Monday, 30 January 2012

Happy monster fish & blue blooded crabs - Survivors: Nature's Indestructible Creatures

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Survivors: Nature's Indestructible Creatures, episode 2: BBC4 January 31st, 9pm
Watch episode 1 on BBC iPlayer (while it lasts) 
Professor Richard Fortey, NHM
It is estimated that 99 per cent of species have become extinct and there have been times when life's hold on Earth has been so precarious it seems it hangs on by a thread. 'Survivors: Nature's Indestructible Creatures' focuses on the survivors - the old-timers - whose biographies stretch back millions of years and who show how it is possible to survive a mass extinction event which wipes out nearly all of its neighbours. The Natural History Museum's Professor Richard Fortey discovers what allows the very few to carry on going - perhaps not for ever, but certainly far beyond the life expectancy of normal species. What makes a survivor when all around drop like flies?

I recently spoke with Professor Richard Fortey when he visited Bristol. He was full of excitement about 'Survivors' - the first TV series he has fronted, and about time too!

To palaeontologists he's known as the world expert on Trilobites - an extinct wood-louse like creature, of which there are over 20,000 different species. Trilobites dominated the oceans fauna for over 270 million years making them one of the most successful groups ever, and keeping Richard Fortey busy for over 50 years at the Natural History Museum in London. I remember when I worked at the Museum, whenever Professor Fortey passed there was a hushed reverence, the like of which I have only ever witnessed in the presence of Sir David Attenborough.

Trilobites, as visualised in 1916 by the German painter Heinrich Harder. 

The Happy Coelacanth

To most non-palaeontologists Richard Fortey is best known for his popular science books, the most recent of which is 'Survivors, the plants and animals that time left behind', on which this series is based.

There lived a happy Coelacanth
In dim, primordial seas;
He ate and mated, hunted, slept,
Completely at his ease.
Dame Nature urged: ‘Evolve!’
He said: ‘Excuse me, Ma’am,
You get on with making Darwin,
I’m staying as I am.’

This curious little poem by Horace Shipp (1988) is cited in the book, and it wonderfully captures the essence of Fortey's thesis; that while some lineages change dramatically over time, others do not. Of course it is not enough to just accept that, and what Fortey does beautifully is to explore why this should be.

The star of Shipp's poem is a prehistoric fish, the coelacanth. This was thought to have disappeared with the dinosaurs 65 million years ago and then astonishingly turned up in a South African fish market in the 1930s. It turns out that it had been surviving quite happily in the gloomy depths around the Comoros Islands.  'Unfortunately there's some sort of civil war happening in the comoros so it wasn't the best time to visit' regrets Fortey, but 'who knows what other creatures from the past remain waiting to be discovered'.

'I was lucky to see so many wonderful plants and animals whilst making this series' he says with boyish enthusiasm, his eyes twinkling. This passion for prehistoric life began when he was 14 years old and first 'gazed into the eyes of his first trilobite'. 'So where better to start my exploration than with the closest living relatives of the creatures I know best'.

Tasting the past

Fortey headed to the shores of Delaware in the United States to witness a scene that has been taking place for at least 100 million years. On a few nights every May and June, when the moon is full and the tide is at its highest, creatures called horseshoe crabs come ashore, emerging in their tens of thousands to spawn and lay their eggs in the sands along this protected bay. 'They're not crabs at all but a special group called Limulidae, the nearest living relative of the trilobite.

Mass spawning horseshoe crabs (Paul Williams)

I too have had the pleasure of filming this spectacle (see my post from May 2011)  but I was there for a much more modern sight. The laying of  billions of horseshoe crab eggs is the stimulus for a million migrating shorebirds - Red Knots, Semipalmated Sandpipers, Ruddy Turnstones, and Sanderlings, who gather to feed on these tiny beaches. Many fly thousands of miles to be here. It's a critical stop-over to fatten up on their way to the breeding grounds of the arctic, and each bird needs to eat more than 135,000 eggs in less than a couple of weeks. As Fortey says 'Birds have only been around for less than 90 million years' so here we have a modern ecosystem completely reliant on survivors from the past'.

