Ravioli Starfish Actually Looks Like Italian Pasta

Plinthaster dentatus, a secretive and elusive species of starfish found in the Atlantic Ocean, has been popularly dubbed “ravioli starfish” due to its uncanny resemblance to the popular Italian pasta.

The existence of this delicious-looking starfish has been known since 1884, and even though the species dates back to the time of the dinosaurs, its biology has been largely unknown to marine biologists and ocean observers. In fact, specimens have only recently been seen alive during a NOAA ocean exploration that spotted several ravioli starfish feeding on a sea sponge. According to experts, the elusive creatures get their nickname because of their pentagonal shape and puffy swollen gills.

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Wild Sparrow Refuses to Leave the Human Couple That Raised Her

A young couple in Koper, Slovenia are the proud parents of a wild sparrow that refuses to leave their side, even though she always has the freedom to go anywhere she wants.

Alesh and Janja, a young couple from Koper, in Slovenia, adopted their “child”, Chibi, when she was about 10-days-old. A friend of theirs found her while walking her baby. She was lying on the ground next to another dead sparrow, and her parents were nowhere to be found, so the woman took the baby sparrow home. Unfortunately, she had her own baby and couldn’t take care of another, especially one from a species she knew nothing about. That’s where Alesh and Janja came in; they didn’t know anything about sparrow chicks either, but there was plenty of information online, and they were willing to put in the work.

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This French Bookstore Is a Cat-Lover’s Dream Come True

You know what a good book goes great with? Well, apparently cats, and this new bookstore in Aix-en-Provence, France is all the proof you need.

Mon Chat Pitre opened its doors in June of this year, and it has already become somewhat of a local attraction in Aix-en-Provence, especially among cat lovers. It has a nice selection of books to choose from, but what really sets it apart from other bookstores in the city, or anywhere else in France for that matter, is the “decor”. As you walk around the bookstore looking for your next read, you have the opportunity, nay, the privilege, to stroke six furry felines that love nothing more than to lay on the books on offer and beg visitors’ attention.

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Dog Learns to Walk Like a Human After Losing Leg in Accident

Dexter, a 6-year-old Brittany Spaniel dog, has become famous for his ability to adapt by learning to walk only on his hind legs, after losing one of his front legs in a car accident.

Dexter hadn’t even turned 1-year-old when he broke out of his owners’ yard in Ouray, Colorado to follow a scent. Focused on his goal, the pup accidentally ran out in front of a moving van and got hit pretty badly. Luckily, he was found moments later by his owner’s husband, Tim Pasek, who immediately took him to a vet. One of his front legs had to be removed, and the other turned out to be more badly damaged than originally thought. But the important thing is that after a 45-minute procedure, Dexter’s life was saved, and he has since adapted perfectly, relying only on his hind legs to get around, just like a human.

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This Giant Wasp Is Just a Harmless Moth in Disguise

The European Hornet Moth (Sesia apiformis) looks terrifying at first glance, but its uncanny resemblance to a giant wasp is just an elaborate disguise meant to keep predators at bay.

The hornet moth is a prime example of Batesian mimicry, a form of mimicry where a harmless species has evolved to imitate the look and/or behavior of a harmful species in order to protect itself from predators. In this case, the yellow and back combination, the shape of the abdomen, and of the see-through wings do a great job of creating the illusion of a menacing wasp. It’s only on closer inspection that you notice the insect’s lack of a clearly defined, wasp-like waste, a furry body, and two uncharacteristically small eyes.

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Devious Parasite Grants Host the Gift of Eternal Youth, But For a Price

Scientists have discovered that Temnothorax ants infected by a certain tapeworm parasite can live at least three times longer than their uninfected peers while maintaining a youthful appearance and getting special treatment.

A multi-year scientific study published in May of this year has revealed a phenomenon worthy of a science-fiction or fantasy blockbuster – a parasitic tapeworm that grants its host eternal youth while making them irresistible to their uninfected peers, who work harder just to bring them food and fulfill their every wish. It sounds unreal, but scientists at the  Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Austria have studied colonies of Temnothorax ants and found that when they are infected with the tapeworm Anomotaenia brevis, they become virtually immortal.

Temnothorax-nylanderi is a relatively common species of small ants that live in forests throughout Central Europe. They form small colonies on the forest floor, inside acorns or wooden branches, and most importantly, they serve as an intermediate host for the tapeworm Anomotaenia brevis. Up to 70 parasitic larvae can survive in the hemolymph, the body fluid of insects, but instead of competing for resources with their hosts and slowly killing them, the parasites appear to extend their lives considerably, possibly even indefinitely.

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The Surprising Love Story Between a Cow and a Leopard

Viral photos of a leopard and a cow cuddling somewhere in rural India tell the unique love story between two very unlikely friends.

Cows and leopards are usually not the best of friends, with the latter sometimes preying on bovines to survive. However, you wouldn’t even be tempted to think that looking at a set of viral photos that have been doing the rounds on social media for nearly two decades now. They show an adult leopard cuddling and playing with a cow, which, if the accompanying caption is to be believed, adopted and breastfed the feline as a cub. The story behind the photos has been exaggerated over the years to attract even more attention, but the photos are real and the relationship between the two animals is a testament to the fact that miracles can happen.

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Caterpillar Wears Its Molted Heads as a Bizarre Multi-Tiered Hat

The caterpillar of the Uraba lugens moth is deserving of the nickname “Mad Hatterpillar”, as it stacks the heads of its molted exoskeletons into an intriguing headpiece.

