of up to 6 feet.

4. Dear Mimic Octopus:

Why do you copy other animals?

    I’m a shapeshifter, a copycat (a copy-octopus? what, I don’t know!) I have been known to change my skin color, shape, and color to precisely imitate up to 15 animals in my surrounding habitat. You ask me why I do this? Besides being lots of fun, I usually disguise as my predators’ predators, for obvious reasons (Hint: I don’t want to get eaten. Do you?). Some animals I have been known to imitate are:

A.    Jellyfish-By changing my skin color and letting my tentacles trail behind me as I drift

B.    Lionfish-My turning yellow and sticking out my tentacles to look like spikes

C.    Flatfish-By turning brown and flattening my body against the seafloor as I move

D.    Sea snake-I hide all but two tentacles in a hole, and stretch them out in different directions and turn them black, white, and striped.

    My advanced mimicry, combing with my surprisingly high intelligence, makes me very hard to get eaten. However, I am a very small species of octopus, only 60 cm. I can change color because color-receptor cells in my skin called chromatophores. My natural color is a light brown/beige, a boring color. No wonder I like changing color!

5. Dear Peregrine Falcon:

Wow! How do you go that fast?

    Zoom! I can fly at speeds of up to 240 mph, the fastest speed in the animal kingdom. I attain these speeds when descending down in a deadly dive toward my dinner. I use a combination of my spectacular speed, my extraordinary eyesight, my fantastic feathers, and my superb body systems.

    My slim, stiff feathers are specifically designed as streamlined and reduce drag, and my wings are airfoil shaped;streamlined and pointed. This allows maximum lift, maneuverability, and speed. I can breathe effortlessly at heights of 200 mph, most birds can’t breathe well at half the speed. I can do this because of my remarkable respiratory system. Even when exhaling, my lungs are still inflated, it is a one-way airflow. My super circulatory system helps as well. My heart beats at 600-900 bpm, you humans have a 60-190 bpm heartbeat. My rapid heartbeat allows blood to be circulated faster and supply the body with energy in less time. Because of this, I can flap my wings at a rate of four flaps per second. My force is also maximized because I have a larger keel-bone(collarbone) than most other birds, allowing greater wing-power.

 

6.Dear Immortal Jellyfish:

Your name explains your place on this list, but can you explain more?

    As my name says, I don't just live long, I am actually immortal! I am one of the only animals to achieve what is called biological immortality. This means that if I am not eaten by predators or other external influences, I will supposedly live forever. I can do this by reverse-aging, I can revert back to an immature polyp! In this way, I am immortal. Scientists are currently studying me to see why I can do this, it is not known yet. They want to figure out my secret of eternal life and possibly harness and use it for humans.

    I am the only one of my kind who can reach immortality, and one of very, very few who can as well. I am part of the jellyfish, and am one of the only turritopsis. I am not found commonly.

7.Dear Bombardier Beetle,

Why do you have that defense system?

I will begin by explaining my defense system-by shooting deadly chemicals at attackers. Shooting chemicals is my defense system. The two chemicals i shoot out are Hydroquinone and Hydrogen peroxide, both highly reactive. During the reaction, heat brings the mixture to almost 100℃! Catalysts decompose the latter, oxidise the former. The reaction ejects a shooting spray of chemicals, deadly to insects and most animals.We can control the spray and use it as an extremely effective weapon. For scientists, the reaction formulas are as follows:

2H2O2(aq)2H20(l)+02(g)

C6H4(OH)2(aq)C6H402(aq)+H2(g)

...and the net reaction of C6H4(OH)2(aq)+H2O2(aq)C6H402(aq)+2H2O(l)...

is explosively released in an exothermic reaction.

I am a species of ground beetle, and we are found on every continent except for Antarctica. Don’t worry, I’m not like those ugly cockroaches, or (shudder)spiders.

8.Dear Crow,

You’re just a typical animal, right? How did you get onto this list?

        You dare call me a typical animal?  I’ll prove you wrong, here and now, right as you’re reading this. I am more intelligent than 7-year old humans and many adult humans. We have discovered the concept of industry, mass-producing knives by sharpening and bending grass and use this as a more efficient way of hunting prey. Our kind know that denser objects displace more fluid, a fact that many humans do not know. Our formidable memory is displayed in this one story-in Chatham, there were organized human groups seeking to kill 300,000 of 600,000 of us. They killed one. ONE. We learned to memorize the spots to avoid and fly higher over those areas. If you were there, that means 599,999 of us know where you live.We have been known to drop walnuts in front of cars, make you humans run over the nuts and break the shells, memorize the pattern of traffic lights so we optimize the drop time, then know when to retrieve the edible walnut when the light is red and not get run over. The latter is a skill that few humans have mastered as well as us crows.We have a neat trick we use when rivals try and steal our food. We sometimes pretend to store food in their cache, but actually hide it in their feathers to prevent rivals from knowing about it. We have regional dialects of communication, an incredible feat keeping in mind the fact that we have no language.

