With the festive season in full swing, here are 10 signs that show you’ve fully embraced the most magical time of the year.
1. The “I don’t have to go to work” face.
With Easter just a hop, skip and a jump away, we thought we’d crack into the ARKive coll-egg-tion and have a scramble around to eggs-tract some egg-citing eggs to eggs-hibit in our blog. Along the way, we’ve also learned about the eggs-istence of some rather eggs-centric egg-laying and guarding habits, and we hope you’re as eggs-tatic about our finds as we are!
While you might be forgiven for being fooled into thinking that these green globules are plump and juicy gooseberries, they are, in fact, peacock butterfly eggs. The eggs of this species are laid in groups under nettles, usually in May, and hatch two weeks later.
However you like your eggs, there’s no denying that these ones look as though they’ve been char-grilled in their shells! But fear not, these emu eggs are supposed to look like this; they come in various shades of greenish-black and are the size of a small grapefruit. The male emu is an eggs-traordinary guardian, taking sole responsibility for incubating the eggs over the course of two months while the female wanders off to potentially find another mate, and protecting the chicks against predators for several months once they’ve hatched.
In the UK, having more than about four siblings would constitute being part of a pretty large and impressive family, but in the world of marine turtles, this is a mere drop in the ocean. Female green turtles produce between 100 and 150 ping-pong-ball-like eggs per clutch, and can lay up to nine separate clutches per breeding season. While this may seem rather a lot, marine turtles don’t guard their nests or look after their young, and with the threat of land- and ocean-dwelling predators, the survival rate of hatchlings is very low.
Bald eagle nests, made with sticks and lined with moss, grass, seaweed and other vegetation, are some of the largest of any bird species, sometimes reaching several metres in width. These enormous nests presumably provide a comfy and snug environment for the eggs during the 35-day incubation period, yet things can soon turn ugly. By being bigger and louder, the first-born chick is often afforded more parental attention and food, and will even occasionally kill its younger siblings.
A mermaid’s purse might well sound like something a sea-dwelling siren would keep her money and credit cards in, but a pilfering pickpocket could get a nasty surprise if they were to try to purloin this particular purse as it is actually a shark egg-case! Mermaid’s purses vary greatly in shape, size and colour, depending on the shark species in question.
Frog egg masses, often referred to as frogspawn, tend to look rather like a gruesome collection of eyeballs. The female common frog releases between 1,000 and 2,000 eggs at a time, which are covered in a jelly-like coating. This coating expands when it comes into contact with water, providing protection for the tadpoles growing within.
What may look like a delectable strand of abandoned tagliatelle cast into the depths of the ocean is, in actual fact, a mass of sea lemon eggs. A common sea slug around Britain’s shores, the sea lemon produces thousands of eggs at a time which form a long, coiled, ribbon-like mass. These egg masses are produced in the spring and are attached to rocks, so if you take an Easter weekend dip in the sea and find such a structure, we would advise leaving it well alone and not adding it to your carbonara!
A supplier of sugary goodness and a harbinger of spring to many, the honey bee lays its eggs from March to October. Honey bee colonies have a complex structure, formed of the queen, workers and drones, all of which serve different functions. Worker bees have a variety of roles within the colony, with some being tasked with feeding the developing larvae which emerge from the eggs around three days after they are laid.
King penguins appear to take parenting very seriously, with each pair keeping a close eye on their precious egg. Incubation is shared by the male and female and is split into two- or three-week cycles, and parental duties remain shared once the chick has hatched. It’s a good job that king penguins don’t let their eggs out of their sight, otherwise they may not believe the chick belonged to them…the chick looks so different to the adult that they were first described as two completely different species!
While the majority of mammals give birth to live young, there are some eggs-treme mammalian species that lay eggs! These eggs-tra special critters are known as monotremes, and the short-beaked echidna is one of them. The echidna’s leathery egg is laid into a pouch on the female’s abdomen, where it is incubated for about ten days before it hatches. The young echidna, or ‘puggle’, remains there until it is 45 to 55 days old.
We hope you’ve enjoyed these eggs-amples of awesome eggs, and that you all have a wonderful Easter weekend!
Kathryn Pintus, ARKive Text Author
With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, we’re featuring a few forlorn species looking for love. Read on to learn more about them and find out what they’re looking for in a perfect partner.
About me: Islander who loves the mountains and water sports. Quite competitive, but a sensitive guy who’s great with kids. Ready to deliver a good time, so get in touch if you’re looking to find your prince.
About me: Shy singleton currently clawing my way back into the dating game after going underground for some time. Thick skinned. Looking for my knight in shining armour who doesn’t mind a hairy lady. If you think you might be able to dig me out of my solitude, visit my profile.
From: Southeast Asia
About me: Primitive fellow but a good dancer with a bit of a sweet tooth. A hard worker who can sometimes get buried in my work. Sick of bumbling through life with no-one to love, I’m now looking for my queen. Call me if you want to be(e) my honey.
From: South Africa
About me: Stocky, grey-haired lady looking for relatively independent male. Professional fumigator. Not a picky eater. Favourite film is Raiders of the Lost Ark-hive. Looking for someone to fill the hole in my heart. Dig out my contact details.
About me: Shy sea-lover looking for someone to bring me out of my shell. After several evictions, am now working my way up the property ladder. Friends would say my worst trait is being a bit shellfish, but I like to mix with all sorts, and am looking for a mutually beneficial relationship. Call me in a pinch.