The Uraba lugens caterpillar molds up to 13 times while in its caterpillar phase, but it doesn’t shed all of its previous body parts. It uses some of the empty shells that once housed its head to create a rather impressive tower-shaped headpiece. As the caterpillar grows, so does its head, so each of the empty shells on top of its head is bigger than the next. Every time it molds, the head portion of its exoskeleton stays attached to its body, giving the critter a unique look as well as a handy decoy in the case of an attack.

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Stray Canine Is Istanbul’s Most Popular Public Transport Commuter,

Boji, a stray dog from Istanbul, Turkey has become so familiar with the local public transportation system that he casually uses several means of transportation (bus, subway, train, and even the ferry) every day.

Dogs using public transportation is not unheard of. Back in 2011, we wrote about Moscow’s impressive subway-riding dogs, and three years ago we featured Eclipse, Seattle’s famous bus-riding canine. But in both cases, the animals used a specific means of transportation that they had become familiarized with. Boji the stray, on the other hand, is comfortable using several types of public transportation every day, including the ferry, to get around the ancient Turkish city and even travel between continents…

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World’s Loneliest Orca Has Been Living Alone in a Concrete Tank for Over 10 Years

Kiska, the last living killer whale at the Marineland marine park, has been dubbed the world’s loneliest orca after it was revealed that she has spent the last 10 years of her life alone in a concrete tank, with little to no stimulation.

Orcas, dolphins, and whales are among the world’s most intelligent animals; they are social creatures that require a lot of interaction and stimulation which those raised in captivity, unfortunately, don’t receive enough of. In one extreme case, a lonely orca that has spent most of her life in captivity and the last decade completely alone in a concrete tank, at a marine park in Ontario, Canada has been showing signs of extreme distress, like floating listlessly and banging her head against the sides of her enclosure.

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This Slender, Pointy Fish Can Literally Stab People

You couldn’t tell by looking at its slender, rather frail frame, but the needlefish is one of the world’s most dangerous fish to humans, with multiple cases of injuries and even fatalities reported throughout the years.

A member of the family Belonidae, the needlefish is a piscivorous species whose most distinctive feature is the long, narrow beak filled full of sharp, saw-like teeth. But it’s not the teeth that should worry you – they’re only used to catch smaller fish – but the combination of an extremely pointy beak and incredible speed. Needlefish swim close to the surface of the water and like to jump over obstacles like shallow boats rather than go around them. The problem is that they jump at speeds of up to 60km/h (37mph), and since their obstacles sometimes happen to be humans out at sea, they literally impale them with their long beak, causing serious, sometimes fatal injuries.

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Translucent Caterpillar Has Eerily Visible Insides

The caterpillar of the Brazilian Skipper Butterfly has translucent skin that offers an eerily clear view of its insides, especially the circulatory system.

Brazilian skipper butterflies are larger than most skipper butterflies, but it’s not their size that sets them apart as a species, it’s their appearance during the caterpillar stage. What really makes this tiny critter special is its translucent skin, which offers a very clear view inside the caterpillar, revealing the organs and especially the circulatory system. This see-through skin gives the Brazilian skipper caterpillar a very strange look, especially when you realize that the twitching dark line that runs down its back, from its head to the rear of the abdomen, is the heart.

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Pleń – When Thousands of Tiny Larvae Move as One Giant Unit

The larvae of a certain species of gnats have been known to migrate by assembling into a large snake-like shape numbering tens of thousands of individuals and crawling on the ground as one. The bizarre phenomenon is known as “Pleń” in Poland and “Heerwurm” in Germany.

As far back as the 17th century, the larvae of sciaria militaria, a species of dark-winged fungus gnats found throughout Central Europe, have been observed moving on the ground as a giant slithering unit ranging from 50 centimeters to a reported 10 meters. Called Pleń by the Polish people who first documented the rare and poorly understood phenomenon, this method of migration numbers between a few thousand to several tens of thousands of tiny larvae. They crawl on the ground as one unit, towards an unknown goal that scientists have so far only speculated on.

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The Brazilian Treehopper – The Most Alien-Looking Creature on Earth

The Brazilian treehopper, a pea-sized, rainforest-dwelling insect that spends its days munching on treetop leaves, is almost certainly the most otherworldly-looking creature on our planet.

From the double-nosed Andean tiger hound, to the painting-like “Picasso fish“, we’ve featured our share of strange-looking creatures on Oddity Central, but none of them come close to the bizarre Bocydium globulare or the Brazilian treehopper. This tiny, solitary insect looks like something out of a sci-fi/horror film, featuring a headdress made up of four spheres of chitin covered in many bristles, which suggests they have some sensory purpose, but scientists have no idea what these weird balls actually do.

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This Adorable Tabby Is the World’s Deadliest Feline

Felis nigripes, the African black-footed cat, stands at just 8 to 10 inches tall and weighs roughly 200 times less than the average lion, but it is actually the most efficient feline predator on the planet.

The black-footed cat is actually the smallest African feline, smaller even than the average alley cat, but you shouldn’t be fooled by its demure stature, because it is actually the deadliest of all the world’s felines. This adorable furball has an accelerated metabolism that requires it to hunt almost non-stop, which means that it kills an average of 10 to 14 rodents or small birds every night, more victims than a leopard hunts in a month. To top it all off, its predations success is around 60 percent, while lions only succeed in catching their victims about 20 to 25 percent of the time.

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