Nose-Horned Viper

The Nose-Horned Viper (Vipera ammodytes ammodytes) is a highly venomous reptile in the Viperidae family of viper snakes. It is a viperid. It is also known as the Horned Viper and Western Sand Viper. Scientists think it might be the most dangerous snake in Europe.

The Nose-Horned Viper has a head covered with small, irregular scales that can be smooth or slightly keeled (ridged). It has 10-13 small scales around its eyes. The nasal (nose) scale is large that looks like a horn with 9-17 smaller scales along it, but it is soft and flexible. 

The male has irregular dark-brown, dark-grey, or black markings and a thick black stripe from its eye to its jaw. The male has V-shaped markings on its back like a zig-zag pattern. The female lacks the dark V-shaped markings on its body, and is browner and more bronze-coloured than the male. Its underbelly can be grey, yellowish-brown, or pinkish. Both have a black tongue and golden or copper-coloured eyes.

Continue reading “Nose-Horned Viper”

RESEARCH: Snakes know how much venom they have and they won’t attack if they don’t have enough

Not all snakes are venomous, but scientists at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Chengdu wanted to know more about venomous snakes.

The researchers studied venomous Sharp-Snouted Pit Vipers (Deinagkistrodon acutus). The New Scientist magazine (22 June 2021) reported the research results.

The aggressive Sharp-Snouted Pit Viper may be able to sense how much venom it has and it won’t attack if it doesn’t have enough venom (poison). 

Previous research indicates that venomous animals, including spiders, scorpions, and snakes, use their venom frugally and carefully because they do not produce a lot of venom. However, previous research did not study the possibility of whether venomous snakes save their venom for specifc situations, such as self-defence.

Continue reading “RESEARCH: Snakes know how much venom they have and they won’t attack if they don’t have enough”

Box Jellyfish

The Box Jellyfish (Chirodropus sp.) is a marine (saltwater) planktonic scyphozoan in the Chirodropidae family of venomous box jellyfish. It belongs to the Cubozoa class. It is a cnidarian. It is also known as the Sea Wasp.

The medusa form of the Box Jellyfish has a cube-shaped, or box-shaped, bell. From each of the four lower corners hangs short stalks called pedalium which have about 15 slender, hollow tentacles. The rim of the bell is folded inwards to form a shelf known as a velarium. The velarium creates jet propulsion, which makes it move through the water. 

In the centre of the box is a manubrium, which looks like an elephant’s trunk. This is where its mouth is located. Other jellyfish have ocelli, which are light sensing organs, instead of eyes. However, the Box Jellyfish has about 20 ocelli in addition to true eyes, set in a cluster, with retinas, corneas, and lenses. The eyes are located in pockets halfway up the outer, flat surface of the bell.

Continue reading “Box Jellyfish”

CREATURE FEATURE: Eastern Vine Snake

The Eastern Vine Snake (Thelotornis mossambicanus) is a venomous reptile in the Colubridae family of vine snakes. It is also known as the Eastern Twig Snake, African Creep Snake, or the Savanna Vine Snake. It is a colubrid snake.

The Eastern Vine Snake is a thin, grey snake, with a beige underbelly. The top of its head is green, often with black speckles. Its body also has speckles. Its eyes have horizontal pupils, often in the shape of a keyhole. When startled, it inflates (swells) its throat to show black spots between its scales. 

Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: Eastern Vine Snake”

Bark Crab Spider

The Bark Crab Spider (Bassanianasp.) is a small arachnid in the Thomisidae family of crab spiders. 

The Bark Crab Spider is black. The male is darker than the female. The length of its eight legs are uneven. Its four strong front legs, used for grabbing, are longer than its four back legs. Its front legs have more hair. It moves sideways like a crab. The first two pairs of legs can rotate. It has eight eyes.

Continue reading “Bark Crab Spider”

Common Octopus

The Common Octopus (Octopus vulgaris) is a marine (saltwater) invertebrate (soft-bodied) mollusc in the Octopodidae family. Octopod means eight limbs. It is a cephalopod, related to the squid, cuttlefish, and nautilus. 

The Common Octopus has a soft hollow body called a mantle. Its body can change shape and squeeze into small gaps. The mantle has gills (to breath), a brain, and a parrot-beaked mouth. Surrounding the mouth is eight limbs with suckers. It has two large eyes with excellent sight. It has three hearts.

Continue reading “Common Octopus”

Black Longspine Sea Urchin

The Black Longspine Sea Urchin (Diadema setosum) is a marine (saltwater) invertebrate echinoderm in the Diadematidae family. It is related to the Starfish (Sea star). 

The Black Longspine Sea Urchin has extremely long, narrow, hollow spines that are mildly venomous. It has a hard, spherical (ball-shaped) shell, called a test. On its spherical body are five white dots. It does not have eyes. It is sensitive to touch, light, and chemicals, due to the numerous sense cells around its mouth.

Continue reading “Black Longspine Sea Urchin”

Large-Scaled Scorpionfish

The Large-Scaled Scorpionfish (Scorpaena scrofa) is a venomous marine (saltwater) fish in the Scorpaenidae family of scorpionfish. It is also known as the Red Scorpion Fish, the Bigscale Scorpionfish, or the Rascasse.

The Large-Scaled Scorpionfish ranges in colour from rusty-red to light pink to beige, with dark-coloured markings. It has 12 venomous dorsal (back) spines. It has a plump, knobbly body with small frontal eyes and a down-turned mouth. 

Continue reading “Large-Scaled Scorpionfish”

Is there a difference between poisonous and venomous snakes?

Is there a difference between poisonous and venomous snakes?

Venomous and poisonous sound similar in meaning, because they both have toxic substances—a toxin that is highly dangerous or deadly.

