Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Many are the wonders...

In the past week, two amazing wildlife stories have come to my attention.

First, in Florida's everglades, rangers recently found the carcasses of an alligator inside a burst-open Burmese python. Nobody wins in this fight:

The BBC's pithy caption: "The python tried to swallow the alligator whole and then exploded."

Pythons are not native to the Everglades: they were introduced about 20 years ago when exotic pet owners got tired of taking care of them in terrariums and began dumping them in the swamps instead. Since then, they've thrived in Florida's hot, humid climate. And as the photo above attests, the pythons don't have many predators to worry about.

And by the way: under modest global warming scenarios, Burmese pythons will probably be found throughout the old Confederacy by the year 2100.

Second, I'd like to introduce you to Macropinna microstoma, a deep-sea denizen of California's Monterrey Bay. It has a transparent head through which it peers with barrel-shaped eyeballs:

Video comes courtesy of the Monterrey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.

You can read about the Aquarium's recent discoveries about this fish in this article from the San Francisco Chronicle.

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