This aquatic creature crawls over rocks by holding on with its suckers. The suckers are also mouths capable of sucking algae (and barnacles and bryozoans) off the rocks. The bulbs shown above are the stomachs. They are divided like lemons inside, but with an open center. This allows sections to be pinched off by the walls moving closer together. Each of the ten stomachs can hold up to eight meals separately, for a total of eighty meals at different stages of digestion before one has to be emptied to make room for another meal. The legs are extended by turgor pressure. Fluid pumped into each section makes them straight and rigid. Each black band is capable of contracting to separate the legs into sections of differing fluid levels in order to control how far each leg extends. The spots at the end of each stomach/foot are eyespots.
This fish above is covered by a hard, pointy shell, repelling predators and parasites alike. It is invulnerable to almost everything. Everything except the lure-polyp. The lure-polyp extends a lure to attract fish. When the fish bites down, spines shoot out from the lure, embedding themselves in the soft tissues inside the fish. The lure is then pulled into the stomach of the polyp with the fish still attached. The picture to the right shows how the spines extend and retract.
In this plant, the false berry is very sticky to help hold the animal in place while the upper part of the branch twists to close the noose. The spines drain whatever nutrients they can, but the bulk of the animal's mass is wasted and later eaten by insects.
I returned to the part of the Little Manatee River State Park north of the river on September 20th. This time, I decided to take the shorter loop and avoid the perpetually drowned areas, but the recent rain had made the entire area wet. Eventually, I encountered a puddle so vast and so deep that I just turned back.
On the way in, I had to keep reapplying my bug spray to keep the biting flies at bay. It barely worked. In addition to flies, I saw lubber grasshoppers, several butterflies (including one that was solid orange), and ran into countless spider webs across the trail. I eventually picked up a stick to sweep out in front of me but still somehow walked into five more before my walk was over. Also, my stick was so rotted it fell apart in my hands, getting shorter and shorter. Sometimes, you just can’t catch a break.
There were some changes from the last time I was there that appear seasonal. The bushes were full of lizards, as always, but every lizard I saw was very tiny, probably young. I also encountered countless hard fruits on the ground of at least three varieties (one is pictured above). I even had a flower bud fall out of a tree right in front of me with a smack.
The jungle was also much noisier than is normal. I heard cranes, intermittent choruses of very loud frogs, very loud bees, and the loudest cicadas I have ever heard in my life. I’m surprised my head didn’t explode. There was also a goblin. Seriously, I heard something approaching fast behind me that sounded like a cross between a police car and a hyena, but when I turned to look, there was nothing there and the sound stopped.
I saw a few interesting features that must have been there last time, but didn’t stand out. There were bushes carpeted over with vines, curtains made out of vines covered with falling pine needles, and a green pond.
Not A Meadow!
I crossed several puddles, muddy spots, and even a stream. Finally, I encountered a puddle that extended as far as I could see, the closest part of which was deeper than up to my ankles and farther across than I could jump. I attempted to drag logs into place to make a bridge, but it just wasn’t working out right. Also, they were covered in centipedes. I turned back.
On the way back, things were different. The sun broke through the clouds and it was much hotter. The biting flies completely left me alone. That never happens! I had already destroyed all the spider webs, so I didn’t have to deal with those. I also saw three times as many snakes. At the point nearest to the main river on my way in to the forest, I met the shy individual shown below. On my way out past the same area, I saw three of his (her?) friends.
Aw! Look at that cute face!
The highlights of the trip were the two webs I found to the sides of the trail as big as dining room tables. The spiders were as big as child’s hands. Their legs were fuzzy in sections. One I was able to photograph from the belly and the other from the back. If I had somebody to go with me I would have used them for scale.
Giant Flying Spider!!!
If you have very good eyes, you can see part of the web in this one.
One does not need to be able to cite an example of a general pattern to be sure of the truth of its existence any more than one needs to be able to count the pickets on a picket fence to recognize that it is indeed a fence and not an elephant. Humans better remember broad rules or principles of the relationships between things than they remember every detail of every waking moment of their lives.
On the other hand, when controversial claims are made and only partial or flawed (or metaphorically true) examples can be cited, it calls into question whether the pattern ever had any basis in reality at all.
Hello, my name is Dan. I am an author, artist, explorer, and contemplator of subjects large and small. I like bacon. I like pizza. I like bacon pizza. I enjoy long walks on the beach, but prefer the mountains. I am a huge fan of Jesus. When I grow up, I want to be just like him and create my own universes.