Seabirds gather to feed on horseshoe crab eggs in Delaware bay (Photo: Paul Williams)

This was not the first time that Richard Fortey has been up close with these alien-looking creatures. In south east Asia he was surprised to find one served up for dinner, and as it was the closest thing to eating a trilobite he tucked in with gusto. He told me that 'it was utterly disgusting', and maybe this is one of the secrets to the longevity of the horseshoe crab.

The Great Dying

Having been around for 450 million years horseshoe crabs have had to face bigger challenges than hungry professors. They had to face the greatest extinction event the planet has ever seen, and the catastrophe that wiped out their more diverse and flamboyant cousins - the trilobites. Dubbed The Great Dying, this disastrous loss of life occurred around 250 million years ago. It was the demise of most of earths species - 96% of marine species, 70% of terrestrial vertebrates and 57% of insect families. This period had phases of major environmental change, ending with a catastrophic event, which included some of the greatest volcanic activity the world has seen.

But the strange-looking horseshoe crab, with its armoured shell and long rigid pointed tail, plodded on. So, what is it about horseshoe crabs that enabled them to survive? ‘Being able to feed on almost any organic matter helped,’ says Fortey but what 'I think is the real key to their success is that they have a special kind of blood, which is blue! rather than iron based like our own, it's copper based.' 'It coagulates when it encounters bacteria so they can 'wall up' any wounds they receive. In Delaware you see giant crabs with huge holes through them, and they just carry on regardless'.

'What is absolutely wonderful is that scientists are able to use this blue blood to test drugs and implants for toxins' 'The crabs are milked like cows..' 'but fortunately' he added 'the scientists have come to their senses and now return the crabs in a fairly healthy state.'

So what has helped the horseshoe crab to keep going for 450 million years might also be able to help us keep going a little longer too.

 Crabs being 'milked' for their blue blood: Source

A cast of prehistoric oddities

During filming Fortey encountered a cast of some of the most peculiar animals on earth including velvet worms, lungfish, sponges and flesh-burrowing sea lampreys, but his highlight was the duck-billed platypus, whose lineage goes back more than 200 million years.

‘Seeing duck-billed platypuses was a thrill. I know the one on display at the Natural History Museum  museum but they are such peculiar animals that to see them alive was something I had wanted to do for a long time.  I had had two previous unsuccessful attempts to do so’

If you haven't see this series yet then you can catch up (while it lasts) on BBC iPlayer. 

 Duck-billed platypus (Dave Watts/

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Deadly Giant Crystal Cave - A Journey Within. Unimaginable Geological Beauty.

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Lots of people have asked if I have any more photo's from the Giant Crystal Cave (Cueva de los Cristales), so I've created a video story-book. I hope this helps to relay some of the awe that I felt when I visited the cave in 2009. It's been called 'the deadliest place on earth', but it surely is the most incredible and beautiful place I will ever see.

"It's 50oC and has a humidity of 100%, less than a hundred people have been inside and it's so deadly that even with respirators and suits of ice you can only survive for 20 minutes before your body starts to fail. It’s the nearest thing to visiting another planet – it’s going deep inside our own." (Iron Ammonite 2009)

The Journey Within...

If you like this video I'd very much appreciate it if you would 'like' my new Facebook page.

You can also subscribe to my YouTube channel and see more of my films here.


Credits & Further Links

Please note that some of the photographs were NOT taken by me. All photographs taken in the cave are copyright of Speleoresearch & Films. These photographs were taken by: Paul Williams (me), Carsten Peter (who took the most iconic images), Paolo Petrigniani, Tullio Bernabei, Giovanni Badino and Oscar Necoechea. Music used: Life in the Undergrowth, composed by Ben Salisbury.

Further links:
My blog post following my visit to the crystal cave in 2009
Watch the clip from the sequence that we filmed for our BBC TV series 'How Earth Made Us'
My list of the top 5 caves filmed by the BBC (includes video of the sequences)

The Queen's Eye - Gateway to the most beautiful cave on Earth

'The Queen's Eye'.  Miners Eloy Delgado and Javier Delgado, the two brothers who discovered the cave's "antechamber", gave the name "The Queens Eye' because the opening to the cave resembled an eye.  Photo by Tullio Bernabei.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Killer Gremlins & Cute Baby Animals - BBC Natural World is back

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BBC Two, 8pm, Weds 25th January

The Natural World is back with another run of extraordinary films starting with 'The Jungle Gremlins of Java'. To celebrate here's a montage of cute baby animals that appear in the series...

