Peculiar Creatures

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    PECULIAR ANIMALS

    Jeanne Therese S. Miranda

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    Leafy sea dragon (Phycodurus

    eques) T

    There are only two species of

    sea dragons in the world.

    These rare members of theseahorse family are found in

    the waters of southern and

    western Australia. The leafy

    sea dragons green and yellowleaf-like fins provide perfect

    camo amid the seaweeds and

    grasses where they live. Like

    the seahorse, the male sea

    dragon carries the eggs (but on

    a "brood patch" located on the

    tail instead of in a stomach

    pouch). "Leafies" can grow up

    to 13 inches long.

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    Sea AngelWe wouldn't be surprised to

    find that sea angels are in the

    same family as, say, themythological Sirens. They're

    called angels, but are actually

    a predatory sea snail. This

    particular specimen,Platybrachium antarcticum,

    "flies through the deep

    Antarctic waters hunting the

    shelled pteropods (another

    type of snail) on which itfeeds," according to the

    Marine Census of Life.

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    Pink Sea-Through

    FantasiaIts name makes it sound

    like a piece of sexy

    lingerie, but don't be

    fooled: The pink see-

    through fantasia is a sea

    cucumber, found about a

    mile and a half deep in

    the Celebes Sea in the

    western Pacific (east ofBorneo).

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    Dumbo OctopusDumbo octopus is a type

    of octopus named after

    Walt Disney's famous

    character Dumbo the

    elephant because of the

    ear-like fins. Dumbo

    octopus has soft, head-

    shaped body with 8

    arms. They are connected

    with each other via thinflaps of the skin. Two

    ear-like fins are

    positioned on both sides

    of the "head".

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    BLANKET OCTOPUSThe membrane attached

    to some arms of the

    blanket octopus serves

    as a defense mechanismbecause it expands to

    distract predators and

    can be shed if necessary.

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    Blue DragonsAlso known as Glaucus

    atlanticus. The animals floatupside down at the surface

    of the sea, keeping afloat by

    swallowing air which is

    stored in their stomachs.Their diet is mainly made up

    of hydrozoans including the

    Portuguese Man o War -

    they even eat the stings. As

    well as getting nourishment

    from the stings, they use

    them for their own defence.

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    Mexican SALAMANDERAlso known as Axolotl. The

    axolotl is known for its wide

    head and face; stubby,underdeveloped legs with

    long, slim, digits; slimy tail;

    and external gill stalks that

    look like plumage. It is a

    type of amphibian that

    reaches adulthood without

    undergoing metamorphosis,

    retaining its juvenile

    characteristicssuch as itsgillsand thus staying in its

    larval form throughout its

    life.

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    Pacific Barreleye Fish

    Barreleyes get their namefrom their large, barrel

    shaped eyes which are

    topped by huge green lenses.

    These are inside a round,

    transparent, fluid-filledhead. This barreleye inhabits

    depths of around 600 metres

    (2,000 ft) to 800 metres

    (2,600 ft), where thedarkness approaches

    absolute black.

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    Sea PigsAlso known as Scotoplanes,

    but earned their nicknames

    because of their little legs

    and plump, pinkishappearance. However, the

    'legs', arranged in a circular

    row around the its base, are

    actually elongated feetwhich are used to push food

    into their mouths. Sea pigs

    feed on organic particles

    which they extract from

    deep sea mud and studies

    have shown a particular

    taste for food that has

    freshly fallen from the

    ocean's surface.

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    Peculiar Doriopsilla

    (Doriopsilla peculiaris)It is known to occur in the

    waters of southern

    Australia. This species is

    yellow to pale pink in

    colour and generally has

    small white patchescovering the upper surface.

    The rhinophores and gills

    are generally a little bit

    dark in colour than themantle. This species is

    known to feed on sponges

    and it is generally only

    seen at night.