Sunday, 28 September 2014

Andinobates Geminisae: New Fingernail Sized Poison Dart Frog from Panama

Andinobates geminisae dart frog holotype
This is the hololotype specimen that the researchers
used to describe the newly discovered
Andinobates geminisae
Credit: Cesar Jaramillo, STRI
A team of scientists from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, the Universidad Autónoma de Chiriquí in Panama, and the Universidad de los Andes in Colombia recently announced the discovery of a new bright orange poison dart frog.

The new species is so small that it can fit on a fingernail and was found in a rain forest near the Caribbean coast, Donoso, Panama.

The species was scientifically described as Andinobates geminisae after Geminis Vargas, "the beloved wife of Marcos Ponce [co-author], for her unconditional support of his studies of Panamanian herpetology."

The holotype [a single type specimen upon which the description and name of a new species is based] was collected in February 21, 2011, in the headwaters of the Rio Caño, in the district of Donoso, Colón Province, Panama, by Samuel Valdés, who was then the MWH Global Inc. environment office director, and his field assistant, Carlos de la Cruz. Additional specimens were collected between the Rio Coclé del Norte and the Rio Belen by biologists Marcos Ponce and Abel Batista, then a student at the Universidad Autónoma de Chiriquí.

"Abel Batista and Marcos Ponce were the first to note the presence of this species. They've known it was there for several years. However, they were not sure if it was only a variety of another poison dart frog species, Oophaga pumilio, which exhibits tremendous color variation. Based on morphological characteristics of the adult and the tadpole, I thought it might be a new species of Andinobates." said Cesar Jaramillo, Smithsonian herpetologist.

Andrew Crawford, professor at Universidad de Los Andes and former STRI postdoctoral fellow, sequenced the DNA of the newly found frog and confirmed that it indeed belonged to a new Andinobates species.

Because Andinobates geminisae appears to occur in a limited area, the researchers have expressed fears that habitat loss and collection for the pet trade may pose a major threat to its survival and have recommended the formulation of special conservation plans.

"Andinobates geminisae occurs in Caribbean versant rainforest on the westernmost edge of the known distribution of A. minutus, and represents the fourth species within this genus in Panama. This is vulnerable to habitat loss and excessive harvesting and requires immediate conservation plans to preserve this species with a restricted geographic range." wrote the authors.
"It is important we save some of this frog’s tiny habitat to be able to study this unusual species more." said co-author Crawford to National Geographic.

Brief Description
Adults have an electric-orange color and a length of about 12.5 mm (~0.5 in). The new species looks nothing like its closest genetic relatives found in the region, by having a uniformly orange smooth skin and a distinctive male advertisement call. Furthermore, its much smaller than the area's other poison dart frogs.

Instead, Andinobates geminisae superficially looks much more like the strawberry poison dart frog(Oophaga pumilio).
"Perhaps A. geminisae had been observed previously but was confused with Oophaga." said Crawford to National Geographic.

The two frogs may also share the same orange warning signal to predators, an evolutionary trait known as Müllerian mimicry. Müllerian mimicry is a natural phenomenon in which two or more poisonous species, that may or may not be closely related and share one or more common predators, have come to mimic each other's warning signals. But Crawford says this is just a theory.

All in all, the species is a mystery and not much is known about it, including its behavioral and reproductive patterns. The discovery of an adult with a tadpole stuck to its back gives some clues, suggesting that it cares for its young. In other poison dart frogs of the same genus, the tadpoles hatch, adults piggyback them one by one to small pools of water, where they develop into froglets. The authors suspect that A. geminisae may also carry its youngs to water trapped in tree hollows or leaves.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura
Family: Dendrobatidae
Subfamily: Dendrobatinae
Genus: Andinobates
Species: Andinobates geminisae

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- The specimens were deposited in the Museo de Vertebrados at the University of Panama, the Museo Herpetólogico de Chiriquí at the Universidad Autónoma de Chiriquí and in the Círculo Herpetólogico de Panamá.
- Genetic information about the species is available in the Barcode of Life Data System and in GenBank
Andinobates geminisae is now included in the captive breeding program of the Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation project, a consortium of six zoos and research institutions dedicated to saving amphibians from the chytrid fungal disease, which is decimating amphibians worldwide, and habitat loss.

