December 22, 2009

Happy Holidays Animal Nerd Fest! Death Metal Edition.

We thought it best to spread holiday cheer by sharing this video of the Blood-Squirting Regal Horned Lizard.
Thank the gods this guy is not endangered! If he was I would find a way squirt blood out of my eyes at everyone responsible. Even if it required a prosthetic eye-blood-squirter implant.

However in California, Texas, and other states, horned lizards are considered threatened and given state protection. The Texas horned lizard has declined in about 30% of its range, though there is some indication it may be making a comeback.  Development and habitat destruction are thought to be responsible for the population decline. As well as the spread of non-native South American ants which compete and war with the harvester ant, the horned lizard's main food source. Yes that is right: ant wars!

“When harvester ants fight, they grab onto each other with their mandibles and hold on.  Often each ant clamps the other’s petiole, the segment that attaches the abdomen to the thorax…  Sometimes one ant succeeds in breaking the other into two pieces.  Sometimes an ant dies while clamped on to another, but the mandibular muscles of a dead ant maintain their grip though the rest of the ant may break off.  …it is not unusual to see an ant walking around with just the head of its attacker still attached to its petiole.”  - Deborah Gordon in Ants At Work

The overuse of pesticides which kill harvester ants are not helping the matter. If you live in Texas, California or other areas where the horned lizard resides here are some simple things you can do to help conserve these awesome, blood-squirting lizards.

And... If you would like to totally nerd out on ants go immediately to AntWeb. Yes, AntWeb where you can find lots of ant facts along with super high res glamour shots of ants.

 Cylindromyrmex whymperi from AntWeb


Happy Holidays!

2 comments:

  1. Wow, you made me like the holiday season again! It's an Xmas miracle!

    ReplyDelete
  2. That video is both gross and awesome!

    ReplyDelete