About me: Small chap who is proud of his appearance. Loves aerobatics. Bit hot-headed. Love my food and am fiercely protective of it – do not expect to share. With so few ladies about, it’s proving hard to find the fire-cracker I’m looking for. Get in touch if you want me to set your heart aflutter.
About me: Fashionable feline with a keen eye for dining opportunities. Athletic and agile, loves climbing. Despite my powerful build, I can often go unnoticed. Am a bit of a stalker, but willing to change my spots for the right lady. Call me if you want me to whisk(er) you off your feet.
About me: Quite a colourful character, able to adapt to most situations. Unique chap who likes to branch out and perform several bizarre party tricks. Likes to spend time alone, but needs to get a grip. Can be strong-headed at times – known to clash with other members of my sex. Big fan of mittens. Check out my profile to see me in all my guises.
About me: Heavy-built bovine who loves a good mud bath. Looking to play the field and have a short-term relationship with a few strong-minded females. Enjoys water sports and hanging out with the lads. If interested, dial 0800-B-U-F-F.
About: Water-loving athlete with an aptitude for high jump. Friends call me the King of Fish – I’m a good catch who will have you hooked. Looking to go the distance, even if it’s an uphill struggle. Happy to travel – life won’t be complete until I have met my perfect match. If, like me, you are willing to die for love, get in touch.
Which species on ARKive wins your heart? Comment below and let us know!
Kathryn Pintus, ARKive Content and Outreach Officer
With the holidays approaching and Christmas just around the corner, the ARKive team brings you their guide to the ultimate festive films, with a wildlife twist of course!
These collared doves could give the actors in this romantic comedy a run for their money when it comes to courtship!
While Buddy is probably the tallest elf you’ve ever seen, the elfin skimmer is the smallest dragonfly in North America!
Although they may look bulky, polar bears can actually reach speeds of about 40 kilometres per hour over short distances!
This greenfinch might not have stolen Christmas, but he doesn’t look too happy at the thought of someone stealing his berries!
These reef manta rays might not have to brave a toy store on Christmas Eve, but this feeding frenzy looks almost as chaotic!
While it may not really be the stuff of nightmares, the eerie nightjar is most active during the twilight and superstition has it that this species used to steal milk from goats!
It may not be completely ‘alone’ yet, but sadly the black abalone is Critically Endangered and has suffered serious declines.
While the jackdaw might not be much use in a snowball fight, this handsome member of the crow family does have distinctive frosty blue eyes!
It might not be miraculous, but it was once widely believed that barnacle geese developed from goose barnacles like these on the sides of ships!
With ears this large, the caracal wouldn’t look out of place in a Muppets line up!
Can you think of any other festive wildlife films we’ve missed? Post your suggestions in the comments section below!
Claire Lamb, ARKive Content & Outreach Officer
There are so many styles of human dance around the world, which may be used for portraying emotion, fitness, communicating a message, fighting or even just for fun. We are not alone, as many members of the animal kingdom shake, groove, boogie and wiggle their way to getting what they want. Although we use the term ‘dance’ loosely, there are some species who definitely know how to get down.
There always seems to be someone in a crowd who thinks jumping up and down constitutes dancing, subsequently annoying everyone else around them. We think that Verreaux’s sifaka could be ‘that guy’ of the animal kingdom.
Twerk it out
You would be seriously wrong in thinking that ‘twerking’ is a recent phenomenon, as the male wire-tailed manakin has been using it to attract females for years. We reckon this bird could give Miley Cyrus a serious run for her money.
Got it on tap
You wouldn’t really want this expert tapper hitting the dancefloor…it would leave some serious trip hazards behind!
Reaching dizzy new heights
Spins are a vital part of any dance routine. Although this cetacean doesn’t seem to have much trouble, we don’t know how many of these spins we could do before toppling over!
Ready to rock
It takes some seriously strong neck muscles to headbang your way through a whole gig, but this Temminck’s tragopan looks pretty hardcore.
Break it down
You’ve seen the worm, the toprock and the windmill numerous times, but this mustelid is bringing some original flava to the streets and has created its own breakdancing move – the stoat.
Made you look
A question has plagued mankind for millennia: when slow-dancing with someone at the school disco where should you look? Should you look them in the eye? Or is that too intense? Should you look away? But then it might seem like you’re not ‘in the moment’ or you’re checking someone else out. Should you look down? But then they might notice the roots you were supposed to have dyed weeks ago. Although we can’t answer this age-old query, at least we know we’re not alone, as this pair of great crested grebes seem to be having the same problem.
Right on time
This poor pair of Laysan albatrosses just don’t quite seem to be able to get their dance routine in time. Maybe they should stick to their day job and leave the dancing to the professionals.
Corps de crane
Poise, grace and elegance are three attributes necessary for all ballerinas. We can imagine the common crane stepping up to the barre and arabesquing, cabrioling and sissonning with the best of them.
With the large crowds and lack of personal space involved in their courtship dancing, these Andean flamingos probably wouldn’t feel out of place at a rave! Their neon-pink colouration means they wouldn’t even need to take their own glow sticks!
Let us know your favourite salsa-dancing, hip-wiggling, bunny-hopping, booty-shaking, shoulder-shimmying species!
Hannah Mulvany, ARKive Content Officer.