22 posts tagged giant

14th July 2013
The giant mussel shrimp (Gigantocypris muelleri) lives its life entrapped entirely in its carapace. Even its seven pairs of legs are encased and nearly hidden from outside view. The brown bubbles at the center of the animal are its mirror eyes that see out through the transparent carapace. Unlike most planktonic species, the giant mussel shrimp lives at depths below 200 m, feeding on detritus that falls from the surface. When females of this species are pregnant, the eggs they carry are clearly visible through their case. Even being donned with the name “giant” mussel shrimp, these creatures rarely grow to an inch in diameter.
(Photo source)

The giant mussel shrimp (Gigantocypris muelleri) lives its life entrapped entirely in its carapace. Even its seven pairs of legs are encased and nearly hidden from outside view. The brown bubbles at the center of the animal are its mirror eyes that see out through the transparent carapace. Unlike most planktonic species, the giant mussel shrimp lives at depths below 200 m, feeding on detritus that falls from the surface. When females of this species are pregnant, the eggs they carry are clearly visible through their case. Even being donned with the name “giant” mussel shrimp, these creatures rarely grow to an inch in diameter.

(Photo source)

5th April 2013
The California giant sea cucumber (Parastichopus californicus) is commonly found along the Pacific Coast of North America. It grows up to 50 cm in length and the tube feet along its dorsal side are reduced to papillae and warts.It has recently been discovered that this species of sea cucumber feeds using its anus. Thanks to this new knowledge, it has been proposed that numerous species of sea cucumber feed using their butts. Scientists have coined the term “bipolar feeding” to describe this behavior.
(Source)(Source) The California giant sea cucumber (Parastichopus californicus) is commonly found along the Pacific Coast of North America. It grows up to 50 cm in length and the tube feet along its dorsal side are reduced to papillae and warts.It has recently been discovered that this species of sea cucumber feeds using its anus. Thanks to this new knowledge, it has been proposed that numerous species of sea cucumber feed using their butts. Scientists have coined the term “bipolar feeding” to describe this behavior.
(Source)(Source)

The California giant sea cucumber (Parastichopus californicus) is commonly found along the Pacific Coast of North America. It grows up to 50 cm in length and the tube feet along its dorsal side are reduced to papillae and warts.
It has recently been discovered that this species of sea cucumber feeds using its anus. Thanks to this new knowledge, it has been proposed that numerous species of sea cucumber feed using their butts. Scientists have coined the term “bipolar feeding” to describe this behavior.

(Source)(Source)

2nd December 2012
The giant triton (Charonia tritonis) is one of the very few animals that eats the crown-of-thorns starfish, itself a voracious predator and destroyer of coral reefs. This gastropod is an active hunter that will chase prey, such as starfish, mollusks, and sea stars, once it has been detected. It uses its muscular single foot to hold its victim down while it cuts through any protective covering using its serrated, tonguelike radula; it then releases paralyzing saliva into the body before eating the subdued prey.
(Photo by Dimitrios Poursanidis)

The giant triton (Charonia tritonis) is one of the very few animals that eats the crown-of-thorns starfish, itself a voracious predator and destroyer of coral reefs. This gastropod is an active hunter that will chase prey, such as starfish, mollusks, and sea stars, once it has been detected. It uses its muscular single foot to hold its victim down while it cuts through any protective covering using its serrated, tonguelike radula; it then releases paralyzing saliva into the body before eating the subdued prey.

