The German biologist Ernst Haeckel was fascinated by medusae, the umbrella-shaped animals commonly called jellyfish.
For Haeckel, whose imagination was shaped in the Romantic era, medusae expressed the exuberant yet fragile beauty of Nature. And in their ethereal forms he glimpsed a reflection of his great love Anna Sethe, who died tragically at the age of twenty-nine.Ernst Haeckel and Anna Sethe — Source.
Haeckel had been engaged to Anna for four years when, in 1862, he became associate professor of zoology at the University of Jena.
The job gave the adoring pair the economic security they needed to finally marry. In the same year, Haeckel published a book on radiolaria (microscopic plankton) which he furnished with stunning illustrations.
In Jena, the newlyweds lived together in bliss for eighteen months. Then, on the day he was supposed to celebrate his thirtieth birthday and receive an award for his radiolaria book, Anna died suddenly, probably of a burst appendix.
Haeckel became mad with grief. A partial delirium kept him in bed for eight days.
A month later he wrote to a friend, “I am dead on the inside already and dead for everything. Life, nature, science have no appeal for me. How slowly the hours pass.
”Haeckel travelled to the Mediterranean town of Nice to attempt a recovery from his suicidal malaise.
One day he took a walk and saw a medusa in a rock pool: “I enjoyed several happy hours watching the play of her tentacles which hang like blond hair-ornaments from the rim of the delicate umbrella-cap and which with the softest movement would roll up into thick short spirals.”
He made a sketch and named the species Mitrocoma Annae [Anna’s headband].
The physical appearance of a pangolin is marked by large, hardened, overlapping plate-like scales.
The scales, which are soft on newborn pangolins but harden as the animal matures, are made of keratin, the same material of which human fingernails and tetrapod claws are made.
The pangolin’s scaled body is comparable to a pine cone or globe artichoke. It can curl up into a ball when threatened, with its overlapping scales acting as armour and its face tucked under its tail. The scales are sharp, providing extra defence.
The front claws are so long they are unsuited for walking, so the animal walks with its fore paws curled over to protect them.
Pangolins can also emit a noxious-smelling acid from glands near the anus, similar to the spray of a skunk. Pangolins, though, are not able to spray this acid as skunks do.
They have short legs, with sharp claws which they use for burrowing into termite and ant mounds, as well as climbing.
The size of pangolins varies by species, ranging from 30 to 100 centimetres (12 to 39 in). Females are generally smaller than males.
The tongues of pangolins are extremely elongated and extend into the abdominal cavity.
By convergent evolution, pangolins, the giant anteater, and the tube-lipped nectar bat all have tongues that are not attached to their hyoid bone and extend past their pharynx deep into the thorax. This extension lies between the sternum and the trachea.
Large pangolins can extend their tongues as much as 40 centimetres (16 in), with a diameter of only 0.5 centimetres (0.20 in).
Adélie penguins on an ice floe in Hope Bay, Trinity Peninsula, Antarctica.
Just outside Hope Bay, the Antarctic Sound connects the Bransfield Strait to the Weddell Sea where Greenpeace is conducting scientific research to strengthen the proposal to create an Antarctic ocean sanctuary, the largest protected area on the planet.
Image Credit: Photograph by Christian Aslund/Greenpeace/2018 Earth Photo
Life in Australia has adapted to our harsh climate in remarkable ways, but it’s those tcreatures hat use bioluminescence to lure prey, communicate and ward off predators, that have captured our attention.
Places like Glow Worm Glen in Bundanoon, New South Wales and the Melba Gully in the Great Otway National Park, Victoria are popular not just with tourists, but local revellers too.
While we know why these glow worms become bioluminescent, some of Australia’s other glowing creatures are more mysterious, like the glowing scorpions of the Aussie outback, which continue to puzzle scientists.
Above: Flashes of bioluminescence, produced by the clusterwink, have long puzzled marine biologists. When gathered in large groups, their collective glow can be seen from the shore in Sydney and other eastern coastal spots.(Image credit: N. Wilson)
I wouldn’t have believed that an owl and a dog could become best friends until I saw these surprising and adorable photos by Tanja Brandt, a professional animal photographer and collage artist in Germany.
Ingo the shepherd dog and Poldi the little owl seem more than happy to cozy up to each other for photoshoots bathed in golden evening light.
If you like these photos, be sure to visit Brandt’s site, because Ingo has a whole lot of beautiful friends, be they other shepherds or other fierce birds of prey besides Poldi.
Brandt creates animal photos and collages professionally, so she seems to have a lot of cooperative models to work with!
Though these photos certainly are adorable and unique, Ingo and Poldi aren’t the only unusual animal friends out there – we have a post about all sorts of unusual animal friends!
More info: ingoundelse.de | tier-collagen.de | 500px | Facebook
This orphaned Black Flying Fox, called Luka, was rescued by the RSPCA Queensland.
Ken, who photographed Luka for the RSPCA’s Hope Calendar, says that his goal in this image was to enhance the public’s attitude towards Flying Foxes, an ecologically-valuable species, in the wake of negative press.