twenty-one things tagged “nature”

The Sand Octopus

Octopus kaurna lacks chromatophores like other octopuses. So it just burrows instead 😍🐙. It’s the only known octopus to bury itself completely like this.

The process begins with the octopus using its siphon to inject water into the sand, creating quicksand-like conditions which enable burrowing. Then, it uses its arms to burrow into the sand. Two arms will be extended to the surface, creating a ventilation shaft. At the same time, O. kaurna will use mucus to stabilize the shape of the burrow. Finally, the octopus will retract its two arms and push out loose sand with its siphon, creating a mucus-lined, ventilated burrow to rest in.

Octopus kaurna, Wikipedia

The Dracula Parrot

Also known as Pesquet’s parrot or the vulturine parrot.

The Dracula Parrot

The Dracula Parrot

The Dracula parrot is a large, heavy bird, stretching to almost half a metre from beak to tail and weighing in at almost a kilogram. It maintains all that bulk by feeding almost exclusively on figs, which researchers suspect is why it ended up with its strange semi-bald head.

Just as vultures lost the feathers on their head as an adaptation for feeding on bloody carcasses, it’s thought that the Dracula parrot did the same in response to its diet of sticky fruits – the lack of feathers around its beak and eyes mean it’s able to avoid turning its face into a matted mess.

It’s such a perfect solution to the parrot’s syrupy diet that Matt Cameron, an Australian parrot expert, asks, “If avoiding soiled and matted head feathers is a significant advantage to individuals, it is surprising that bald-headedness is not more widespread among the other fruit-eating parrots.”

Bec Crew, “The Dracula parrot is intimidating”, Australian Geographic

via Deepu.

Three Beautiful Paintings by Tomás Sánchez

Sánchez infuses his landscape scenes with what the Cuban art critic, Geraldo Mosquera, called “an almost metaphys- ical vision.” This is not surprising considering that Sánchez is ardently devoted to yoga and to meditation which he practices several hours daily. He also goes regularly to a Siddha Yoga retreat in upstate New York. One French critic wrote at the time of the artist’s show in Paris that Sánchez’ work is “a mixture of extreme precision and meditation, of yearning and radiance.”

Bio on the Marlborough Gallery



Here he is on Instagram.

Sleeping Octopus

You could almost just narrate the body changes and narrate the dream. So here she’s asleep. She sees a crab and her color starts to change a little bit then she turns all dark. Octopuses will do that when they leave the bottom. This is a camouflage like she’s just subdued a crab and now she’s going to sit there and eat it and she doesn’t want anyone to notice her. It’s a very unusual behavior to see the color come and go on her mantle like that. I mean, just to be able to see all the different color patterns just flashing one after another… you don’t usually see that when an animal’s sleeping which really is fascinating.

But yeah if she’s dreaming that’s the dream.

David Scheel

The Blue Ringed Octopus

Some absolutely marvelous photos of a Southen Blue-Ringed Octopus by @SammyGlennDives

Southen Blue-Ringed Octopus 1

Like she’s dancing!

Southen Blue-Ringed Octopus 2
Southen Blue-Ringed Octopus 3

Would love to find out what kind of protective gear the photographer had on. But it seems like the octopuses are very shy and will attack only when provoked, which is when their rings become more intense 🐙 The salivary venom1, synthesized by bacteria and not the octopus itself, doesn’t have an antidote and is only used to hunt and defend. It’s either injected via the beak, or is sprayed as a mist, paralysing the prey in either case for the final kill (presumably involving more beak.)

Here’s a little more. Love the intro. They truly are so alien and so, so beautiful 😍

  1. Always have to look it up: Poison is passive, venom is active. ↩︎

Baby Chromatophores

I cannot get over how maddeningly cute this is. Reddit user pendragwen’s comment makes it even better:

Awww! But look at how they test out their chromatophores first thing after hatching! It’s speculated that color-changing is how they communicate and show emotion. Almost like a little joyful stretch and squeal. “Yay! I’m alive!”