- BATISTA, A., JARAMILLO, C., PONCE, M., & CRAWFORD, A. (2014). A new species of Andinobates (Amphibia: Anura: Dendrobatidae) from west central Panama Zootaxa, 3866 (3) DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.3866.3.2
- Owen, James. "Mysterious New Poison Dart Frog Found; Is Size of Fingernail." National Geographic. N.p., Sept.-Oct. 2014. Web.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Mirror spiders (Amazing Photos)

Thwaitesia sp (mirror spider), photo taken in singapore
Thwaitesia Sp. in Singapore
Credit: Nicky Bay
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Arachnida
Order: Araneae
Family: Theridiidae
Genus: Thwaitesia
Common Name(s): Mirror spider, sequined spider, twin-peaked Thwaitesia 

Spiders are one of the biggest and most diverse groups of arthropods. Some are small, some are big, some are harmless and some are deadly. Others are creepy and many are really beautiful.

Today's post is about a genus of spiders that is so beautiful, fascinating and unique that even arachnophobics will love it. The spiders I am talking about are commonly known as mirror spiders, and all belong to the Thwaitesia genus. Their most distinctive trait is the reflective silvery patches on their abdomen, hence the common name.

Thwaitesia spiders occur throughout the world and there are more than 20 described species at the moment. They are harmless to humans and relatively small, with adults being about 2 - 5 mm long, depending on the species and sex. Similarly to most spiders, female mirror spiders get larger than males. Mirror spiders are sometimes also reffered to as sequin, bling and jewel spiders.

There's not much info on the genus so I will leave you with some really amazing photos, I hope you enjoy them.

First, we have an awesome collection by Nicky Bayoriginally posted at his blog. All photos belong to the same specimen and were shot in Singapore:

What is very interesting with these photos is that as Bay mentions in his blog, the closer he gets to take the picture the more the silver plates expand (or maybe come close together?). In the last photo, Bay notes:

"This was the closest I got of the silver-plates at their largest. This Mirror Spider (Thwaitesia sp.) is indeed fascinating!"

Next we have some photos by Robert Whyte, originally posted at They belong to the species T. argentiopunctata and T. nigronodosa. Again, a suberb collection:

And finally, two photos taken from wikimedia commons:

Credit: "Thwaitesia Spider on White Beech leaf" by Poyt448 Peter Woodard - Own work.
Licensed under CC-by-SA 3.0
Credit: "Bling Spider - Neon Spider - Thwaitsia sp. from the NSW Central Coast (7)" by Doug Beckers from Macmasters Beach, Australia - Bling Spider - Neon Spider, Theridiidae > Thwaitesia
Licensed under CC-by-SA 2.0

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Monday, 15 September 2014

Turritopsis Dohrnii - Is It Really Immortal?

The "Immortal" Jellyfish
Credit: Peter Schuchert/The Hydrozoa Directory
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Cnidaria
Class: Hydrozoa
Order: Anthoathecata
Family: Oceaniidae
Genus: Turritopsis
Species: Turritopsis dohrnii (formerly classified as T. nutricula.)
Common Name: The immortal jellyfish

Most of the animals featured on the site are chosen based on their unusual looks. However, this not the case with Turritopsis dohrnii, which seemingly has no notable morphological characteristics.

On the outside, it looks like yet another small, bell-shaped medusa. What's so unique about it is the fact that it exhibits a certain form of immortality, reminiscent of the life of Benjamin Button. T. dohrnii is able to cheat death at the very last minute, instead of dying it simply goes back in time and renews itself to become young again! Theoretically, some say this can go on indefinitely, effectively rendering the species biologically immortal. But how is this achieved and is the species truly immortal? Maybe "immortality" is just a poor choice of words?

