Exploring Nature’s Marvels: 45 Intriguing Facts about Amazing Plant and Animal Species – Part 2

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1Pipevine swallowtail butterflies

Pipevine swallowtail butterflies

A San Francisco man named Tim Wong saved a threatened butterfly species (California pipevine swallowtail butterflies) by replanting rare flora in his backyard, transporting caterpillars to his local botanical garden, where they began to make a comeback.

2. The sting of a tiny jellyfish named the Box jellyfish inflicts the victim with an impending sense of doom. The sensation of constant imminent dread is reportedly so severe that patients beg their doctors to kill them to end it.

3. Elephants are a keystone species. They carve pathways through impenetrable underbrush shaping entire ecosystems as they create pools in dried river beds and spread seeds as they travel.

4. Bats are one of just a few species, besides humans, that communicate directly to individual bats, instead of just making broad communication sounds.

5. The rainbow lorikeet is a colorful species of parrot native to the forests of eastern Australia. Reportedly, they love showering and sometimes sleep upside down. As intelligent birds, they get easily bored and love to play with noisy toys. When they eat fermented fruit, they can get quite drunk.

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6North Ronaldsay sheep

North Ronaldsay sheep

The North Ronaldsay sheep survives entirely on seaweed. On the island of North Ronaldsay in Scotland, a wall was built around the island to protect crops from sheep grazing, limiting them to the shoreline where they have adapted to survive on seaweed.

7. 1749 out of 1750 species of cacti are native to only The Americas.

8. The Florida fairy shrimp was discovered in 1952 to be a unique species of fairy shrimp specific to a single pond in Gainesville, Florida. When researchers returned to that pond in 2011, they realized it had been filled in for development, causing the species to go extinct.

9. There is a species of salamander that is entirely female and reproduces by stealing genetic material from males of other species and cherry-picking what genes they pass on to their daughters.

10. When all remaining California condors were captured to ensure their survival, they were de-loused. In doing so, conservationists killed all remaining individuals of a species of a louse (Colpocephalum californici) that lived exclusively on the California condor, inadvertently causing an extinction.

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11Crab spiders

Crab spiders

Some species of crab spiders disguise themselves as ants by pretending their two front legs are antennae. More than 300 species of spiders are known to mimic the outward appearance of ants, in a phenomenon called myrmecomorphy.

12. In 1979, the Black-footed ferret was declared extinct. In 1981 the species was rediscovered when a dog in Meeteetse, Wyoming brought a dead ferret home. A small population was found and today the Black-footed ferret is making a comeback.

13. There are species of mushrooms that feed off of gamma radiation, and some are blooming in Chernobyl, “eating” the radiation.

14. Among starfish that can regenerate their entire body from a single-arm, some can do so from just 1cm (0.4 inches) long. In fact, in some species of starfish, a large female can split in half; each half becoming a male which then transforms back into a female once it grows big enough.

15. A small hopping insect named the Issus Coleoptratus uses toothed gears on its joints to precisely synchronize the kicks of its hind legs as it jumps forward. This insect has the only mechanical gears ever found in nature.

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16Bagheera kiplingi

Bagheera kiplingi

Out of 46,000 discovered species of spiders, only a single one (Bagheera kiplingi) has been found to be a herbivore.

17. An explorer once found a compound named calanolide A, in certain trees in Malaysian rainforest. Researchers then found out that it had anti-HIV properties. Unfortunately for them they couldn’t find another sample for nine years as almost all the trees of that species had been cut down for firewood and building material.

18. Banana candy doesn't taste like banana because the flavoring was invented while an old species of banana was popular, the Gros Michel, which tastes different from the currently popular banana, the Cavendish. Panama disease wiped out the Gros Michel but the artificial flavor never changed.

19. An ultra-rare species of blue bees (blue calamintha bee) has recently been rediscovered after missing for 4 years. They are hyper-local species and only live around an isolated patch of sand dunes along the central Florida ridge. Before 2020, they were last seen in 2016.

20. There is a species of butterfly that feeds only on specific plant (Artemisia Vulgaris), which happens to like soil above mass graves. Forensic teams followed these blue butterflies to help them uncover the mass grave sites in Rwanda.

21Fig tree

Fig tree

A fig tree tricks a certain species of wasp to pollinate it, sends it down a small passage in the fruit where its wings are ripped off, after which it is digested by enzymes. Figs eat wasps.

22. Pestalotiopsis microspora is a species of fungus from the Amazon that feeds on plastic. It can live on plastic alone and can do so without oxygen, potentially leading to new techniques for bioremediation.

23. The Devils Hole Pupfish is species that exists within a 22 by 3.5 meter pool in Death Valley. In 2007, as few as 38 individuals remained. As of spring 2019, the population had reached 136.

24. Malabar giant squirrel is a squirrel species that’s endemic to India. They have multicoloured fur and can get up to 3 feet in length.

25. The Ginkgo Biloba species of tree is 270 million years old. It rarely suffers from disease or insect attack and was one of the only living things to survive the Hiroshima nuclear bombing. The trees healed quickly and are still alive today.

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