Bone Eating Snot Flower

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This is not the sort of bloom that will get you into the sack if you bestow it on a game filly I can assure you. You, being an erudite and cosmopolitan audience, will probably have guessed that from its name. The Bone Eating Snot Flower is not a flower at all but is in fact a fine example of a Zombie Worm. These worms haven’t earned their zombie monicker from their slow yet persistent shambling gait, nor for their penchant for a brain terrine, they do however like to feast on the dead.

Grrr urggh, brains

Grrr urggh, brains

‘Whale fall’ is a bit like ‘rainfall’ it just hurts more. When a whale dies it sinks to the bottom of the ocean where it provides a plethora of beasties with quite a banquet. These carcasses dot the ocean floor providing oases for the deep water creatures that live there, a bit like motorway service stations. First of the hideous grave robbers to arrive are of course automobile insurance salesmen, shortly followed by all manner of meat eaters; crabs, squat lobsters, sleeper sharks and the particularly delightful hagfish… and a hideous cocophany it is too, if you do ever get an invite i would implore you to not even send back the RSVP. Once the bones are stripped of flesh it’s time for the Zombie Worms to move in. They set roots into the bones cracking the outer casing to get at the fatty marrow beneath.

The Bone Eating Snot Flower reproduces constantly, the female keeping a harem of males inside her tubes so that her eggs can be constantly fertilized. The eggs are cast into the oceanic currents, hopefully to find another whale carcass that has been stripped down, rather like a wormy dandelion clock. A terrifyingly ghouly snotty zombie bone-eating dandelion clock.

Published in: on June 30, 2009 at 8:02 am  Comments (3)  

Civet

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A rather pleasant-looking chap the Civet, what’s more he’s got a rather clever derierre. More on that in a mo’, these fellows are found all around the globe, they have a cat-like appearance with perhaps a soupcon of the Otter or Mongoose.

ci

Of course the Civet being in the family of things that move, and what with them being located under the Sun, it is considered a delicacy by the Chinese. This eat-first question-later policy has of course landed many a Chinaman in hospital, sweet and sour Civet included when it gave the greedy little buggers the SARS virus. Unluckily for the Civet the Chinese took offense and the Civet were slaughtered by the authorities for having the audacity to be ill while going rather well with a black bean sauce.

Talking of tasty, those who know me will be aware that I’m quite the connoisseur and gastronome. Once in Ho Chi Minh city I had the experience of partaking in the caphe cut chon beverage. Sadly my knowledge of French-Indochine cuisine was lacking at the time, you see this coffee is actually produced from Civet excrement. They feed the hapless fellow, who it should be noted much prefers a cup of tea anyway, Coffee Fruit. Out pop the beans a couple of days later. Rumours that it takes 2 Civets to make 1 cup remain unconfirmed.

One steaming cup of coffee coming up

One steaming cup of coffee coming up

One final thing about this smashing chap is that they were incredibly important for their contribution to perfumes. You see that clever little bottom of theirs contains a set of perianal glands that secrete a a high-quality musk with a smokey aroma. The musk is collected with a scraping spoon, that is in no way pleasant for the poor bloody Civet, and he is said to have developed quite an aversion to silver service dining. Still it is rather nice smelling, Henry the VIII’s wife Catherine Parr was said to be partial to the scent of Juniper and Civet in her private chamber… I say.

I'm not coming over there while you’re carrying that spoon

I'm not coming over there while you’re carrying that spoon

So there it is the Civet, the animal with the World’s most sophisticated bottom.

I say... if we get its bottom Juice... I'll mix it with some whale vomit... it’ll smell divine

I say... if we get its bottom Juice... I'll mix it with some whale vomit... it’ll smell divine

Published in: on June 29, 2009 at 10:09 am  Comments (2)  

Frilled Shark

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Dear gads what the hell is it? Bugger I’ve spilt my G and T. Aaaaah! The frilled shark, so named because living in the deep sea he’s always just positively ecstatic to be invited to a soiree at the surface.

