Mystery Creature revealed – the blanket octopus

Mystery Creature revealed – the blanket octopus

There were a few correct answers to this week’s Mystery Creature – but in case any of you are still waiting in anticipation it was the Blanket Octopus (Tremoctopus)

Photos Credit:  Steve Hamedl
Photos Credit: Steve Hamedl

This creature is a real marvel of nature.. here are three reasons why…

1. As the name suggests the blanket octopus has a cape like web that extends down its longest arms. This cape can be spread out behind it as a dramatic deterrent to predators… it makes the animal look a lot bigger and more daunting.

2. That is not to say that the animal is not pretty daunting already. It is lucky in that it is immune to the poisonous sting of the Portuguese Man O’ War. Rather than just counting its blessings and moving on it turns this round to its full advantage and actively removes the stinging tentacles from the creature and carries them around with it, wielding them as weapons when threatened.

3. The female of the species can grow to an impressive two metres in length, but the male… well, he comes in at little more than two centimetres in length making the species one of the most sexually dimorphic in the animal kingdom.

Check back tomorrow for a new Mystery Creature to keep you guessing!


Mystery Creature revealed – Leaf nosed snake

Week 24th to 30th June 2013

How did you do with this week’s Mystery Creature?  A few correct answers… it is the Leaf nosed snake (Langaha madagascariensis)!

photo credit: wil p via photopin cc

These snakes are unique to Madagascar and have these unusual extended “nose” appendages.  The shape of the snout varied between the sexes (sexually dimorphic), the female’s is more broad and serrated and the male’s is longer and more pointy.  The females are typically  grey in colour while the males are usually brown on top and yellow on the underside of their bodies.

photo credit: David d’O via photopin cc

The nasal appendage is present from birth, though it is folded in to expose the egg tooth.

Leaf nosed snakes feed mainly on lizards and frogs and are thought to be ambush feeders.  They are arboreal snakes and are often observed hanging straight down from branches, noses pointing to the ground.  Their shape and colouring camouflage them well.  They are found in deciduous dry forest and rain forests.