Tongue Eating Louse

WE’VE MOVED! COME JOIN US HHERE

The tongue-eating louse is the only example of a parasite that lives by crawling into another animal and after dispatching with a body part lives as a rather awkward replacement. It does so with relatively little harm to the poor bloody fish, though it is said the poor bloody fish rarely gets a smooch these days.

tongue-eating-louse

say aaaaah

He’s an unwanted guest, like some insufferable bugger from college who comes around and stays far too bloody long, at least he would be if said guest came in ate your chaise longue and quickly proceeded to decimate your wine cellar and didn’t leave until the day they died. The tongue-eating louse is quite possibly the most repugnant thing on the planet, worse than the Major’s wife and even a sniper wouldn’t take her out.

cymothoa

just a quick kiss... no no don't mind him

This louse is quite simply a monster, albeit a little one. The crustacean crawls into the gills of a fish, scrambles up to the mouth and stabs its claws either side of the fishes tongue. Despite its name it doesn’t actually eat the tongue, the organ atrophies as the parasite slurps the blood taking with it all the oxygen and nutrients and what not. There the louse sits for the rest of its life, why the blazes they never evolved to eat the tasty morsels the poor bloody fish is eating is anyone’s guess. One also wonders how they find this living-in-a-fishy mouth lifestyle satisfying.

tongueeater

... well on tuesdays i do Spanish classes... and on Thursdays I do salsa

So do we at The Proceedings wish we’d never mentioned the horrible buggers? Quite the opposite we think they are really rather grand! An incredible example of a pinnacle of evolution…. you see parasites rather obviously live off another animal to the hosts detriment. It’s a rather lazy, but devilishly clever survival technique that has arisen again and again independently throughout the course of evolution. It’s safe to say almost every single animal of any size has at least one. The really really clever, or more to the point the really well-evolved parasites, tap the hosts resources all the while leaving the host to live quite normally and hence as long as possible…. so that the parasite can tap more and more resources, and make more and more horrible little offspring. And we at The Proceedings can think of no other parasite that does it quite so well.

Indeed the closest we could think of is our own offspring, living off the nutrients of the blood of its mother, before popping out being a bit of a pain until you can eventually pack them off to a cripplingly expensive boarding school at the age of four. Which is at least some good news for the parents as they get back to smooching, a smooch that contains millions of micro-organisms, some of which are parasites.

Advertisements
Published in: on October 18, 2010 at 1:21 pm  Comments (3)  

Tongue Eating Louse

WE’VE MOVED! COME AND SEE US HERE YOU BIG SMASHER!

The tongue-eating louse is the only example of a parasite that lives by crawling into another animal and after dispatching with a body part lives as a rather awkward replacement. It does so with relatively little harm to the poor bloody fish, though it is said the poor bloody fish rarely gets a smooch these days.

tongue-eating-louse

say aaaaah

He’s an unwanted guest, like some insufferable bugger from college who comes around and stays far too bloody long, at least he would be if that guest came in ate your chaise longue and quickly proceeded to decimate your wine cellar and didn’t leave until the day they died. The tongue-eating louse is quite possibly the most repugnant thing on the planet, worse than the Major’s wife and even a sniper wouldn’t take her out.

cymothoa

just a quick kiss... no no don't mind him

This louse is quite simply a monster, albeit a little one. The crustacean crawls into the gills of a fish, scrambles up to the mouth and stabs its claws either side of the fishes tongue. Despite its name it doesn’t actually eat the tongue, the organ atrophies as the parasite slurps the blood taking with it all the oxygen and nutrients and what not. There the louse sits for the rest of its life, why the blazes they never evolved to eat the tasty morsels the poor bloody fish is eating is anyone’s guess. One also wonders how they find this living-in-a-fishy mouth lifestyle satisfying.

tongueeater

... well on tuesdays i do Spanish classes... and on Thursdays I do salsa

So do we at The Proceedings wish we’d never mentioned the horrible buggers? Quite the opposite we think they are really rather grand! An incredible example of a pinnacle of evolution…. you see parasites rather obviously live off another animal to the hosts detriment. It’s a rather lazy, but devilishly clever survival technique that has arisen again and again independently throughout the course of evolution. It’s safe to say almost every single animal of any size has at least one. The really really clever, or more to the point the really well-evolved parasites, tap the hosts resources all the while leaving the host to live quite normally and hence as long as possible…. so that the parasite can tap more and more resources, and make more and more horrible little offspring. And we at The Proceedings can think of no other parasite that does it quite so well.

Indeed the closest we could think of is our own offspring, living off the nutrients of the blood of its mother, before popping out being a bit of a pain until you can eventually pack them off to a cripplingly expensive boarding school at the age of four. Which is at least some good news for the parents as they get back to smooching, a smooch that contains millions of micro-organisms, some of which are parasites.

Published in: on November 10, 2009 at 12:45 pm  Comments (23)  

Jumping Spiders

The jumping spiders are a rather charming bunch, one of the most numerous types of arachnid with about 5,000 species spanning the globe, though pour yourself a sherry and read on dear friend as they are far from common, and aren’t a bit like your run-of-the-mill eight-legged fiend.

don't look sad little one...

don't look sad little one...

These charming spiders don’t really fit in with their peers, of course this can only endear our band of bon vivants to our eight-legged chums… what with us being the scourge of the gentleman’s clubs of Soho… those clubs that would have us back anyway.

... that's better!