(Photo by Dimitrios Poursanidis)

1st December 2012
The largest and heaviest of all mollusks is the giant clam (Tridacna gigas). Like other bivalves, it feeds by filtering small food particles from the water using its ingoing, or inhalant, siphon, which is fringed with small tentacles. However, it differs in obtaining most of its nourishment from zooxanthellae (the same dinoflagellate algae that form a symbiotic relationship with many species of coral). The algae have a constant and safe environment in which to live; in return, they provide the clam with essential nutrients, the carbon-based products of photosynthesis. In fact, so dependent is the giant clam on these algae that it will die without them.
Photo © Christoph Specjalski

The largest and heaviest of all mollusks is the giant clam (Tridacna gigas). Like other bivalves, it feeds by filtering small food particles from the water using its ingoing, or inhalant, siphon, which is fringed with small tentacles. However, it differs in obtaining most of its nourishment from zooxanthellae (the same dinoflagellate algae that form a symbiotic relationship with many species of coral). The algae have a constant and safe environment in which to live; in return, they provide the clam with essential nutrients, the carbon-based products of photosynthesis. In fact, so dependent is the giant clam on these algae that it will die without them.

Photo © Christoph Specjalski

17th October 2012
The whale shark (Rhincodon typus) is a graceful, slow-moving giant and the largest fish in the world. At 1.5 m wide, its mouth is large enough to fit a human inside, but it is a harmless filter feeder that eats only plankton and small fish. Accounts of these giants describe sightings of individuals up to 20 m in length.To obtain the huge amount of food it needs, it sucks water into its mouth and pumps it out over its gills, where particles of food become trapped by bony projections called gill rakers and are later swallowed. This shark has the thickest skin of any animal, at up to 10 cm thick. Prominent ridges run the length of its body, and it has a large, sickle-shaped tail. The pattern of white spots on its back is unique to each fish, enabling scientists, through analysis of photographs, to identify individuals. While little is known of their ocean trabels, satellite tagging has shown that some whale sharks migrate across entire oceans. Whale shark eggs hatch inside the mother, and she gives birth to live young that reach up to 60 cm in length.Every year, around April, whale sharks migrate to Ningaloo Reef off northwestern Australia for a plankton feast. The plankton explosion results from a simultaneous mass spawning of the reef’s corals, possibly triggered by the full moon.Whale sharks are killed for their meat and fins (used in soup), although they are legally protected in some countries. 
Photo © Ken Knezick & Erik Schlögl The whale shark (Rhincodon typus) is a graceful, slow-moving giant and the largest fish in the world. At 1.5 m wide, its mouth is large enough to fit a human inside, but it is a harmless filter feeder that eats only plankton and small fish. Accounts of these giants describe sightings of individuals up to 20 m in length.To obtain the huge amount of food it needs, it sucks water into its mouth and pumps it out over its gills, where particles of food become trapped by bony projections called gill rakers and are later swallowed. This shark has the thickest skin of any animal, at up to 10 cm thick. Prominent ridges run the length of its body, and it has a large, sickle-shaped tail. The pattern of white spots on its back is unique to each fish, enabling scientists, through analysis of photographs, to identify individuals. While little is known of their ocean trabels, satellite tagging has shown that some whale sharks migrate across entire oceans. Whale shark eggs hatch inside the mother, and she gives birth to live young that reach up to 60 cm in length.Every year, around April, whale sharks migrate to Ningaloo Reef off northwestern Australia for a plankton feast. The plankton explosion results from a simultaneous mass spawning of the reef’s corals, possibly triggered by the full moon.Whale sharks are killed for their meat and fins (used in soup), although they are legally protected in some countries. 
Photo © Ken Knezick & Erik Schlögl
Whale Shark at the surface at Ningaloo Reef

The whale shark (Rhincodon typus) is a graceful, slow-moving giant and the largest fish in the world. At 1.5 m wide, its mouth is large enough to fit a human inside, but it is a harmless filter feeder that eats only plankton and small fish. Accounts of these giants describe sightings of individuals up to 20 m in length.
To obtain the huge amount of food it needs, it sucks water into its mouth and pumps it out over its gills, where particles of food become trapped by bony projections called gill rakers and are later swallowed. This shark has the thickest skin of any animal, at up to 10 cm thick. Prominent ridges run the length of its body, and it has a large, sickle-shaped tail. The pattern of white spots on its back is unique to each fish, enabling scientists, through analysis of photographs, to identify individuals. While little is known of their ocean trabels, satellite tagging has shown that some whale sharks migrate across entire oceans. Whale shark eggs hatch inside the mother, and she gives birth to live young that reach up to 60 cm in length.
Every year, around April, whale sharks migrate to Ningaloo Reef off northwestern Australia for a plankton feast. The plankton explosion results from a simultaneous mass spawning of the reef’s corals, possibly triggered by the full moon.
Whale sharks are killed for their meat and fins (used in soup), although they are legally protected in some countries. 