... it really is awfully nice of you to invite me

... it really is awfully nice of you to invite me

Oh alright then it’s because he’s got big frilly gills. The fossil record shows that the frilled shark has been around for eighty million years, that’s a long time ago… about the same time that the relatives of birds gave up on the whole teeth idea… and evolved beaks. See I told you it was a long time ago. Now where were we… ah yes, you see the frilled shark was in fact thought to be extinct up until the 19th Century when a corpse washed up onto the shores of Japan.

Of course it’s often said that many have been spotted since the Middle Ages, it’s just that back then they quite reasonably surmised that they were sea serpents. Speaking of serpents it’s also hypothesized that the frilled shark strikes at its prey… much like a snake snatching at a mouse.

That’s about it for this lovely shark, one last thing, it gives birth to live young, sounds odd i know but many shark do, and quite remarkably it has the longest pregnancy in the entire animal kingdom, twice as long as an slephant in fact. For three and a half years she will waddle through the benthos bearing her young, self-righteously eyeing other sharks who have happily found a seat, thankfully for the expectant mum she wont have to breast feed.

Published in: on June 25, 2009 at 12:20 pm  Comments (1)  

Kakapo

The World’s fattest and only flightless parrot is an adorable tubby lump whose memoirs read like a pamphlet on how to get eaten. Short of evolving a coating of herb butter and having a nest like a savoy fricassee with a little beetroot-relish quinelle egg, the rather marvellous Kakapo has apparently gone out of its way to become a somewhat easy meal. So easy a meal in fact that there are only a hundred left.

Kakapo

Kakapo live on a couple of tiny islands at the bottom of New Zealand. Of course New Zealand was one of the last countries to be discovered by Man, and consequently it thought itself the luckiest archipelago around. In fact there were hardly any mammals at all, just a couple of bats. Bird life flourished here and evolved to fill all those little niches usually filled by mammals. Unperturbed by big predators they forwent the ability to fly, and waddled around the forest floor happily chomping on the nuts, berries and fruit that would usually be eaten by pigs, mice and deer. Chomping on quite a lot of it in the case of the chubby Kakapo.

... there goes the neighbourhood

... there goes the neighbourhood

Eventually Man arrived, as he always turns up after a while, and he’s not the nicest of guests and almost certainly didn’t bring any chocolates. Instead he brought over horrid things that really weren’t to the Kakapo’s liking. The Kakapo was the third most common bird on New Zealand before the Maori arrived… not for long… being delicious is not the best adaptation that evolution has ever produced. The Maori and their pooches devoured them, not surprising as Kakapo smell worse than a pub carpet on a Sunday morning and so were a tad easy find. What’s more their response to danger is to stand stock still, startled as it were, making them about as useful as the French in a fight. What made matters worse is that those horrible neighbours the Europeans arrived and brought pigs, goats, deer and horses that all loved to eat the same thing as the Kakapo. Though they did bring wine… which was thoughtful. Things just weren’t meant to be for this roly-poly parrot.

Now many birds throughout history have evolved the deliciousness gene, and quite a few have been eaten off the planet: the Dodo, the Passenger Pigeon, the Great Auk to name but a few. So here down at The Proceedings we only allow an entry if it displays an added soupcon of the strange. Thankfully the Kakapo delivers in droves.

You see this rotund fellow has rather bizarre breeding behaviour. The Kakapo will only breed certain years when a particular type of fruit abounds. If it does happen to be one of these years the Kakapo males will waddle up to ridges where they will begin to fight, sometimes to the death, for the best spots.

Once a spot is secured the male will go and tidy up the saucer-shaped bowls cut from year upon year of rooting around by the males, and quite meticulous they are with them too. One way that researchers find out if a bowl is in use is by popping a few twigs in them, if it’s used overnight they’ll have been removed by the morning. Once in their immaculate bowls the Kakapo make a booming noise to attract any females nearby to mate with, and they will continue to do so for about four months, losing half their body weight in the process. Not only that they are very very rampant, so in need of nuptials in fact that they’ve been observed mating with dead seabirds.

In fact it would probably be safe to say that the Kakapo’s attempts at getting a filly into the sack are actually more efficient at bringing down the population numbers rather than adding to them.