Cute Baby Animals

The Jungle Gremlins of Java

The slow loris is a real-life gremlin, extremely cute but with a venom that can cause flesh necrosis and even kill a human.  Dr Anna Nekaris travels to the jungles of Java to solve the riddle of its toxic bite, but a shocking discovery awaits.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

5 jaw-dropping caves - superman's fortress, santa's grotto & the chandelier ballroom

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Here's my top 5 caves as seen on the BBC.

1. Superman's Fortress - The Giant Crystal Cave of Naica  

Appeared in: BBC How Earth Made Us (2010)

Probably the most incredible photograph of the cave ever taken. Photograph by Carsten Peter/Speleoresearch & Films. Published in National Geographic.

Where: Beneath the town of Naica in the Chihuahuan Desert, Mexico

Geological Features: The cave is also known as Cueva de los Cristales. It contains the largest natural crystals ever found, which are composed of selenite. The largest is 11 m (36 ft) in length, 4 m (13 ft) in diameter and 55 tons in weight.

How it was formed: Naica lies on an ancient fault and there is an underground magma chamber below the cave. The magma heated the ground water and it became saturated with minerals. The hollow space of the cave was filled with this mineral rich hot water and remained stable for about 500,000 years allowing crystals to form and grow to immense sizes. 

I visited these caves in 2009, this is what I wrote at the time:
"Cueva de los Cristales is the incarnation of our most awesome science fiction imaginations - Jules Verne's Journey to the Centre of the Earth, Superman's Fortress of Solitude. At about the same time as humans first ventured out of Africa, these crystals began to slowly grow. For half a million years they remained protected and nurtured by a womb of hot hydrothermal fluids rich with minerals.

When mining began here over a hundred years ago, the water table was lowered and the cave drained. The crystals seemingly interminable development was frozen forever leaving them as aborted relics of the deep earth. It wasn't until 2001 that miners, searching for lead, eventually penetrated the cave wall and brought it to light. The very act of discovering and witnessing them has triggered their slow decay and now no one knows what their fate will be. To me they are a testament to the hidden forces of the planet, forces which operate on scales far beyond our own." More images from my blog entry of 2009

2. Santa's Grotto - The Frozen Ice Caves of Mount Erebus

Appeared in: BBC Frozen Planet (2011)

Where: Ross Island, Antartica, beneath Mount Erebus, the worlds southernmost active volcano

Name: Mount Erebus was discovered on January 27, 1841 by polar explorer Sir James Clark Ross who named it after his ships, Erebus and Terror. Erebus was a primordial Greek god of darkness, the son of Chaos. 

How it was formed: The volcano constantly releases hot gases which steam up through cracks and fractures in the volcanic rocks. As soon as this gas hits the frigid Antarctic air it freezes, and over time has created an intricate network of delicate ice caves and hollow towers, some as tall as 30 feet.

Mount Erebus, Ice Caves - George Steinmetz Source

3. The Chandelier Ballroom of Lechuguilla Caves 

Appeared in: BBC Planet Earth (2006)

Where: Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico, USA

Name: The cave is named for Agave lechuguilla, a plant found near its entrance.

Geological Features: Lechuguilla Cave is the sixth longest cave (130.24 miles / 210 km) known to exist in the world. It has a large variety of wonderfully named speleothems, including 20 feet (6.1m) gypsum chandeliers, 20 feet (6.1m) gypsum hairs and beards, 15 feet (4.6m) soda straws, hydromagnesite balloons, cave pearls, subaqueous helictites, rusticles, U-loops and J-loops.  

It took the Planet Earth team 2 years to gain permission to film this fragile cave system. An 8-hour journey through narrow passages ending in an abseil of 60 metres in utter darkness made getting equipment in hard, especially the small jib arm vital to the filming. The crew spent 10 days underground to get these first ever high-definition images of the caves.

Crystals in the Chandelier Ballroom Image Source

4. Waitomo - The Glow Worm Cave

Appeared in: BBC Life in the Undergrowth (2005)

Where: Waitomo, southern Waikato region of the North Island of New Zealand

Name:  The word Waitomo comes from the Māori language wai meaning water and tomo meaning a doline or sinkhole; it can thus be translated as 'water passing through a hole'.

