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Virtual Magazine Amazing Creatures Natalie Alva Leiva 9th Grade


The Platypus: is a semiaquatic mammal endemic to eastern Australia, including Tasmania. Together with the four species of echidna, it is one of the five extant species of monotremes, the only mammals that lay eggs instead of giving birth. When the platypus was first encountered by Europeans in 1798, a pelt and sketch were sent back to Great Britain by Captain John Hunter, the second Governor of New South Wales. British scientists' initial hunch was that the attributes were a hoax. George Shaw, who produced the first description of the animal in the Naturalist's Miscellany in 1799, stated it was impossible not to entertain doubts as to its genuine nature, and Robert Knox believed it might have been produced by some Asian taxidermist. It was thought that somebody had sewn a duck's beak onto the body of a beaver-like animal. Shaw even took a pair of scissors to the dried skin to check for stitches

Description: The body and the broad, flat tail of the platypus are covered with dense, brown fur that traps a layer of insulating air to keep the animal warm. The fur is waterproof, and the texture is akin to that of a mole. The platypus uses its tail for storage of fat reserves (an adaptation also found in animals such as the Tasmanian devil and fat-tailed sheep). It


has webbed feet and a large, rubbery snout; these features appear closer to those of a duck than to those of any known mammal. The webbing is more significant on the front feet and is folded back when walking on land. Unlike a bird's beak (in which the upper and lower parts separate to reveal the mouth), the snout of the platypus is a sensory organ with the mouth on the underside. The nostrils are located on the dorsal surface of the snout, while the eyes and ears are located in a groove set just back from it; this groove is closed when swimming. Platypuses have been heard to emit a low growl when disturbed and a range of other vocalizations have been reported in captive specimens.


The (Ailurus fulgens)is also known in some areas as the Shining Cat. Native to the Eastern Himalayas and Southwestern China. It is the sole member of its genus Ailuirs. Its diet mainly consists of bamboo, but it is an omnivore, and eats anything the woodlands provide. Its ability to eat bamboo rests with its strong, curved, sharp claws. A distant relative to the giant panda, there are no more than 10,000 adults left in the world, though it is protected by several countries. Its decline is blamed on loss of natural habitat, and poaching. Like the giant panda it also has a false thumb that is an extension of the wrist bone which aids tremendously in gripping things. They are typically shy creatures living a solitary life, except around mating season. Females give birth to one to four cubs usually in the spring and summer. Young pandas remain in their nest for about 90 days before venturing out on their own. The red panda had been previously classified as a relative of the raccoon in the past but was found that this was not accurate. Though greatly smaller than their distant cousins, they are indeed panda bears.


The Tasmanian devil is the largest surviving carnivorous marsupial. It has a squat, thick build, with a large head and a tail which is about half its body length. Unusually for a marsupial, its forelegs are slightly longer than its hind legs, and devils can run up to 13 km/h (8.1 mph) for short distances. The fur is usually black, often with irregular white patches on the chest and rump (although approximately 16% of wild devils do not have white patches).These markings suggest that the devil is most active at dawn and dusk, and they are thought to draw biting attacks toward less important areas of the body, as fighting between devils often leads to a concentration of scars in that region. Males are usually larger than females, having an average head and body length of 652 mm (25.7 in), a 258 mm (10.2 in) tail and an average weight of 8 kg (18 lbs.). Females have an average head and body length of 570 mm (22 in), a 244 mm (9.6 in) tail and an average weight of 6 kg (13 lbs.), although devils in western Tasmania tend to be smaller. Devils have five long toes on their forefeet, four pointing to the front and one coming out from the side, which gives the devil the ability to hold food. The hind feet have four toes, and the devils have nonretractable claws. The stocky devils have a relatively low center of mass. Devils are fully grown at two years of age, and few devils live longer than five years old in the wild.


The name of the order mantodea is formed from the Ancient Greek words μάντις (mantis) meaning "prophet", and εἶδος (eidos) meaning "form" or "type". It was coined in 1838 by the German entomologist Hermann Burmeister. The informal English name for the order is the mantises, or sometimes (using a Latinized plural of Greek mantis), the mantes. The name mantis refers only to members of the family Mantidae


Sexual cannibalism is common among mantises in captivity, and under some circumstances may also be observed in the field. The female may begin feeding by biting off the male’s head (as they do with regular prey), and if mating has begun, the male’s movements may become even more vigorous in its delivery of sperm. Early researchers thought that because ovulatory movement is controlled by a ganglion in the abdomen, not the head, removal of the male’s head was a reproductive strategy by females to enhance fertilization while obtaining sustenance.


An anaconda is a large, non-venomous snake found in tropical South America. Although the name actually applies to a group of snakes, it is often used to refer only to one species in particular, the common or green anaconda, Eunectes murinus, which is one of the largest snakes in the world. Various theories exist regarding the origin of the name itself. The most widely accepted one suggests it was derived from the Sinhala henakandaya since the phonetic sounds are very similar. However, this name is used to refer to the brown vine snake, Ahaetulla pulverulenta, a slender, arboreal species that grows to five feet (152 cm) at most and feeds only on small vertebrates.


Thriving on the deepest ocean floors, the Sea Pig behaves much like slugs do on land. They scavenge the ocean floor for any organic material using their tube feet to move them along and using their tentacles to push food into their mouth. The Sea Pig is not an endangered species, but rare to see due to the depths of ocean in which they live. Though they appear to be some sort of slug/pig combination, sea pigs are scotoplanes or sea cucumbers belonging to the genus of the deep sea Holothurians.