I say... Your Mother has so engorged herself that she could jump in the air and get stuck

I say... Your Mother has so engorged herself that she could jump in the air and get stuck

Thankfully due to some rather brilliant research, and more than a dash of diligence, a group of learned types are helping to claw this fat parrot from the brink of extinction, from forty pairs in the 1980’s, there are now over a hundred in the wild. Bally good show chaps!

To surmise; if you’re a tubby delicious meal, who you can smell a mile off, who’s not really concentrating as you’re so ready for rumpy-pumpy you’d have it away with a rotten seagull, and you are loud, and the new next door neighbours are hungry Polynesians and their pets, and you can’t fly away or actually make any kind of response to being attacked… things aren’t going to pan out too well.

Published in: on June 24, 2009 at 12:08 pm  Comments (1)  

Lake Titicaca Frog

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High in the South American Andes sits an epic body of water, many years ago the local tribes saw that it was shaped like a puma pouncing on a rabbit and so named it Lake Titicaca. Years later, deep in its azure waters Victorian naturalists found a rather curious looking frog, they marvelled at this new species poked at its flaps of skin and scratched their learned chins, there was only one name for this froggy fellow Telmatobius coleus – the aquatic scrotum.

TiticacaFrog

Lake Titicaca is an unforgiving place, at nearly 4,000 metres above sea level the Sun is punishing, oxygen is thin and freezing temperatures abound. It’s for this reason that the Lake Titicaca Frog has evolved into something that looks like it should be in a man’s pants, which is surprising as a man’s pants are rarely thought of as an extreme environment. It should also be noted that it being discovered in 1876 it was way before any sort of TV chef, hence the frog is not called Gordonus ramsiius. Not that we at the proceedings think Gordon Ramsey looks like a nutsack … no …no… no… no… no. It seems the key to the frogs success is that it stays underwater at all times, and those folds and flaps of skin help with the uptake of oxygen from the lake.

For years this fellow has been revered by the locals, who thought the frog could summon rain. They would take a frog, place him in a jar, and leave him at the top of a hill. Of course the frog would scream bally murder, it hadn’t evolved into a scrotum-like frog to sit in jars at the top of hills, he much preferred life at the bottom of a lake where people couldn’t constantly remark on how much he looked like a pair of knackers. Unfortunately the Frogish for ‘get me out of this jar you fools’ sounds a lot like the Quechuan for ‘oh do rain, it would be awfully nice’. Thankfully sometimes the rains would come, and as the jar filled with water the frog could slosh out and go back to the bottom of the lake where he felt much less self conscious.

In the 1970’s when Jacques Cousteau visited the lake he reported that the bottom was quite literally swimming with ‘thousands of millions’ of giant frogs, many up to 50cm long. Sadly the days of these behemoth have gone, there are few frogs left and those that are still there rarely get that big . One of the main reasons for their demise is the fad for ‘frog juice’ in nearby Lima. These cosmopolitan forward-thinking erudites think that they can produce an aphrodisiac by skinning a frog alive, mixing it with a bit of honey and some roots, and whizzing it up in a blender. Of course nothing gets me in the mood like watching a frog being skinned alive and blended. In fact I can think of no bigger turn off… apart from Gordon Ramsay… who looks like a nutsack.

Published in: on June 23, 2009 at 9:26 am  Comments (4)  

Clownfish

Clown fish have had it good of late… world-famed actors and bon vivants they’re the fishy toast of tinseltown. What those Hollywood types didn’t tell you is that this chap wants to be a chick. Of course we at the Proceedings of the Ever so Strange are liberal minded souls and we salute transvestisism… for one thing we think it takes balls.

Mum what's a transvestite?  .... That's your Father ... Ask your Mother ... He should know

Mum what's a transvestite? .... That's your Father ... Ask your Mother ... He should know

Now lets get the goggles on these superb little fellows. You see the Clownfish, also called the Anemone fish, lives in symbiosis with a clown … sorry… Anemone. Anemones are big stingy buggers, but for some hotly debated reason the fish are impervious to their nastiness. Which makes an Anemone a rather good hiding place. Of course the Anemone doesn’t act like a watery pub for no reason… he gets cleaned by the fish, all that swimming back and forth really helps with water circulation, and as if that wasn’t enough… it also gets to eat all the fish poo.

