If you were to cling to a massively tall blade of grass, you’d probably grab onto the outsides of the blade with your hands and feet and cling on for dear life.

Look at the damselfly’s feet. It’s actually holding onto each side of the blade as if that side of its body is separate from the other. In effect, if you cut it in half, each half would still be holding onto the blade.

Eastern Hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis)

Eastern Hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis)_3
Every year, I run a little contest based on the WWF Adoption Guide and let people cast a vote (or a poem) for which animal gets to come home and live with me. One that is perpetually on the list is the Hellbender Salamander. Until that happened, I had no idea that these things existed. It was years after that that I finally saw my first one.

They’re interesting, not in the least, because they have numerous other interesting names, such as “snot otter”, “Allegheny alligator”, and “leverian water newt”. I mean, seriously, in what world is “hellbender salamander” the most innocuous choice for a name. Oh, and they’re all dying out because that’s the sort of things amphibians are doing these days. Sure would be nice if we could stop that from happening.

As mentioned earlier, the rarest animals are rare even in zoos. I visited several zoos that had them before I finally found one that not only had one on display, but also had clean water and a display that I could shoot through. So, I was finally able to see one. Perhaps it would have been easier to find them earlier if I had known that they look like someone took a salamander skin and stuffed it with random pebbles.

I’m also puzzled at its being yellow, as that’s not the colour they are in Google images, but hey, I’ll take what I can get.


Every night the moon grows fuller, more flowers open. At the height of the full moon, when all flowers open, the cactus walks the desert searching for sleeping victims to awake for pollination assistance.


Everyone knows that bees communicate the location of good flowers via the universal language of dance. Few know, however, that red and yellow flowers require the Hokey Pokey.

Leaf Me Alone

A few years back, I read an article that theorized that plants evolved their distinctive edges so that amphibians that were trying to eat them would hurt their soft mouths and go on to easier-to-eat plants. I, of course, cannot find the article today.

While I think the idea is fascinating, my fundamental problem with it is that I haven’t seen much, outside of certain oaks and holly, that show transition from a jagged-edge leaf to something more like a thorn. In fact, thorns seems to either be adapted from the whole leaf or from a branch, not from leaf “feature creep”, so to speak.

Granted, I’m not a botanist, and there could be whole families of plants I’m not thinking about. If you know of any family that shows evolution from a relatively flat and smooth leaf to something that clearly seems designed for defense, I’d be very interested in hearing about it.