Boxer Crab

Ding Ding! Let’s shake hands and have a nice clean fight chaps, Queensbury rules. What’s that you say? He’s got a pair of viciously stingy Cnidaria on his mitts … mmmh no that is hardly cricket old bean, or boxing for that matter.

... come on! put up your dukes...

The boxer crab can be found bopping things on the nose in the Indian Ocean, where they have co-existed for some time alongside their anemone boxing glove chums. Their claws have changed shape to slip on the stingy mitts, a flat pad allows the sticky base of the anemone to slap on to the surface of the snippers. Of course most creatures have evolved to not become a weapon for walloping unfriendly buggers in the Indian Ocean with, yet the anemones don’t seem to mind and indeed may benefit from the relationship. The boxer crab has abominable table habits, he eats like a hungry Scot with a head cold, consequentially with all the bits flying everywhere the anemones are thought to get a passable brunch from our boxing chum. Still it’s the weapon wielder rather than the weapons we’d like to chat about today.

It’s not so long since we were hairy little buggers sharpening up sticks to jab things with in Africa. That is until we happened upon a great idea to shape a rock and shove it on the end of a stick and called it an axe, a design that has remained pretty much unchanged for millennia. We soon realized not only was it terrific for chopping up stuff, it was smashing for bonking things over the head with… quite literally.

... c'mon step in the ring, make my day...

It’s not just us and the boxer crab that go around bothering things with weapons either. In a famous study when a fake leopard was introduced to a troop of chimps they whacked it on the head with sticks until its bonce fell off. Some chimps have even been observed sharpening sticks on the African savannah – and we all know where that ended up the last time. Other animals use weapons too; the blanket octopus likes to rip the stingers from Portuguese man ’O war and flail things with them, the woodpecker finch uses a cactus spine as a small spear to jab prey with, and the boxer crab uses a pair of anemones to bonk things on the nose that… well… deserve to be punched on the nose.

Published in: on September 23, 2010 at 8:20 am  Comments (1)  

Lesbian Lizards

Upon one’s morning stroll one couldn’t help but marvel at the bird’s sweet song and the flowers delicate splendour… what could be more pleasant than a wander through the English countryside… certainly not a stagger through the parched deserts of Arizona, where instead of bird song and blooms you might be lucky enough to spot two rather drab lady lizards humping the hell out of one another … though one can’t help but point out that the bird’s song, the delightful flowers and indeed the lesbian lizard’s leathery frot are all about one thing…

I say!

Yes rumpy pumpy. It’s the reason why birds warble and why flowers unfurl, it’s why a hummingbird is as iridescent as a polished gem and why a blue-footed booby has such marvellous azure feet, why the hooded seal inflates a scarlet sack out of its schnoz, why the suberb lyrebird sings the most delightful tunes, and why squillions of other creatures are so bloody marvellous too. What’s more one has inkling that it may be something to do with the faint sound of whip cracks coming from the basement of this less than salubrious gentlemen’s club.

Bally good reason for all this effort into getting some bedroom malarkey too… Yes it’s rather good fun, and of course it makes wee ones who can go off and make wee ones of their own. We are rather fond of making wee ones… little bits of us going on to live forever… we’ve talked about all that gubbins yes, though it is what all that sloshing around downstairs leads to that is the interesting thing…

...unhand me you buffoon, one is on her way to a K.D. Lang concerto...

Not only is it how we ensure our genes are passed down the generations it’s also rather important at mixing things up. In the sticky goo that is left at the end of the act something rather remarkable happens. Of course life is born, but it’s a unique life, like a deck of cards that has been shuffled and out pops a new hand; something completely unique.

Why all this smutty muttering? Well the lesbian lizards, or New Mexico whiptail lizards as their women’s empowerment group are petitioning for them to be known, have decided that they don’t need all this recombinant business with chaps and have done away with all that icky swapping things downstairs. They simply clone themselves to make a new lizard, another lady, just like their lady-loving selves. Aaaah yes, the lesbian thingamujig, well yes while it seems like they may as well have done away with all that energetic to-ing and fro-ing, there may well be some advantage to these romps. Indeed studies have shown that nuptials may still facilitate the making of more lesbian lizards… and so a couple of the ladies will still get jiggy with it… quite right too.

Published in: on September 16, 2010 at 8:14 am  Leave a Comment