Nature surprises us in many ways. On one hand, we face extreme atrocities like earthquakes and cyclones while on the other hand, nature gives us beautiful creations like the Aurora Borealis. Moreover, birds and animals enhance this beauty of nature. They, in their own unique way, craft some very beautiful and amazing things. Here, we bring you 10 such amazing things created by animals that will just blow your mind.
1. Spider Decoys
A new species of spiders have been discovered in the Amazon that creates fake spiders as decoys from leaves, debris, and dead insects to misdirect predators.
In the Peruvian, Amazon rainforest, a spider has been discovered that builds elaborate, fake spiders and hangs them in its web. This new spider is believed to belong to the genus Cyclosa. The spider uses debris, leaves, and dead insects to craft the larger replica of itself. Though Cyclosa consists of other spider species that sculpt structures, this is the first time that scientists have observed a species that builds a replica of itself with numerous long legs.
Scientists suspect that the fake spiders are built as decoys. This might be a part of their defense mechanism in order to confuse or mislead predators.(source)
2. Puffer Fish Circles
Created by the male pufferfish, this 7-foot diameter geometric pattern is designed to attract a mate and have her lay eggs in the center.
In 1995, some divers in Japan discovered strange, circular patterns on the seafloor. They noticed that the patterns came and went mysteriously. For more than a decade, scientists were unable to discover what these patterns stood for.
In 2013, scientists finally discovered the creature responsible for the creation of this amazing underwater pattern – a newly discovered species of pufferfish. They also learned that these ornate circles are made to attract mates.
To create the patterns, the males swim along the seafloor and flap their fins. Such movements lead to the creation of the beautiful circular patterns. Although the fish are only about five inches long, the formations they make measure about 7-feet in diameter.
Once the patterns are made, females come to inspect them. If they are fond of the creations, they reproduce with the male that created the pattern. It is yet to be discovered what exactly the females look for in the patterns or what traits they find desirable in the formation.(source)
3. Bowerbird Nests
Bowerbirds build intricate, brightly colored structures to attract mates. They pick up colorful objects such as green glass and plastic toys to add aesthetics to their structures.
The forests of New Guinea and Australia are home to a group of unusual birds. Known as bowerbirds, they are named after the elaborate structures. They build elaborate structures as part of a unique courtship ritual.
There has been an instance where one bird has been found to use colorful objects such as green glass, a plastic toy elephant, and a toy soldier to decorate the structure. Some birds have been known to use colorful fruits and decorate their bowers with blue or green saliva.(source)
4. The Great Barrier Reef
Known as the single greatest structure built by living organisms, the great reef is composed of 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands spanning over 1,600 miles.
The Great Barrier Reef is one of the most remarkable creations of nature. It is the largest structure built by a colony of living organisms. It is larger than the Great Wall of China and the only living thing on earth visible from space. The structure is composed of and built by billions of tiny organisms, known as coral polyps.
The reef supports a diversity of marine life that includes numerous endangered species, some of which may be endemic to the reef system. As of 2006, 30 species of whales, dolphins, and porpoises have been recorded in the Great Barrier Reef. These include the dwarf minke whale, Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin, and the humpback whale. A large variety of fish and sea snakes are found on the reef. The reef also supports numerous animals on land and birds.(source)
5. Termite Mound
These termite shelters can be more than 10 meters high and 15 meters wide at their base. Some of them even have a strong resemblance to Disney castles and skyscrapers.
These mound-building termites are nature’s expert architects. They are masters of construction. Their sophisticated and innovative, green-energy designs are an inspiration to architects. An interestingly, they don’t live in these massive structures that they construct.
They, in fact, build their nests in the ground below the mound. These structures are meant for protection from invading ant armies and other threats.
Scientists also had a theory that the mounds are designed primarily to control nest temperatures. But in a recent study, it has been found that one of the primary functions of the mound is to facilitate the exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen.
In 2015, scientists discovered an abandoned termite mound that is more than 2,200 years old. Another mound they studied was at least 750 years old. This suggests that termites used the same structures for millennia.(1,2)
6. Gossamer Trees
In 2010, flooding in Pakistan caused millions of spiders to climb up on trees for refuge and cover them in cocoons of their web.
In 2010, unprecedented monsoons brought down massive rainfall leading to flooding in Pakistan. The water was slow to recede and it created vast pools of stagnant water across the countryside.
During this time, the flood drove millions of spiders and other insects into the trees that were above the water level of the flood. This led the spiders to spin their webs, possibly combined with other insects, covering the trees with ghostly cocoons.
Although the cocoons led to the death of many trees as they were blocking sunlight from reaching the leaves, they also seemed to help trap more mosquitoes in the region, thereby reducing the risk of malaria.(source)
7. Weaver Bird Nests
The nesting colonies of weaver birds may contain up to 300 chambers (one per pair) and span up to 25 feet in width and five feet in height.
Weaver birds are known for their intricately woven nests. The males build the homes to attract females. Depending on the type of bird and the available building materials, nests may be constructed with plant fibers or twigs. Once they assemble the building materials, they start weaving. The ideal design has a long tube that connects to a chamber which probably serves as the nursery.
Once the nest is completed, the males declare an “open house” by fluttering their wings. If a female likes what she sees, eggs appear on the nests in just a few days.
8. Beaver Dams
Beavers build dams as protection against predators. The world’s biggest beaver dam, at 2,790 feet long, is around twice the length of the Hoover Dam and is visible from space.
Beavers are known as the engineers of the rodent world. They use the branches of trees to dam streams. The dam then creates a pond in the middle upon which the beaver family then constructs an island. The dams act as a shield of protection against vicious predators like bears, coyotes, and wolves. It also helps them to have easy access to food during the winters.
The dams typically range in length from a few feet to about 1,500 feet. But there is a dam that has surprised biologists because of its length. Located in Wood Buffalo National Park in Alberta, Canada, this dam measures 2,790 feet in length. As per photos released by NASA World Wind, the dam did not exist in 1975 but can be seen in subsequent images.(1,2)
9. Mud Dauber Prisons
Mud Dauber wasps design their nests from mud in the form of prisons where they capture spiders for consumption.
The mud daubers build nests in the shape of cylindrical tubes. Some resemble an urn. They then stock their nests with spiders which serve as food for their children. Instead of stocking a nest cell with one or two large spiders, they cram around two dozen small spiders into it.
To capture a prey like a spider, the wasp stings it. The poison from the sting only paralyzes the spider and doesn’t kill it. They then preserve and store their prey in the nest cell. Next, they lay their eggs on the paralyzed spiders inside the nest cell and seal the nests with a mud cap. The larva survives on these paralyzed spiders and also spend the winters inside the nests.(source)
10. Flower Sandwiches
These are floral contraptions created by the rare Osmia avosetta bees. Made into a three-tiered chamber, the outside consists of a thin layer of petals, a layer of mud, and an additional layer of petals.
The picture above depicts the nest of a rare species of a solitary bee named the Osmia avosetta. The nests are three-tiered, with mud sandwiched between thin layers of petals. At the core of the sandwich, the bee’s larva is located. The larva survives on the nectar and pollen that is deposited inside the chamber by its parent. All this happens before the egg is laid. Lastly, they seal the nest for the egg to develop.
Each structure has room for just one larva. These structures were discovered on the same day by two teams in Turkey and Iran. They further noticed regional variations between the nests. Bees in Turkey tend to pick yellow, pink, blue, and purple petals, while Iranian bees make their nests with just purple flowers.