A poisonous snake secretes a poisonous toxin from the glands of its skin. When a predator tries to eat the snake, it tastes terrible. The toxin is a deterrent to predators, so that in the future the animal will not attack the snake. The North American Garter snake, the Asian Keelback Snake, and the Groove-Necked Keelback Snake are examples of poisonous snakes.

Continue reading “Is there a difference between poisonous and venomous snakes?”

Black and Yellow Garden Spider

The Black and Yellow Garden Spider (Argiope aurantia) is a small venomous arachnid. It is not an insect because it has eight legs (insects have six legs).  It is also called the Yellow Garden Spider, the Golden Garden Spider, the Zigzag Spider, the Hay Spider, and the Corn Spider.

The Black and Yellow Garden Spider has yellow and black markings on its abdomen. Its head and thorax, called the cephalothorax, is mainly white or silver-looking. It has eight long, thin legs. 

Continue reading “Black and Yellow Garden Spider”

Caspian Cobra

The Caspian Cobra (Naja oxiana) is a medium-sized venomous snake, and reptile, in the Elapidae family. It is an elapid. It is also called the Central Asian Cobra, the Ladle Snake, the Oxus Snake, or the Russian Snake. 

The Caspian Cobra has an elliptical, hooded head with medium-sized eyes that have round pupils. It is light-brown to chocolate-brown or yellowish. It has several dark bands under its throat. 

Continue reading “Caspian Cobra”

European Paper Wasp

The European Paper Wasp (Polistes dominula) is a hymenopteran insect, a winged insect related to bees, wasps, and hornets. It is a vespid and a polist wasp in the Polistini tribe. It is a social wasp. It is also known as the Common Poet. 

The European Paper Wasp has a slender yellow and black body and long yellowish-orange legs. It drags its legs behind it when it is flying, because its legs are long. Its narrow wings are orange with dark tips. It has large eyes. Its antennae are yellowish-orange with club-shaped tips. 

It has a venomous stinger at the end of its abdomen. It can sting multiple times because the stinger stays in the body (the stinger of bees comes out of the body when the bee stings an animal, so it can only sting once). 

Continue reading “European Paper Wasp”

Long-Bodied Daddy Long-Legs Spider

The Long-Bodied Daddy Long-Legs Spider (Pholcus phalangioides) is an arachnid in the Pholcidae family. It is also known as the Cellar Spider.

The Long-Bodied Daddy Long-Legs Spider has a light-brown or dark-brown carapace (shell) and a brown, beige or grey abdomen, but mostly it looks pale and translucent (clear). It has scissor-like jaws, called chelicerae, that move from side to side. It has eight small eyes grouped closely together. It has very long, thin legs that are banded at the joints. 

Continue reading “Long-Bodied Daddy Long-Legs Spider”

Dyeing Poison Dart Frog

The Dyeing Poison Dart Frog (Denrobates tinctorius) is a poisonous amphibian in the poison dart frog family. 

The Dyeing Poison Dart Frog varies in colour. Its body is usually black with irregular patterns and stripes in yellow or white along its sides, back, chest, head, and belly. Its legs are mainly blue—either dark-blue or light-blue—with small, black dots. The female has circular, round toe discs or pads (that can stick to surfaces), whereas the male has heart-shaped toe discs. The female has an arched back, and the male has a curved back.

Continue reading “Dyeing Poison Dart Frog”

Emperor Scorpion

The Emperor Scorpion (Pandinus imperator) is an arachnid, related to the spider. It has eight legs.

The Emperor Scorpion has a thick, black body with a segmented exo-skeleton. The exo-skeleton is called the ecdysis, and it glows blue in ultraviolet light. It has large pincers, called pedipalps, and a tail that curves over its body. At the end of its tail is a stinger, called a telson, that is mildy venomous. 

Continue reading “Emperor Scorpion”

Plankton Star Jellyfish

The Plankton Star Jellyfish (Oceania sp.) is a soft-bodied invertebrate marine (saltwater) plankton animal. An invertebrate is an animal with no bones. It is related to the Turritiopsis. 

The Plankton Star Jellyfish is translucent (see-through) with an umbrella-shaped circular dome and long tentacles (arms). It has no brain, no heart, no blood, no bones, no excretory system, and no gills or lungs. It has nerve receptors in its body that enables it to detect smell, light, pressure, and touch. 

Continue reading “Plankton Star Jellyfish”

Short-Beaked Echidna

The Short-Beaked Echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus) is a medium-sized monotreme (egg-laying) mammal. It is also called the Short-Beaked Spiny Anteater. 

The Short-Beaked Echidna is a stocky animal with a heavy coat of black or brown fur and spines (modified hairs). It looks similar to a Hedgehog. It has a straight beak with a long sticky tongue. The beak acts as a nose and a mouth. It does not have teeth. It has short legs with sharp, curved claws. The male Echidna has venomous spurs on its hind (back) feet. 

Continue reading “Short-Beaked Echidna”

Arabian Fat-Tailed Scorpion

The Arabian Fat-Tailed Scorpion (Androctonus crassicauda) is a venomous arachnid. An arachnid, like the spider, has eight legs.

The Arabian Fat-Tailed Scorpion has grasping front claws, called pedipalps, and a thick, segmented tail that curves over its back. At the end of the tail is a venomous stinger called a telson. It is highly venomous to humans. 

The Arabian Fat-Tailed Scorpion is usually reddish-brown in colour, but it can also be brown to black. It does not have an inner skeleton (bones). Instead, like the spider, it has an exo-skeleton – an outer skeleton or shield that protects its body. The exo-skeleton is called the ecdysis. 

Continue reading “Arabian Fat-Tailed Scorpion”