There are around 300 caves in Waitomo, but it's not the geological formations that make these into a subterranean wonderland, it's the larvae of their resident glow worm - Arachnocampa luminosa, a species unique to New Zealand. Like a starry sky thousands of these tiny creatures radiate their unmistakable luminescent light. This attracts midges, moths and mosquitos who soon find themselves tangled in sticky strands that dangle from the larvae like fishing lines. The larva hoists up its catch and feeds.

5. The Dongzhong Cave School

Appeared in: BBC Wild China (2008)

Where: Dongzhong cave school, Miao village, Ziyun county, China.

Name: Dongzhong means 'in cave'

The Dongzhong cave was formed by wind and water erosion over thousands of years. Now two hundred pupils, 18 families and their livestock live here.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Pull the udder one - it's Spider Goat! 'Playing God' #BBCHorizon

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Horizon, Playing God - Tues 17th January, BBC2 9:30pm

Spider-goat, spider-goat. Does whatever a spider-goat does! can he swing from a web?...

In tonights episode of Horizon Adam Rutherford meets a new creature created by American scientists - part goat, part spider. It's super-power - to produce large quantities of spider silk.

Spider silk is one of the strongest substances known to man. Prized for its lightness, elasticity and strength it has an abundance of untapped potential from its use in the manufacture of aircraft and racing vehicles to bullet-proof clothing and artificial ligaments. Until now the supply of silk has been limited to a few spider farms. Not only a large investment for little return, but voracious spiders have the tendancy to eat each other.

This came to the attention of scientists working in the field of synthetic biology, a new field with a radical claim - to break down nature into a kit of parts which can be rebuilt however we please, like lego. They extracted a gene from an orb-weaver spider and popped it into the DNA that prompts milk production in the udders of goats. Hay presto, not 8 legged wool spinners, but spider-goats capable of producing large quantities of silk in their milk - with the added bonus that they didn't want to eat each other.

Synthetic biology is already being used to make bio-diesel to power cars, and biosensors have been created to detect a range of substances including viruses, bacteria, hormones and drugs. Other researchers are looking at how we might, one day, control human emotions by sending 'biological machines' into our brains. To some this is just a front for Frankensteinian genetic tinkering, the most striking of which hit the headlines in 2010 when American biologist Craig Venter, announced that he had created the world's first synthetic life form paving the way for more extreme forms of genetic modification.

This should be a fascinating film.

BBC Programme Page 

Meet Spider Goat


Monday, 16 January 2012

Tonight I'll have one eye on the sky & one on the TV - Stargazing Live BBC2 & astronomical photography

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Stargazing LIVE BBC Two, 8.30pm, continuing tuesday and wednesday evening.

Tonight I'll be getting out my telescope once again to attempt to follow the lead of Professor Brian Cox and Dara O Briain, as they take us on a thrilling tour of the stars. This year Stargazing Live will be broadcast from the control room of Jodrell Bank observatory and tonight's episode will focus on our nearest neighbour - the Moon.

Check out their packed website for more information, clips and things to do. 

Star Photography

I haven't had much time to play with star photography but below I've posted a couple of shots that I'm fairly pleased with. Here's a useful photography tutorial from astronomer Mark Thompson.
Also see the Stargazing Live photo group.

A few of my recent attempts...

Explosion of stars over the Pantanal - i'm blown away!

Explosion of stars over the Pantanal, Brazil, Aug 2011 (6400 ISO). Like floating in space - mesmerising.

Beautiful array of stars over our camp. Goodnight universe!

I was filming a story about these trees in the Northern Woods of Maine and using the headlights of my car I was able to illuminate the trees for a second whilst capturing a several second exposure of the stars.

I was pleased to see ths shooting star when I looked back through my images...

Shooting star over our camp - made a wish that we would find and film a lynx!

Friday, 13 January 2012

Close your eyes and be transported to a Magical Frozen Planet - Chris Watson's Evocative Antarctic Soundscapes

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Nature: Soundings from Antarctica, BBC Radio 4

I've just been to the Antarctic... well audually speaking, transported by 30 minutes of evocative soundscapes courtesy of one of the worlds top sound recordists, Chris Watson. Nature: Soundings from Antarctica was originally broadcast on BBC Radio 4 last week. If you havent taken the journey yet then I urge you to lay back, close your eyes, and float away to a magical frozen world. Listen on BBC iPlayer

(Photo: Chris Watson)

The Sound of Geology

"[Antarctica] is so quiet; its the only place in the world that you can actually hear Geology happening; all these processes that you're schooled to think take thousands and thousands of years, the movement of glaciers and the shifting of rocks ... And that's an amazing experience that process of the landscape changing"
 -  Jeff Wilson, Frozen Planet.