Naturally living in wibbly stingy things isn’t the really remarkable thing about Clownfish. You see what every schoolboy Clownfish wants to be when he grows up isn’t a Spaceman or a Train driver. What they really want to be… is a she. You see all Clownfish are born as chaps. They live together as a group of a male and female breeding pair and a number of undeveloped males. When the female dies the dominant male takes the unprecedented step of turning into a dame. He, obviously now a she, will take on all female duties… laying eggs… being bally lovely… tittle tattle. This of course isn’t ideal for their acting careers… though there is talk of an opening in the comic book adaptation of X Men.

Published in: on June 21, 2009 at 1:35 pm  Leave a Comment  

Tar Baby Termites

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Suicide Bomber Bugs

These fellows have worse eating habits than the Scots… of course a termite’s food of choice is wood, unlike a Scot of course … their chosen type of food is drink. Termites find that small bits of wood are a bit easier on the mandibles so furniture and other bits of houses make a fine supper. So fine in fact that Termites cause more than $5 BILLION of damage in the US alone every single year. What’s more this wee chap can actually chew through concrete.

i say ... is this bar tender?

i say ... is this bar tender?

It was assumed that Termites are related to that other enormous group of six-legged fiends… the ants. Up until now that is, through the new-fangled jiggery-pokery of DNA analysis it’s been discovered that termites are actually cockroaches.

Though today we are having a quick peruse of one social-cockroach in particular. The tar baby termite, you see this Ever-so-Strange chap has evolved a rather effective manner of defence against marauding ants. It quite simply explodes, killing itself in the process, leaving behind a sticky impassable goo … and it’s attacker in a sticky situation … so that his nest mates can live on. Rather commendable I’m sure you’ll agree. Now if anyone can find a video of this I’ll buy them half a mild… until then here’s a photo.

remarkable

remarkable

Published in: on June 20, 2009 at 5:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

Vervet Monkey

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The Vervet Monkey has the rather enviable ecological niche of hanging around in the Caribbean drinking cocktails.

I know I was drunk last night ... but which joker coloured in my scrotum?

I know I was drunk last night ... but which joker coloured in my scrotum?

Originally from Africa the Vervet Monkeys were imported as pets on the boats that brought over slaves to the Carribean in the 17th Century. There they have flourished in the wild and have regularly caused chaos throughout the Antilles, non more so than the population on St Kitts. You see the St Kitts’ Vervets have taken to boozing. Originally they found sugar cane fermenting on the local plantations, but now they’ve found a more ready source… tourists.

The troops of monkeys come out of the forests to the beach, where they can regularly admire fillies and steal some booze. Of course everyone likes a drunk and everyone likes a monkey … so what could be better. Though I think you know by now that drunkenness, apart from in the case of the author, isn’t enough to get you into the Proceedings of the Ever so Strange.

You see these chaps are really rather eerily familiar. Learned types have discovered that the Vervets have rather human patterns of imbibing. How so? Well the vast majority of them are social drinkers, they drink in moderation and only after midday. Fifteen percent are steady drinkers who like a more regular tipple, and another fifteen percent are teetotal. Then there are the five percent who go at it like the Major at a free bar. Absolutely bladdered they are too, kicking off fights and barely able to stand. Interestingly it’s the five percent who act up the most, the most monkey-like in a way, they are the ones that become the dominant pack members… the leaders. Sadly the author can think of nothing that equates to this in human society… must try harder… look like monkeys… our leaders…hmmm …are drunks… no sorry still nothing.

