Tiny Assassin Bug Wears the Bodies of Its Victims as Camouflage

The assassin bug is a fascinating insect for many reasons, but the one that really stands out is its gruesome camouflage, which consists of the carcasses of its victims glued to its back.

There are around 7,000 known species of assassin bugs in the world, ranging from 4 to 40 mm in length and sharing the same formidable weapon – a sharp, curved, needle-like structure called a “rostrum”. It’s this rostrum that they use to stab their prey – usually other insects – and inject them with a poisonous saliva that liquifies their innards. When the victim stops moving, the assassin bug will start slurping away at its inside, until only the shell remains. That shell is used by some assassin bug species as camouflage, and some specimens have been observed walking around with a mound of insect carcasses glued to their backs.

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Thailand’s ‘Pesticide Ducks’ Clean Rice Fields of Pests and Stubble

Every year, flocks of thousands of hungry ducks are released into vast rice paddies to clean the fields of unwanted pests and rice stubble left over from last harvest.

Humanity has witnessed unprecedented technological advancements over the last few decades, but in Thailand, the world’s second largest rice exporter, farmers still use a centuries old solution to keep their rice paddies in optimal condition. Every year, they rely on duck farmers to unleash thousands, sometimes tens of thousands of young, hungry ducks onto their fields, to clean them of pests like cherry snails and apple snails, as well as weeds and leftover rice stubble. Apart from acting as a natural pesticide, the ducks also fertilize the fields with their droppings.

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Man Leaves Window Open for Five Months, Finds Apartment Invaded by Pigeons

A UK student who left his apartment window open before going away for five months found his home covered in bird droppings after it was taken over by pigeons.

20-year-old Oluwageorge Johnson had to leave his rented apartment in Nottingham in a hurry back in March, after his parents turned up to take him home, because of Covid-19. He forgot a window open, and after seeing no activity for several days, pigeons decided to make the apartment their home. No one disturbed the birds for over five months, until a few days ago when accommodation workers heard some strange sounds coming from the flat and went in to investigate. They found the whole place covered in bird droppings, eggs in the kitchen sink and pigeon feathers everywhere.

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World’s Most Expensive Sheep Just Sold for Half a Million Dollars

A Texel lamb named Double Diamond and described by many as “genetically perfect” recently became the world’s most expensive sheep, commanding a price of 350,000 guineas ($490,000) at a Scottish auction.

Texel sheep, originating from the tiny island of Texel, just off the coast of the Netherlands, routinely command five-figure prices at auctions, thanks to their lean meat and wool used for hosiery yarns, but a particularly special specimen just made other Texels look cheap. Double Diamond, am outstanding lamb featuring the best genetics, had sheep breeders in the whole of the UK up in arms trying to somehow get their hands on him. Even before the Scottish National Texel sale in Lanark had started, some breeders had already partnered up to bid a higher price for Double Diamond.

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Orchid Bees – The Living Jewels and Expert Perfumiers of the Insect World

The Euglossines, aka Orchid Bees are often described as the world’s most flamboyant bee tribe, and looking at their brilliant metallic coloration, it’s easy to see why.

Orchid bees are probably the closest thing to real living jewel. Sporting bright metallic colors – with green, blue and gold being the most common – and very few hairs compared to other families of bees, these pollinators really stand out as some of the most visually striking insects on Earth. But it’s not just their bright, shiny exterior that sets them apart from other bees. Euglossines don’t make honey, they don’t build hives, most species of the tribe are solitary, and perhaps most fascinating of all, males collect and mix fragrances which they then use to impress females.

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Dog Miraculously Survives 37 Days Trapped Under Landslide Rubble

A dog in China recently made national headlines for being found alive and well after spending over a month trapped under the ruin of his master’s following a landslide.

On July 8, the people of Cangbaotian village, in China’s Guizhou Province had to be hastily evacuated before most of their homes succumbed to a terrible landslide. Only a handful of the 130 buildings in the village were left standing, and despite being unable to retrieve most of their possessions before the evacuation, residents weren’t allowed to return until the area was deemed safe by authorities. Earlier this month, one man who returned to see if anything could be salvaged from his collapsed home was shocked to hear barking coming from under the rubble.

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German Circus Weathers Pandemic by Selling Jars of Lion Poop

They say money does not smell, but a lucrative venture thought up by a German circus is proof that money can actually stink. The Krone Circus in Munich is in the business of selling lion poop.

Circus are forbidden from performing during the pandemic, so many of them have been struggling to stay afloat in the last few months. Animal circuses have it even worse, as they have dozens of creatures to feed every day, so many of them have been forced to think outside the box in order to stay solvent. The Krone Circus, in Munich, Germany, has come up with a stinky yet profitable business idea – selling jars of poop from their 26 lions and tigers for 5 euros ($6) a pop.

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The Irresistibly Cute Honduran White Bat

Of the roughly 1,300 known species of bat, very few can be described as cute and cuddly, but the tiny Honduran White Bat is definitely one of these rare exceptions.

Also called the Caribbean White Tent-Making Bat, this adorable flying mammal can be found in the tropical forests of Central-American countries like Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and western parts of Panama. It has a distinctive white fur, which is characteristic of only five other known bat species, and is very small for its genus, with the largest recorded individual being under 5 centimetres in length. Because of its white color and generally cute look, as well as the fact that it doesn’t live in caves and doesn’t suck blood, the Honduran White Bat is considered a living, breathing contradiction of bat stereotypes.

