Sea cucumbers are echinoderms from the class Holothuroidea. They are marine animals with a leathery skin and an elongated body containing a single, branched gonad. Sea cucumbers are found on the sea floor worldwide. Like all echinoderms, sea cucumbers have an endoskeleton just below the skin, calcified structures that are usually reduced to isolated microscopic ossicles joined by connective tissue. In some species these can sometimes be enlarged to flattened plates, forming an armour. In pelagic species such as Pelagothuria natatrix (Order Elasipodida, family Pelagothuriidae), the skeleton and a calcareous ring are absent.
Alcon Blue Butterflies
Phengaris alcon, more commonly known as Alcon Blue or Alcon Large Blue, is a butterfly of theLycaenidae family and is found in Europe and Northern Asia. Alcon larvae leave the food plant when they have grown sufficiently (4th instar) and wait on the ground below to be discovered by ants. The larvae emit surface chemicals (allomones) that closely match those of ant larvae, causing the ants to carry the Alcon larvae into their nests and place them in their brood chambers, where they are fed by worker ants and where they devour ant larvae. When the Alcon larva is fully developed it pupates. Once the adult hatches it must run the gauntlet of escaping. The ants recognise the butterfly to be an intruder, but when they go to attack it with their jaws they can’t grab anything substantial as the newly emerged adult butterfly is thickly clothed in loosely attached scales.
The platypus is a semiaquatic mammal endemic to eastern Australia, including Tasmania. It is one of the few venomous mammals, the male platypus having a spur on the hind foot that delivers a venom capable of causing severe pain to humans. The body and the broad, flat tail of the platypus are covered with dense, brown fur that traps a layer of insulating air to keep the animal warm. The fur is waterproof, and the texture is akin to that of a mole. The platypus uses its tail for storage of fat reserves. They have a sense of electroreception: they locate their prey in part by detecting electric fields generated by muscular contractions. The platypus’ electroreception is the most sensitive of any monotreme.
The snakeheads are members of the freshwater perciform fish family Channidae, native to Africa and Asia. These elongated, predatory fish are distinguished by a long dorsal fin, large mouth and shiny teeth. They breathe air with gills as well as with suprabranchial organs developing when they grow older, which is a primitive form of a labyrinth organ. The two extant genera are Channa in Asia and Parachanna in Africa, consisting of about 35 species.
Acacia also known as a thorntree, whistling thorn or wattle, is a genus of shrubs. They are one of the most common types of plants in Africa and in Australia, but can be found around Mediterranean Europe and even in the US and Asia. They are impressive trees that can be very useful in producing medicine, gum or beautiful wood ornaments. Acacia seeds can be difficult to germinate. Research has found that immersing the seeds in various temperatures (usually around 80 °C) and manual seed coat chipping can improve yields to approximately 80 percent.