The Kellet’s Whelk, Kelletia kelletii, is a type of sea snail that is common to the middle and southern coast of California, on down to Baja California. This seemingly harmless shelled creature is both a predator and a scavenger, and it has quite a strange feeding apparatus: a long proboscis twice the length of its shell can dangle down to reach its prey that may be hiding in a rock crevice or on the sea floor. It uses a handy rasp to scrape off tissue, and sucks it up into its shell for digestion. Each whelk has only one of these feeding tubes, and you’d be amazed how many creatures have some type of proboscis!
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This uniquely patterned flower goes by several names including Checkered Lily, Snake’s Head Fritillary, and Guinea Hen Flower. It is Fritillaria meleagris, the genus name meaning (basically) checkered and the species name referring to guinea fowl. This plant is native to Eurasia from the UK across into western Russia. It is also widely grown as a spring bulb in gardens all across the USA. Certainly planting a few of these bulbs would provide a new conversation starter for any garden!
The strange-looking, bare-headed White-Necked Rockfowl, Picathartes gymnocephalus, lives only in a small area of western Africa, below the Sahara desert. Its nearly featherless head shows bright yellow skin with black patches behind its eyes. This strange bird eats mostly insects, but feeds its young frogs. It often nests in caves and will sometimes follow an army of ants, gobbling up insects disturbed by the parade.
The Regal Horned Lizard, Phrynosoma solare, lives in the desert areas of the southwestern United States and Mexico. It eats mostly ants, and it is immune to ant venom. When disturbed by a potential predator, this little lizard squirts its own blood out of its eyeball with precise aim, targeting his attacker’s face. Apparently this blood has some type of odor or taste that repels the predator. Click the links below the video for more videos, pics, and information on this crazy critter with its unique defense!