The (theoretically) Never Ending Lifecycle of Turritopsis dohrnii
Like most other hydrozoans, a T. dohrnii individual begins its life as a tiny, free-swimming larvae called planula. A planula is a flattened, ciliated and bilaterally symmetric larvae that forms from fertilized eggs. In the case of the immortal jellyfish, the planula then settles down and gives rise to a colony of polyps that are attached to the seafloor.

Image showing a T. dohrnii polyp
T. dohrnii Polyp
Credit: Maria Pia Miglietta

These polyps then give rise to new T. dohrnii individuals by the method of budding. Budding is a form of asexual reproduction in which a new organism develops from the outgrowths of the polyp. All the jellyfish arising from the planula are genetically identical clones and eventually become sexually mature jellyfish that can reproduce sexually and lay new eggs.

Now, this is where things get interesting. If a T. dohrnii jellyfish is exposed to environmental stress, physical assault, sickness or simply gets too old, it has the capacity to revert back to the polyp stage, forming a new polyp. The polyp can then give rise to new medusas!

All stages of the medusa, from newly budded to fully matured individuals can revert back to the polyp form. During the transformation, the jellyfish first becomes a ball of tissue, the cells de-differentiate and then re-differentiate, and finally transforms into a hydroid, the previous stage of development.

Confused? Hopefully this will help:

The lifecycle of Turritopsis Dohrnii

Theoretically, this process can go on forever, and this is why some say T. Dohrni individuals effectively rendered biologically immortal. Research in laboratory conditions has revealed that 100% of specimens can revert to the polyp stage. However, out in the wild, life is not that easy and most individuals succumb to predation, disease and other life-threatening hazards, well-before they have the time to revert back to the polyp stage.

Today, Turritopsis dohrnii is the only known species in the animalia kingdom capable of reverting completely to a sexually immature, colonial stage, after having reached sexual maturity as a solitary stage.

A different opinion
The truth is that not all researchers agree on the theoretical immortality of T. dohrnii. For instance, Rebecca Helm has made a well-rounded post over DeepSeaNews, suggesting (based on other jellyfish species that reproduce in a similar manner) that over the course of time, mutations and other genetic junk may build up in T. dohrnii clonal populations. Eventually these population get “tired.” and produce clones that are more fragile, possibly becoming unable to revert to the polyp stage at some point. She concludes that:

 "While the “immortal” jellyfish Turritopsis dohrnii may be able to turn back its life cycle, it may not escape the inevitable slowing down that comes with age. In other words, while reversing your fate and escaping death for a short while may be a neat trick, it doesn’t guarantee immortality." Source

Is "immortality" a poor choice of words?
First, I want to clarify that I am no expert in marine life, Cnidaria, jellyfish etc. Although related to biology, my field of expertise lies miles way. Having said that, I think that "immortal" [as many describe the species] is a really unfit word to describe T. dohrnii.  From what I perceive, a human version of T. dohrnii would be something like this. Just before dying, a human/T. dohrnii hybrid [let's call him "X"] would first revert to a polyp-like zygote. Then, this initial zygote would divide into further zygotes like in the case of identical twins, and then these zygotes would grow into new human babies, each with the same genetic material of X. Eventually, these babies would grow into adults and look exactly like X, excluding of course any acquired characteristics like scars.

I can hardly consider this as biological immortality. Natural cloning would probably be a better word I think. Less catchy, more precise. But again, this is just the opinion of a non-expert. Don't take it for granted.