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This Remarkable Beetle Can Somehow Survive Being Eaten by Frogs

Scientists recently discovered that a species of tiny water beetles can live through being eaten by a frog by somehow surviving a journey through its gut and simply exiting through the butt hole.

Until this week, Regimbartia attenuata was just another species of water beetle, but ever since a study on its astonishing survival skills came out on Monday, it’s been making headlines in mainstream media outlets around the world. And for good reason, as there aren’t many creatures on this Earth that can survive being swallowed alive, journey through their predator’s digestive system, simply crawl out the “back door” and go on with their lives as if they didn’t just pull off a Houdini-like magic trick.

Regimbartia attenuata were the subject of an unusual study carried out by Shinji Sugiura, an associate professor in the department of agrobioscience at Kobe University in Japan. He put the tiny beetles in the same laboratory bin with specimens from five different frog species, and the little bugs managed to crawl out the frogs’ “vents” in the vast majority of experiments.

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The Seneca White Deer – World’s Largest Herd of White Deer

The former Seneca Army Depot in upstate New York is home to a rare herd of white-tailed deer, all of which carry a recessive gene for all-white coats.

The Seneca white deer are not albinos, they are a natural variation of the white-tailed deer, which are usually a brown color. These rare deer are leucistic, meaning they lack pigmentation in the fur, but their eyes are the normal brown color. In the wild, the very visible white coat makes these rare creatures easy targets for both human hunters and predators like coyotes, but this particular herd was protected by a 24-mile (39 km) fence erected around the Seneca Army Depot in 1941. They were isolated inside the depot perimeter and since the military commander there forbade soldiers from shooting the white deer, their number grew into the hundreds.

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The Curious Case of a Belgian Woman Who Temporarily Thought She Was a Chicken

Doctors at KU Leuven University in Belgium recently reported the bizarre case of a 54-year-old woman who was convinced she was a chicken and temporarily behaved like one.

The married woman, whose name was not revealed, reportedly had a stable job at a pharmacy and had no history of drug or alcohol abuse before the strange episode. One day, her brother stopped by and found her clucking, blowing her cheeks and crowing like a rooster. Not knowing what to do, the woman’s brother took her to a nearby hospital, where the 54-year-old told doctors she thought she was a chicken and described feeling a new sensation in her legs.

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Parasitic Wasp Turns Its Helpless Host Into a Bodyguard for Its Eggs

Thyrinteina leucocerae, the caterpillar of the geometer moth, is targeted as a host for a species of parasitoid wasp that can lay up to 80 eggs inside its body. The caterpillar’s reward is a job as bodyguard for the very parasites growing inside it and a slow, agonizing death.

The Glyptapanteles wasp is one of nature’s most fascinating and, at the same time, terrifying body-snatchers. Not only does its lay dozens of eggs into caterpillar hosts, but scientists claim that the insect can somehow change the behavior of the host, turning into a mindless bodyguard whose only mission is to protect the wasp’s eggs against predators. Once the wasp grubs hatch out of its body and begin to spin their pupae, the caterpillar stops moving, stops eating, gets on its hind legs and goes into statue mode. But at the slightest threat for the wasp “babies”, it starts swinging its head violently to drive predators away.

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This French Forest Is Home to Over 100 Wallabies

If you find yourself walking thorough the forest of Rambouillet, just west of Paris, and happen to see an animal resembling a kangaroo, know that your eyes aren’t playing trick on you, the French forest has been home to up to 150 wallabies for over 40 years.

The colony of red-necked Bennett’s wallabies living in Rambouillet Forest can be traced back to a small group of animals that were brought into a zoological reserve in the nearby village of Emance, during the 1970s. A few of them escaped through holes in the fencing, and were never retrieved. They’ve been living in the wild for decades and researchers believe that the woods may now be home to around 150 wallabies. The forest provided them with shelter and sustenance, they had no natural predators to fear, and the climate was apparently very similar to that of their native Tasmania. The biggest threat to the wallabies of Rambouillet are passing cars.

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Loyal Camel Walks 100 Km Through Desert to Return to Previous Owners After Being Sold

A homesick camel recently managed to melt the hearts of millions of Chinese people after it was reported that it traveled 100 kilometres through the desert to return to its former owners, eight months after being sold.

Chinese media recently featured the heartwarming story of a loyal camel who allegedly spent days crossing the barren desert of North China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region to reach its former home after being sold to another farmer eight months prior. The injured animal was spotted walking through the desert earlier this month by another herdsman who took it in and tended to its needs while trying to find its owner. News of the camel’s discovery reached its owner who rushed to retrieve it, but after hearing about the animal’s arduous journey, its former masters wanted it back.

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World’s Largest Soaring Bird Can Fly 100 Miles Without Flapping Its Wings

According to a fascinating new study, the Andean condor spend almost all of their flying time in soaring mode, flapping their wings only 1.3 percent of the time.

Weighing up to about 16 kilograms and with a wingspan of roughly 3.3 meters, the condor is the largest flying bird in the world by combined measurement of weight and wingspan. With that in mind, it’s almost impossible to believe that it can stay airborne for at least five hours and cover a distance of over 100 miles without flapping its enormous wings once. But that was the most interesting finding of a study published by researchers at the University of Swansea after monitoring a group of condors for five years.

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