... that's better!

The jumpers are, put quite simply, not very spider like… instead of a terrifying lolloping blur of legs… beady little eyes… venomous gnashers… attributes that turn even the most ardent animal lover into a genocidal animapath… they are instead fluffy and doe-eyed and actually make you want to pick them up for a bit of a spidery snuggle.

jumpers

This sadly would be quite impossible as they tend to be about 5mm long, though these wee spiders do try and make up for their unsnugglable tiny stature by behaving in a rather precious manner. If you presented your pinkie to another type of spider it would presumably either start skedaddling towards it drooling at its gaping maw… or simply scuttle back to Hades (or the back of the refrigeration unit, whichever is nearer). The jumping spider reacts quite differently, inquisitively wondering what the blazes the big pink sausage is… and go and have an investigate.

These spiders move not surprisingly in a jerky jumping manner. Amazingly they don’t move by muscles clunking their hard shelly body around, but in fact use hydraulic action. Like a mechanical digger they utilize fluid, blood in the case of our adorable arachnid, which they pump around their system. The fluid pushes to move limbs, rather than pulls like a muscle. This rather marvellous adaption allows them to jump really rather high, up to eighty times their own height, without having to rely on big bulky muscles like the grasshopper.

jumpingspider

The jumping spiders also have incredible eyesight, it is ten times better than that of the dragonflies… patrons of by far the best peepers in the six-legged insect kingdom. The furry bounders use their remarkable vision to stalk their prey rather than putting up big and quite frankly frightful and unwelcoming webs everywhere. Though it did confuse learned types for some time as to exactly how something with such a tiny brain can use its eyes to hunt.

Predatory mammals such as cats and ourselves have evolved incredibly complex neural pathways to deal with the amount of information our eyes bring in. The information is sifted and sorted and we can make out what we need to make out, without going stark raving bonkers at the barrage of information we behold. The jumping spiders it turns out have evolved in a very different manner, they see a very small amount at a time. While they can see as clearly as a pigeon, they could only see a speck of something at a time, if they were presented with a pigeon they would not only be annoyed at your poor taste in presents but they quite simply wouldn’t be able to comprehend its magnitude… which is incidentally a philosophical argument as to why we cannot see Gods dilly dallying around the place, they are just too enormous for our tiny minds to compute… though whether pigeons are Gods to jumping spiders is anyone’s guess…

So that’s it, the rather delightful jumping spider. I’m sure you’ll agree that they aren’t a bit like those other ruffians, our fuzzy friend with big eyes rather than big fangs, inquisitive and bouncey rather than skulking and scampering. It has even been postulated by learned types that these charismatic inquisitive creatures shouldn’t really be called jumping spiders at all… and that perhaps a better moniker for these pouncing furballs would be ‘eight-legged cats’.

Published in: on October 21, 2009 at 11:25 am  Comments (6)  

Coconut Crab

Dear Gads! It’s enormous! Up to six foot across! Say “how do you do” to the coconut crab… the world’s biggest land crab… indeed the world’s biggest land arthropod. Unbelievably it’s actually a type of hermit crab, yes those wee things you see skedaddling around the shoreline with a seashell house on their back. Of course the coconut crab would probably need a four door family hatchback as a shell so it gave up on that idea quite some time ago.

CoconutCrab1849

The coconut crab is so called because it eats coconuts… and it’s a crab. The thing about coconuts is that they are tough, really bloody tough. And the thing about things that can open up coconuts is that they are strong, really bloody strong. Incredibly the coconut crab can crack coconuts by hammering at them with its claw, or if it’s being a particularly stubborn bugger it will carry it up a tree and drop it. Incidentally the coconut crab isn’t the only creature to try this clever ploy, bearded vultures will rakishly use the same technique to open up tortoises. Not great news for tortoises, or indeed for the Greek playwright Aeschylus who having fought bravely to smite Persian hordes and drive them from his beloved homeland… was later brained by a falling tortoise.

Aeschylus not a fan of Tortoises

Aesychles not a fan of Tortoises

Enough about the Greeks, let’s get back to that chap that eats things that are also thick and hairy. The coconut crab is also known as the robber crab as it apparently has a penchant for petty thievery. If you are unlucky enough to have your pocket watch snaffled by this rascal I can only advise you to let him have it.

i say... i'm taxing you this bin and there's very little you can do about it

i say... i'm taxing you this bin and there's very little you can do about it

‘Have you gone soft in your old age Sir Pilkington, you’ve run many a rapscallion through for much less’ I hear you cry! Well the thing about the coconut crab is that he’s big… very big… in fact he’s as big as a land animal with an exoskeleton can get, that’s the shell-like armour plating on insects and what not… so the good news is that they don’t get any bigger than this chap I guess. Naturally, being a massive crab, it has massive pincers, as I’ve mentioned they are strong enough to crack coconuts. If you are ever unlucky enough to be nipped by one of these buggers, it’s common practice to scream bloody murder. Of course that won’t be enough to get the sod to let go, as quite frankly he doesn’t give a damn for all your wailing and doesn’t want to. Locals thankfully have come up with a cunning ploy, they’ve found that the only way to get them to stop is to tickle them, of course when something that cracks coconuts for a living is attempting to cleave your toe in two… the hardest thing to do is trying to muster up a big smile, tickle its tummy and say ‘cudgy cudgy coo.’

Published in: on July 8, 2009 at 2:02 pm  Comments (2)