Published in: on June 19, 2009 at 9:50 am  Comments (1)  

Cookie Cutter Shark

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Sharks are pretty pleased with themselves, so they should be, they’re basically a rippling slab of muscle in gunmetal grey, row upon row of huge teeth… all in all awesome eating machines. When they’re not eating seals like hors d’oeuvres and hippies on boards like a small blini… they just like to cruise around the oceans looking like a whole barrel of tough.

 a satisfactory brunch

a satisfactory brunch

Some sharks of course don’t look so tough, but they’re certainly not to be trifled with; the bizarre hammerhead, goblin and frilled sharks…

…and then there is the cookie cutter shark, a snivelling little sneak who looks more like a fat ladies arm holding a kitchen utensil.

the new desk tidies were a surprising hit

the new desk tidies were a surprising hit

This chubby little rake likes to take a chomp out of bigger fish by pretending to be a tasty snack, what’s more the way it does it is rather intriguing.

You see a lot of fish have cells all along their belly that give off light. It’s a rather clever way of not getting eaten, if a big predator looks up from deeper water then the cells that give off light means that they’re not silhouetted against the sun, and so are very nearly invisible.

The cookie cutter shark has taken this devilishly clever trick a step further. They have a patch of black near their throat that doesn’t have any bioluminescent cells. So predators see a tiny black speck above their heads darting around like a small fish. Not surprisingly the predator bolts at the easy target, and this is when the cookie cutter pounces. Using the speed of the predator it latches on to its feckless attacker using its big rubbery lips. Its huge teeth, the biggest in any shark species relative to its size, slice into the hapless predators flesh… taking a perfectly-circular biscuit shaped bite.

la! ... la! ... la! ... la! la! la!

la! ... la! ... la! ... la! la! la!

Incidentally although many fish, like the angler fish, use bioluminescence to lure prey and indeed to avoid it. The cookie cutter shark is the only example of lack of bioluminescence being used to get a meal ticket.

Of course like most sharks, metaphorically-speaking, the cookie cutters are almost entirely bone from the neck upwards and so often take lumps out of the wrong thing. Submarines, microphones and electric cables have all been subject to the cookie cutter’s fearsome chomp.

Thankfully only once has a human been on the receiving end of cookie cutter’s gnashers. Big tough sharks, on the other hand, the gunmetal grey slabs of muscle, the ones that eat dolphins as an amuse-bouche, are often found with more than one big circular lump out of their backside.

Published in: on June 18, 2009 at 12:07 pm  Comments (3)  

Velvet Worm

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This fabulously decadent fellow is the velvet worm, so named for his downy skin, but the plush appearance of this oddity has nothing on its rather curious hunting habits. This chap bimbles through the forest, like a worm with legs in a smoking jacket, looking for victims by quite literally sniffing them out. When he finds a hapless individual he rears up and squirts goo everywhere like a primordial spiderman. The victim is stuck fast by the threads and all the dastardley velvet worm has to do is inject it with its poisonous saliva and suck the gooey insides out. After a fine brunch he will spend a good bit of time chomping up all his sticky stuff to use on some other hapless chap.

This rather spider-like way of eating is no coincidence. Although originally scientists thought it was a type of worm, it seems that this fellow is actually a lot closer related to the spiders. Some learned types have proposed that it is a link between the earthworms and the spiders.

Evolution lesson over, lets get back to oddities, and what better oddities to follow than obscene oddities. One knows by now that you are aware that I have a predilection for the somewhat obscene, and the Velvet Worm is just that. You see this bounder has rather odd mating habits.

perhaps you'd like to come upstairs to see my etchings?

perhaps you'd like to come upstairs to see my etchings?

The male, which is much smaller than the female, deposits his sperm in a sac and leaves it on the females back. These can build up and there are oft many of these spermatophores from different males all over her. Then by sheer jiggery-pokery the packages are absorbed into the side of her and the sperm swim willy-nilly through her blood until they reach the sperm storage organs, where she is fertilised. One species however has evolved to do without all this silly fornication, and put simply it clones itself … a virgin birth as it were. This isn’t the only mating oddity as some species lay eggs, others hatch eggs inside their bodies and some actually have live young. I’d like to see spiderman try that. Actually no … no I wouldn’t … that’s the last thing I’d like to see.

Published in: on June 17, 2009 at 11:30 am  Comments (1)