Photo © Ken Knezick & Erik Schlögl

17th October 2012
Unlike most sea spiders, which have a leg-span of less than 2.5 cm, the giant sea spider (Colossendeis australis) has a huge leg-span of about 25 cm. It has a large proboscis through which it sucks its food, but its tiny body is so small that the sex organs and parts of its digestive system are situated in the tops of the legs. Sea spiders are somewhat unusual among arthropods in that they exhibit parental care, the males having a modified pair of legs to carry the eggs until they hatch.
Photo © Claudia Arango

Unlike most sea spiders, which have a leg-span of less than 2.5 cm, the giant sea spider (Colossendeis australis) has a huge leg-span of about 25 cm. It has a large proboscis through which it sucks its food, but its tiny body is so small that the sex organs and parts of its digestive system are situated in the tops of the legs. Sea spiders are somewhat unusual among arthropods in that they exhibit parental care, the males having a modified pair of legs to carry the eggs until they hatch.

Photo © Claudia Arango

10th October 2012
Known as the saltwater crocodile, estuarine or Indo-Pacific crocodile (Crocodylus porosus), this formidable predator is the world’s largest reptile, and is also one of the few crocodilians that frequently swims out to sea. Its power and ferocity are legendary, and it is thought to be responsible for more than 1,000 human deaths per year. The saltwater crocodile has powerful jaws housing teeth up to 13 cm long. Its immensely tough skin is covered with thick scales. The scales on its back are armored with bony deposits called osteoderms, while its tail has a double row of upright bony plates (scutes). Its nostrils close when it dives, but it cannot exclude water from its mouth. Instead, it has a valve at the entrance to its throat, which opens only when it swallows food.
It controls its body temperature by cooling down in water and warming up in the sun. Like other large crocodiles, the saltwater crocodile hunts by stealth, lurking close tot he shore, hiding beneath the water with little more than its eyes and nose visible. When an animal comes within range, it bursts out of the water with explosive force, grabs its victim, and then drags it under until it drowsn. Crocodiles cannot chew their food—instead, they tear it to pieces, digesting scales, skin, and even bones. Their natural prey includes birds, fish, turtles, and a wide variety of mammals, such as wild boar, monkeys, horses, and water buffalo. Females lay up to 90 eggs in a waterside mound, carrying their young to the water when they hatch. Saltwater crocodiles are hunted in many parts of their range, making large specimens rarer than they once were.
(Photo source(s))*Note: I didn’t write this description and I think it’s a lot of fear-mongering. Blame it on the AMNH.  Known as the saltwater crocodile, estuarine or Indo-Pacific crocodile (Crocodylus porosus), this formidable predator is the world’s largest reptile, and is also one of the few crocodilians that frequently swims out to sea. Its power and ferocity are legendary, and it is thought to be responsible for more than 1,000 human deaths per year. The saltwater crocodile has powerful jaws housing teeth up to 13 cm long. Its immensely tough skin is covered with thick scales. The scales on its back are armored with bony deposits called osteoderms, while its tail has a double row of upright bony plates (scutes). Its nostrils close when it dives, but it cannot exclude water from its mouth. Instead, it has a valve at the entrance to its throat, which opens only when it swallows food.
It controls its body temperature by cooling down in water and warming up in the sun. Like other large crocodiles, the saltwater crocodile hunts by stealth, lurking close tot he shore, hiding beneath the water with little more than its eyes and nose visible. When an animal comes within range, it bursts out of the water with explosive force, grabs its victim, and then drags it under until it drowsn. Crocodiles cannot chew their food—instead, they tear it to pieces, digesting scales, skin, and even bones. Their natural prey includes birds, fish, turtles, and a wide variety of mammals, such as wild boar, monkeys, horses, and water buffalo. Females lay up to 90 eggs in a waterside mound, carrying their young to the water when they hatch. Saltwater crocodiles are hunted in many parts of their range, making large specimens rarer than they once were.
(Photo source(s))*Note: I didn’t write this description and I think it’s a lot of fear-mongering. Blame it on the AMNH. 

