Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sneezing Monkey et al

Sneezing Monkey
Rhinopithecus strykeri




















Carl Linnaeus, the Swedish botanist responsible for the modern system of naming and classifying plants and animals, is often called the Father of Taxonomy. In his lifetime, Linnaeus, who would be 315 years old, named some 10,000 organisms. Modern scientists believe a good estimate of the number of living species on the planet to 12 million--give or take. We have identified about 2 million, and discover only about 18,000 new species every year. At that rate is will take another 500 years to find them all.   

One of this year's discoveries was the Sneezing Monkey in northeast Myanmar . . "(It) has a nose so upturned that the animals sneeze audibly when it rains. To avoid inhaling water, the monkeys supposedly sit with their heads tucked between their knees on drizzly days."

Another of this year's discoveries was a fungus that looks like a sponge. You can't say scientists don't have a sense of humor. They named it Spongbob Square Pants Fungus.  "It belongs to the family of Boli fungi that have pores instead of gills under the caps of the mushrooms. But this one looks very much like a sponge, both macroscopically and microscopically." (From an interview with Quentin Wheeler, an entomologist at Arizona State University and directs the Species Exploration Institute.)

Spongebob Squarepants Fungus
Spongiforma squarepantsii
(Photo: Thomas Bruns)
  


 
 The Bonaire Banded Box Jelly
Tamoya ohboya.
(Photo: Ned Deloach)

Then there is this gorgeous box jelly which is unfortunately as toxic and venomous as it is beautiful. Apparently they found out the hard way and gave it the name Tamoya ohboya. O Boy Ya!

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