Engulf yourself in the deep and powerful sounds of geology, from the grinding and creaking of glaciers calving to the buckling of ice sheets under unfathomable pressure. But these guttural sounds are only a small part of what this programme reveals to be an audibly diverse place. The delicate sounds of water lapping under thin sheets of sea ice, and the tinkling produced when fine needle-like ice crystals move in a breeze of volcanic gases - sounds from the heart of Mount Erebus, Antarctica's most active volcano.

This is "a landscape completely in flux" Chris Watson whispers in reverence. There were moments that stunned even him. A minke whale came to the surface of the water a few metres away from him to breathe. "Wow," he said at the epic, engulfing noise. "Wow."

The Journey South

Chris Watson travelled to the South Pole for the “Frozen Planet” and you can also hear his report from this fascinating journey.

Download the audio report HERE (50:21)

(Photo: Chris Watson)

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Hold tight for a bird's eye view of the world in #Earthflight, BBC One

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Don't miss episode 3, Europe: Thursday 12th January, 8pm, BBC One 

In Earth Flight, amazing sights from five continents are revealed in a whole new light as we soar with the birds. From flamingos over the soda lakes of Africa to flocks of waders landing in an invasion of horseshore crabs, and hummingbirds darting through the Grand Canyon. Episode one was a beautiful roller-coaster of a ride, and while at first glance you may expect to be engulfed in a birders wonderland, this series is far more than twitchers eye-candy. Birds are vehicles by which we are whipped along to witness incredible spectacles from the air - as if we were Bastian clinging to the back of Falkor in The Neverending Story. Sadly this show does have an ending, but not before we've revelled in some jaw-dropping moments. One of the most spectacular showed dozens of devil rays jumping out of the water in the Sea of Cortez, something I had never seen before - and as David Tennant said, apparently no one knows why they do this.

Filmed from microlights, hang-gliders, wirecams and 'spy-cams' the film provides a uniquely privileged perspective - a birds eye view of the world.

BBC programme Page 

Flying Devil Rays

Series Trailer

Fish Eagles Eye View of Flamingo Hunting
In Lake Bogoria, a hungry fish eagle hunts flamingos. Earthflight uses many different filming techniques to create the experience of flying with birds as they encounter some of the greatest natural events on the planet.

Spectacular images from Earth Flight

 Eagle fitter with 'spy-cam' (Image: John Downer Productions)

Bald Eagle (Image: John Downer Productions)

Eagle in flight (Image: John Downer Productions)

Pelicans flying under the golden gate bridge (Image: John Downer Productions)

S shaped flock of flamingos (Image: John Downer Productions)

Snow geese approaching statue of liberty (Image: John Downer Productions)

Vulture in flight (Image: John Downer Productions)

Geese in flight (Image: John Downer Productions)

Landing in a gannet colony (Image: John Downer Productions)

Eagle soars over the Grand Canyon  (Image: John Downer Productions)

Budgies fly over Uluru (Image: John Downer Productions)

Geese fly past the statue of liberty (Image: John Downer Productions)

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

My memories of Working Mens Clubs - The Rules of Drinking, BBC4

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The Rules of Drinking, BBC4, 9pm Tonight.

(I do watch shows other than Wildlife) There's a crackin' episode of Timeshift on BBC4 tonight - The Rules of Drinking. It promises to be a fascinating cultural documentary, revealing the unwritten rules that have governed the way we drink in Britain. (see clips at the end of this post)

In the pubs and working men's clubs of the forties and fifties there were strict customs governing who stood where. To be invited to sup at the bar was a rite of passage for many young men, and it took years for women to be accepted. As the country prospered and foreign travel became widely available, so new drinking habits were introduced as we discovered wine and, even more exotically, cocktails. People began to drink at home as well as at work, where journalists typified a tradition of the liquid lunch. Advertising played its part as lager was first sold as a woman's drink and then the drink of choice for young men with a bit of disposable income. The rules changed and changed again, but they were always there - unwritten and unspoken, yet underwriting our complicated relationship with drinking.