Known as the saltwater crocodile, estuarine or Indo-Pacific crocodile (Crocodylus porosus), this formidable predator is the world’s largest reptile, and is also one of the few crocodilians that frequently swims out to sea. Its power and ferocity are legendary, and it is thought to be responsible for more than 1,000 human deaths per year. The saltwater crocodile has powerful jaws housing teeth up to 13 cm long. Its immensely tough skin is covered with thick scales. The scales on its back are armored with bony deposits called osteoderms, while its tail has a double row of upright bony plates (scutes). Its nostrils close when it dives, but it cannot exclude water from its mouth. Instead, it has a valve at the entrance to its throat, which opens only when it swallows food.

It controls its body temperature by cooling down in water and warming up in the sun. Like other large crocodiles, the saltwater crocodile hunts by stealth, lurking close tot he shore, hiding beneath the water with little more than its eyes and nose visible. When an animal comes within range, it bursts out of the water with explosive force, grabs its victim, and then drags it under until it drowsn. Crocodiles cannot chew their food—instead, they tear it to pieces, digesting scales, skin, and even bones. Their natural prey includes birds, fish, turtles, and a wide variety of mammals, such as wild boar, monkeys, horses, and water buffalo. Females lay up to 90 eggs in a waterside mound, carrying their young to the water when they hatch. Saltwater crocodiles are hunted in many parts of their range, making large specimens rarer than they once were.

(Photo source(s))
*Note: I didn’t write this description and I think it’s a lot of fear-mongering. Blame it on the AMNH. 

26th June 2012
The Giant’s Causeway is a tightly packed cluster of some 40,000 columns of basalt (a black volcanic rock). It’s located at the foot of a sea cliff that rises ninety meters on the northern coast of Northern Ireland. Although legend says the formation was created by a giant named Finn McCool, it in fact resulted from the volcanic eruption some sixty million years ago, one of a series that brought about the opening of the North Atlantic. The eruption spewed up vast amounts of liquid basalt lava, which cooled to form the columns. They are up to thirteen meters tall and are mainly hexagonal, although some have four, five, seven, or eight sides. The Giant’s Causeway is a tightly packed cluster of some 40,000 columns of basalt (a black volcanic rock). It’s located at the foot of a sea cliff that rises ninety meters on the northern coast of Northern Ireland. Although legend says the formation was created by a giant named Finn McCool, it in fact resulted from the volcanic eruption some sixty million years ago, one of a series that brought about the opening of the North Atlantic. The eruption spewed up vast amounts of liquid basalt lava, which cooled to form the columns. They are up to thirteen meters tall and are mainly hexagonal, although some have four, five, seven, or eight sides.

The Giant’s Causeway is a tightly packed cluster of some 40,000 columns of basalt (a black volcanic rock). It’s located at the foot of a sea cliff that rises ninety meters on the northern coast of Northern Ireland. Although legend says the formation was created by a giant named Finn McCool, it in fact resulted from the volcanic eruption some sixty million years ago, one of a series that brought about the opening of the North Atlantic. The eruption spewed up vast amounts of liquid basalt lava, which cooled to form the columns. They are up to thirteen meters tall and are mainly hexagonal, although some have four, five, seven, or eight sides.

(Source: tourismontheedge.com)

7th May 2012
A giant spider crab is illuminated by the lights of a submersible. Protected from some predators by its hard exoskeleton, the creature—which can grow to ten feet (three meters) wide—can also blend in with the ocean floor. Under deeper cover, it can disappear beneath the sponges and other marine life it uses to adorn its shell.
Photograph by Emory Kristof

A giant spider crab is illuminated by the lights of a submersible. Protected from some predators by its hard exoskeleton, the creature—which can grow to ten feet (three meters) wide—can also blend in with the ocean floor. Under deeper cover, it can disappear beneath the sponges and other marine life it uses to adorn its shell.

