Thursday, 13 December 2012

Badass Animals of the Year 2012

No, this isn't a scene from some weird computer game, nor is it a still frame from a horror movie.

This is a live action photo taken by Donna, of a giant preying mantis jumping to attack. In her own words: "They're not huggy pets. Those suckers have sharp claws."

I'm fairly sure this is Hierodula membranacea, badass for not being picky about what it eats - and famous for giving all mantids the "man-eater" reputation due to this habit!

Next up simply HAS to be the Golden Eagle. This bird is literally fearless, merrily divebombing grizzly bears, dropping goats off the sides of mountains for a quick, easy access dinner. They don't just harass wolves - no, these large raptors will dive in and kill wolves several times their size, piercing the hearts of their victims with their talons, killing them instantly.



Known usually as the "Water Spider" or "Diving Bell Spider", this is the only completely aquatic spider in the world...!

It is found in Europe and Asia, from the UK to Siberia, and lives in ponds, slow moving streams and shallow lakes, building an underwater retreat from silk, filling it with air it carries from the surface by trapping air bubbles in the hairs that cover its body and legs.

The bubble is bell-shaped with a silvery shine, hence the spider’s latin name Argyroneta - “silvery net”. The spider spends most of its time inside the bell, and only has to replenish the air once in a while. It feeds on whatever aquatic invertebrate they can capture, including backswimmers, water striders and diverse larvae; they also hunt tadpoles and small fish occasionally!

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