Evolution is a mystery – a marvellous one! However, at times, it springs some rather weird surprises at us, something that the following 12 strange and bizarre creatures – which are also slightly creepy – are testimony to.
1. Water bears
There are more than 900 species of water bears – or Tardigrade – all over the world, residing in the highest of mountains to the deepest oceans.
These can survive without food or water for more than a decade, and can thrive in temperatures as low as zero to above the boiling point of water; they can tolerate pressure that is six times stronger than that of the deepest ocean trench and radiation a hundred times higher than the fatal dose for humans; and they would be absolutely comfortable in the giant vacuum of space.
They are also about the size of a poppy seed. (source)
2. Predatory tunicate
These hermaphroditic creatures live anchored to the canyon walls of the sea or to the sea floor, awaiting tiny animals that may have the misfortune of swimming into the tunicate’s massive hoods, functioning much in the same fashion as a Venus Flytrap. These creatures produce both the eggs and sperms within one body, so that, in case there are no tunicates nearby or if conditions are averse to reproduction, each tunicate can reproduce by itself.(source)
Indigenous to Madagascar, these gremlin-like primates possess a number of unusual traits, such as a long bony witch-like middle finger they use to pry out insects and grubs from tree trunks. It is perhaps owing to their appearance that these creatures are touted as being harbingers of death and are killed; local superstition has people believe that if an aye-aye points its middle finger at you, it’s an omen of death.
None of this is, of course, true, and these nocturnal foragers are a harmless and gentle species.(source)
4. Elephant seal
The elephant seal is so called because of the large elephant-like trunk that the adult male of the species flaunts, which begins developing at sexual maturity, achieving complete development around the age of seven or nine. These seals grow to measure over 13 feet in case of adult males, and 10 feet in case of adult females, and are the largest seals in the world. Unlike other seals, the elephant seal lacks external flaps, and movement is carried out solely by flopping forward on its belly.(source)
5. Red-lipped batfish
The batfish, found near the Galapagos islands, are rather unusual fish, especially owing to their “lips”, which look like they have a fresh coating of bright red lipstick; the red lips are speculated to allow species recognition during spawning. Besides this, these fish have a modified set of fins that allows them to “walk” across the ocean floor, rather than having to swim – something that suits their bottom-dwelling nature. Inhabitants of the deep sea, these fish are predatory carnivores, whose diet mainly consists of small fish and crustaceans such as crabs and shrimps.(source)
6. Tongue-eating louse
The Gulf of California houses within its waters these parasites, whose signature move involves infiltrating the gills of an unsuspecting fish and latching on to its tongue. However, in case of a particular fish, called the rose snapper, it then proceeds to consume the tongue and take its place, acting as a substitute for the organ.
These creatures are protandrous hermaphrodites, i.e., they mature into males, then switch to become females that feed on the fish’s tongue by sucking the blood out of it, slowly but definitely causing the tongue to atrophy. However, the female plays the part of a substitute tongue only insofar as her young are born, after which it lets go of the host, and is consumed. The host, too, being without a tongue, dies.(source)