This made me think of my time working in a Working Mens Club... read below.

BBC Programme Page

'House' - Bingo at the club

Memories of an ex-Pint Puller

I grew up in the South Yorkshire market town of Rotherham, where Working Mens Clubs continue to endure amongst the rise of poncy wine bars and cheap drink-till-you-drop late bars. My first job, whilst doing my A-levels in the late 90's, was as a glass collector in our towns central club. I later proudly progressed to pint puller, and eventually bingo caller. The 'rules' described in the clip below remind me of my many evenings working in what was often referred to as the last bastion of masculinity - the WMC.

This was a place of brash and gritty hard-working folk, cheeky chappie 'Del-Boy' characters trying to flog you stereos, ex-cruise singers in worn tux's warbling out oldies, and the occasional butch woman who drank from pint-pots - something which wasn't usually considered lady-like. Bitter was for men, lager in half-pint glasses was for women. Gambling and dirty jokes were as much a part of the scene as the thick smoke which choked the air.

While most people found their place in the function room or pool room, the chairman and his committee held court over the tap-room. If you were allowed a seat here, in the smallest and smokiest of rooms, you had made it to the upper echolons of the drinkers. The oldest and most respected members staked their claim on the club by keeping their own pint glass behind the bar. If we broke one of these there'd be hell to pay. It was surely a interesting part of my formative years.

The committee stand proud outside the club

 Women in Pubs

Monday, 9 January 2012

Freaky fish that lives up a sea cucumbers bum - watch the sequence #GreatBarrierReef

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In case you missed it, this is the eye-popping sequence from Great Barrier Reef that I told you about last week. When a freaky fish squirms up a sea-cucumbers bum. Evolutionary adaptation at its most surprising!

Usually this is a commensal relationship, and the pearl fish doesn't harm it's host, it merely uses it as a snugly place to settle. I have to admit - it does look cosy. Some species however give an added blow to the cucumbers self-esteem - they also eat their gonads.  

If you're in the UK you can watch the full episode on iPlayer, and the next episode on BBC Two, 8pm Sunday 15th January. 

Join the forum - what are your favourite wildlife TV moments?

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Yuk! exploding frogs, parasitic tongues & a city coated in silk - Nature's Weirdest Events BBC2

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BBC TWO, 8pm 3rd & 4th January 2011

In two freakily curious episodes Chris Packham takes us around the world to the scene of some of the weirdest natural events on the planet. From exploding toads and parasitic tongue action, to a city coated in caterpillar silk, and the incredible sea foam which turns the Australian coast into the world's biggest bubble bath. With the help of footage taken by eyewitnesses and news crews, he unravels the facts and the science behind each phenomenon.

BBC Programme Page
Read more about freaky nature on BBC Nature
Parasitic Tongue Action

The female of Cymothoa exigua, otherwise known as the tongue-eating louse,  is one of almost 400 species known to attach to the tongues of fish after entering through the gills. Once in place, the parasites feed on the fish, eating away their flesh and feeding on their blood supply, fortunately the fish is able to use the swelling parasite just like a normal tongue. The male louse can also come along for the ride, attaching to the gill arches beneath and behind the female.

Exploding Toads

In April 2005, in the Altona district of Hamburg, more than 1000 dead toads were found to have inexplicably exploded prompting local residents to refer to the area's lake as "Tümpel des Todes" (Pool of Death). According to a witness these frogs swelled by three-and-a-half times their normal size before blowing up. Some of the frogs even lived a short time afterwards with their intestines sperad for more than a metre around them.

The finger was inititally pointed at a suspected viral or fungal infection, until Berlin veterinarian Franz Mutschmann performed necropsies on then toads and theorised that the phenomenon was linked to a recent influx of predatory crows. Like a scene from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, he believed that these crows had ripped through the amphibian's chest and abdominal cavity to pick out the liver. In a typical defensive move, the toads begin to inflate themselves, but due to the hole in the toad's body and the missing liver, this led to a rupture of blood vessels and lungs, and to the spreading of intestines. Mutschmann said "Crows are intelligent animals. They learn very quickly how to eat the toads' livers."

Rotterdam Coated in Silk