Photograph by Emory Kristof

6th May 2012
The world’s largest creatures reside in the ocean, and its depths are home to unusual species whose surprising proportions are unknown on land.
Here, an underwater view captures the billowing tentacles of a lion’s mane jellyfish. The most potent species of jellyfish, the lion’s mane can reach a diameter of 6.6 feet (2 meters) with tentacles topping 49 feet (15 meters).
Photograph by Paul Nicklen, National Geographic

The world’s largest creatures reside in the ocean, and its depths are home to unusual species whose surprising proportions are unknown on land.

Here, an underwater view captures the billowing tentacles of a lion’s mane jellyfish. The most potent species of jellyfish, the lion’s mane can reach a diameter of 6.6 feet (2 meters) with tentacles topping 49 feet (15 meters).

Photograph by Paul Nicklen, National Geographic

26th April 2012
The Japanese Giant Salamander is one big amphibian. They can reach a length of almost five feet and weigh up to 65lbs. Eating isn’t a priority to these creatures because of their slow metabolisms, so they can go for weeks without nourishment if they need to, but when they do eat, it’s a sight to see. They catch fish, smaller salamanders, worms, insects, crayfish and snails with a rapid sideways snap of the mouth.
(source)

The Japanese Giant Salamander is one big amphibian. They can reach a length of almost five feet and weigh up to 65lbs. Eating isn’t a priority to these creatures because of their slow metabolisms, so they can go for weeks without nourishment if they need to, but when they do eat, it’s a sight to see. They catch fish, smaller salamanders, worms, insects, crayfish and snails with a rapid sideways snap of the mouth.

(source)

25th April 2012
The alligator gar (Atractosteus spatula) roams the rivers, streams and bayous of the southeastern United States. It gets its name from its alligator-like snout and its double row of dagger sharp teeth. Unlike most of its close relatives, the alligator gar can breathe air and survive above water for up to two hours. They can reach a length of about 10ft long.
(source)

The alligator gar (Atractosteus spatula) roams the rivers, streams and bayous of the southeastern United States. It gets its name from its alligator-like snout and its double row of dagger sharp teeth. Unlike most of its close relatives, the alligator gar can breathe air and survive above water for up to two hours. They can reach a length of about 10ft long.

(source)

14th March 2012
Giant Hatchetfish (Argyropelecus gigas)
At less than 5 inches (11 centimeters) long, the giant hatchetfish isn’t the behemoth its name suggests, but it does have some big league abilities. The deep-sea dweller boasts a row of light-producing organs lined up along its belly, the “blade” on its hatchet body. These bioluminescent organs shine like daylight from above the ocean surface, creating counterillumination to confuse predators that strike dark silhouettes from below. Hatchetfish swim in temperate and tropical seas all over the world.
Photo and info from National Geographic

Giant Hatchetfish (Argyropelecus gigas)

At less than 5 inches (11 centimeters) long, the giant hatchetfish isn’t the behemoth its name suggests, but it does have some big league abilities. The deep-sea dweller boasts a row of light-producing organs lined up along its belly, the “blade” on its hatchet body. These bioluminescent organs shine like daylight from above the ocean surface, creating counterillumination to confuse predators that strike dark silhouettes from below. Hatchetfish swim in temperate and tropical seas all over the world.

Photo and info from National Geographic


I am Ashley, an incredibly introverted 21-year-old environmental enthusiast.
I'm studying to be a marine biologist, but I live near the Great Lakes rather than the ocean.
I have a fierce love for all living things, a very broad sense of humor, and I'm probably too passionate for my own good.
Herein you'll find animals (especially creepy-crawlies), nature, science, art, some of my own photography, and probably more things about my personal life than you would care to know.
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