        We have also been known to memorize schedules of ‘friendly’ garbage trucks and eat the garbage from them. Just like we can remember friendly humans, we can recall hostiles. We can identify and remember threats and hold this in their memory to avoid them afterward.

         the mysterious crow

9.Dear Mantis Shrimp,

Wow! How fast is that punch?

        Ok. Get ready, because it’s about to get extreme. First, let me distinguish my two types-the Spearers and Smashers. The spearers have a sharp, long appendage used for stabbing their prey and efficiently killing it. Both of my types attack by rapidly unfolding their specialized claws and striking swiftly. Now, let’s get to the smashers,the nightmares of fish everywhere.(do fish even have dreams?). I strike with a hammer-like claw which hits with such blinding, insane speed that it accelerates at 102,000 ㎨ and hits with the force of 1500N, just over the force of a rifle bullet and the same amount of force as a JAGUAR bite. Again take into account that sound travels four times faster in water, and from a standing start, the velocity is already 23m/s. My strike hits so fast, it creates a cavitation bubble, and this can actually create sonoluminescence. The collapse of the cavitation bubble combined with the hammerstrike is almost always fatal.

        I have yet another unique feature-my eyes. My two eyes each have three segments, giving me trinocular vision.You poor, sad humans only can see in three colors, red, green, blue, all of their derivations and combinations. I CAN SEE IN TWELVE. Think of nine colors you can’t even think of. Exactly. You can’t. I can. HAHA YOU HUMANS ARE SO SAD. My eyes can also see infrared, ultraviolet, and polarized light! My eyes can move independently of one another, up to 70° independent of one another. Interestingly, my eyes are directly controlling my super-eyesight and not the brain.

 

10. And here, a classic example of best for last.

Dear Tardigrade,

What can you survive?

    I am special because I am known for survivng even the most extreme and insane environments which not even extremophiles can survive in for long. I am considered by far the most resilient animal in the entire animal kingdom. Below is a list of what I can survive.

Space

Just above absolute zero, the lowest scientific temperature, non-attainable

Extremely high heat (scientifically about 150℃)

Being frozen in ice

Low pressure of a vacuum(like space)

Salinity changes(changes in salt, normally fatal to animals)

Lack of oxygen, food, and water

High pressure, 6x the normal human pressure, achieved at the bottom of the ocean

Deadly chemicals

Radiation 1000x the lethal human dosage.

    I can do this by achieving cryptobiosis, a state in which organisms can lower their metabolism to undetectable levels-up to 0.01% of the normal metabolism. I can rid itself of up to 97% of all of my water! I curl up and desiccate in a formation called a tun.I do this by synthesising a body sugar called trehalose, which can substitute for water and hydrate me until the environment becomes hospitable. When I come into contact with water, I exit the cryptobiosis state.

              Appendix A

 

 

            LOCATIONS OF THE ANIMALS

 

 

 

 

      A MAP OF WHERE THEY ARE FOUND

 

 

 

 

 

Pistol shrimp, tardigrades, and bombardier beetles are found everywhere on Earth 


"The first step in wisdom is to know the things themselves; this notion consists in having a true idea of the objects; objects are distinguished and known by classifying them methodically and giving them appropriate names. Therefore, classification and name-giving will be the foundation of our science."

 

                                    -Carl Linnaeus,father of taxonomy

 

    Appendix B

 

                 Kingdom, phylum, scientific name of animal

 

 

Pistol Shrimp-Animalia, arthropoda-Alpheidae

 

Axolotl-Animalia,Chordata-Ambystoma mexicanum

 

Alpine Ibex-Animalia, Chordata-Capra ibex

 

Mimic octopus-Animalia, Mollusca-Thaumoctopus mimicus

 

Peregrine Falcon-Animalia,Chordata-Falco peregrinus

 

Immortal Jellyfish-Animalia,Chordata-Turritopsis dohrnii

 

Bombardier Beetle-Animalia,Arthropoda-Carabidae, representative species is Pheropsophus verticalis.

 

Crow-Animalia,Chordata-Corvus

 

Mantis Shrimp-Animalia,Arthropoda-Stomatopoda

 

Tardigrade-Animalia, Tardigrada-Tardigrada

 

   

 

 

   THE END!