These animals are generally nocturnal and live in many coastal and forest regions of Indo-Pacific islands. Including the Western and Central Pacific Ocean, The Indian Ocean and the seas in the area of Indonesia. Some of its "island names" are the Robber Crab or Palm Thief because of its reported habit of taking anything it can use specifically shiny items. But they get their common name from their ability to climb Coconut Palm trees, clip off the Coconuts, return to the ground, peel the husk from his coconut, and hammer them open by dropping it repeatedly on rocks, or banging them open with their large claws. The rest of their diet is primarily fleshy fruits, nuts and seeds. Coconut crabs have a body length of about 16 inches, a leg span of 3 feet, and can weigh up to 9 pounds. Though there are accounts of them reaching upwards of 6 feet across and weighing up to 30 pounds. They can also live more than 30 years.


Is a small nocturnal primate, the Loris is able to live in wet and dry forests, as well as lowland and highland areas. About the size of a chipmunk with long very thin legs. Their diet consists mainly of insects and vegetation, and their average life span is twelve to fifteen years. Their movements are slow and meticulous so not to alert any prey. One of their unusual habits is to rub their urine over their hands face and feet. This is thought to be a remedy to them because they enjoy dining on toxic beetles and roaches.

Their main threat is human as natives have always believed all parts of the Slender Loris to have medicinal or magical powers. It is unknown how many survive in the world today. There are laws in India to protect the Loris, but it is hard to gauge their numbers due to their nocturnal habits.


The Monkfish, or Headfish is native to the Northwestern Atlantic Ocean. They can grow upwards of three feet in length, and the largest recorded specimen was 219 lbs. They are in the genus Squatina, the angel shark family. They are not widely consumed throughout the world, although there are regions such as Spain and Valencia that it can be commonly found. It is thought that the reason they are endangered is because they are caught as by catch by trawlers (caught accidentally and later used as bait).


While their general color is green/lime green like most frogs. The abdominal side is transparent. The Internal organs and gastrointestinal tract are visible through the skin. First discovered in 1872, they were first placed with tree frogs in the genera Hyella. It wasn't until 1951 that the family Centrolenidae was created. That family is now host to over 50 species of glass frogs. Found primarily along rivers and streams in Central and South America, Glass frogs are small, between 1.2 and 3.0 inches in lengh.


These freshwater turtles are found in South America. Distinctive due to its large flattened head with many flaps of skin. These turtles grow to a length of about 18-20 inches as an adult and weigh around 30 pounds. Each foot has five webbed claws which is uses along with its natural camouflage to catch fish and other food. The Mata Mata while lying still in the water would resemble a piece of wood or a gathering of leaves.


TheGasteracantha cancriformis, or Spinney Orb weaver Spider is also known in some areas as a Crab Spider has a very distinctive and colorful "shell" looking back with several "spines" usually bright in color protruding out. It is thought that this is mainly a development of protection from predators as it looks dangerous. They are small in size, the larger of the species only about 10 - 13 mm in length. A bite from this spider is known to "have serious effects on humans".


The (Condylura cristata) or Star Nosed Mole is found all along the Eastern seaboard of the United States, across the Northeast United states from about Wisconsin over to New Hampshire. It is also found along Southeastern areas of Canada. It is the sole member of the genus Condylura. These unique creatures have the unmistakable trait of having eleven pairs of pink fleshy appendages sprouting from their snout. These appendages are used for their sense of touch, and contain more than 25,000 sensory receptors. The Star Nosed Mole is functionally blind, and is smaller than an average Mole (only about the size of a Hamster). A report in the journal Nature attributed the Star Nosed Mole as being the fastest eating mammal, taking as little as 120 milliseconds to identify and consume foot items, deciding in only 8 milliseconds on whether or not something is edible. These moles also possess the rare ability to smell underwater by exhaling air bubbles onto objects and then inhaling the bubbles to carry scents back through the nose.


Native to the deep waters of Australia and Tasmania, the rare Psycholutes Marcidusis a gelatinous mass with a density slightly lower than water. This allows the Blobfish to swim without expending much energy. The Blobfish will consume any organic matter that passes in front of it. Though the Blobfish has few natural predators, it is facing extinction due to deep sea fishing.


Also from the family Phyliidae, the Walking Leaf, or Leaf Insect is native to South Asia and Australia. Its amazing natural camouflage makes them virtually invisible in wooded areas. Which not only protects them from predators, but lets prey come to them. Similarly to Mantis' and Stick Bugs, the Leaf Insect has a tendency to sway back and forth to mimic a real leaf blowing in the wind. Some sources state that these insects may have been in existence 47 million years ago.


Isopod, meaning crustacean, this behemoth is actually related to shrimp and crabs. First discovered in 1879 by French zoologist Alphonse Milne Edwards, it was the first proof of life at the azoic (deep ocean) level. They are of little interest to commercial fisheries as there numbers are too scarce to market, and are "scavenged beyond marketability" before they are recovered. They are also related and bare resemblance to the Pill Bug, or as we know them around here, the Roly-Poly. Mature adults reaching as long as 14 inches, and weighing nearly 4 pounds, they are formidable scavengers of the deep sea. They live in areas over five hundred and fifty feet below the surface in pitch darkness; they scavenge the carcasses of dead whales, fish and squid. Due to the lack of food at the depth they live in, they have adapted to long periods of famine. They are known to survive up to two months without any food.


The Dasymutilla Occidentalis are actually wasps. The female of the species are wingless and covered with red hair giving it the appearance of an ant. The males of the species have wings, but can not sting. The Red Velvet Ant is common in South Western America and Mexico. The name "Cow Killer" is not accurate, it is not believed that many cows are stung, and it is absurd to think that one bite would kill a cow. This name comes from the severely painful sting these insects inflict. As if to say, "that hurt enough to kill a cow"


Amazing Creatures