Now let's see what Ferdinando Boero has to say on the matter. Boero is one of the authors of a 1996 paper [2] that examined the life cycle of the Turritopsis dohrnii, which back then was identified as Turritopsis nutricula. The excerpt you are about to read was initially posted here as a comment:

"We did not speak about immortality, in the paper. We spoke about ontogeny reversal. Ontogeny is the series of steps that start with a zygote and arrive to the mature adult. Usually adults reproduce and then, sooner or later, they die. The hdyrozoans, with which Paul Raeburn is not very familiar with, start their life as a planula larva that settles on the bottom and gives rise to a hydroid colony. The colony buds off tiny jellyfish that, in zoological jargon, are also called medusae. The medusae are either male or female, they reproduce and then die. Reproduction gives rise to a planula that then becomes another hydroid colony, and the cycle starts again. T. dohrnii medusae, if subjected to sublethal stress, become a ball of tissue, their cells de-differentiate and then re-differentiate, and they transform into a hydroid. The previous stage of development. As I say in the article, it is as if a butterfly (the jellyfish) can re-organize its cells and go back to a caterpillar stage (the hydroid). So, ontogeny is reversed. This can be produced in the laboratory all the times you want." 

Brief Description
The medusa form Turritopsis dohrnii is bell-shaped and very small, with a maximum diameter of about 4.5 mm (0.18 in) and is about as tall as it is wide. Adults are about as wide as a human pinky nail.

The jelly in the walls of the bell is uniformly thin, except for some thickening at the apex. The relatively large stomach is bright red and has a cruciform shape in cross section. Young individuals are 1 mm in diameter and have only eight tentacles evenly spaced whereas adult specimens have 80-90 tentacles.

Turritopsis dohrnii amazing photo

Turritopsis Nutricula Vs Turritopsis Dohrnii
Several different species of the genus Turritopsis were previously believed to be the same species and thus were all classified as T. nutricula, including the "immortal jellyfish" which is now classified as T. dohrnii. T. nutricula is endemic to the Atlantic whereas Turritopsis Dohrnii occurs in the Mediterranean sea.

Other Interesting Facts
- The Turritopsis dohrnii's cell development method of transdifferentiation has inspired researchers to find a way to make stem cells using this process for renewing damaged or dead tissue in humans.

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References & Further Reading
- WoRMS (2012). "Turritopsis dorhnii (Weissmann, 1883)". In P. Schuchert. World Hydrozoa database. World Register of Marine Species. Retrieved November 29, 2012.
- Stefano Piraino, Ferdinando Boero, Brigitte Aeschbach and Volker Schmid (1996). Reversing the Life Cycle: Medusae Transforming into Polyps and Cell Transdifferentiation in Turritopsis nutricula (Cnidaria, Hydrozoa). Biological Bulletin , Vol. 190, No. 3 (Jun., 1996), pp. 302-312
- S Kubota (2011). "Repeating rejuvenation in Turritopsis, an immortal hydrozoan (Cnidaria, Hydrozoa)". Biogeography 13: 101–103. ISSN 1345-0662
- Martínez DE (1998). Mortality patterns suggest lack of senescence in hydra. Experimental gerontology, 33 (3), 217-25 PMID: 9615920
-  Bavestrello, Giorgio; Christian Sommer and Michele Sarà (1992). "Bi-directional conversion in Turritopsis nutricula (Hydrozoa)". Scientia Marina 56 (2–3): 137–140.
- Ker Than (January 29, 2009). ""Immortal" Jellyfish Swarm World's Oceans". National Geographic News.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Russians save cat stuck in car springs (Video)

The cat that was trapped in the car spring, after rescue
Every cat-owner knows that our furry friends tend to get trapped in all kinds of obscure places, but very few have probably survived a ride like the one you are about to read.

About four months ago, Vitaliy Bouranin left with his Toyota Land Cruiser for a business trip somewhere in Russia. After about 50 miles, running at speeds of over 120 km/hour, he made a stop to get a refill. 

Until then, he had noticed nothing strange with his car. But this is when things started to get weird. As he was filling the car up, he heard a noise coming somewhere from the car. He checked under the car, nothing. He checked under the hood, again nothing.  

Then, he saw that a furry creature was inside one of the jeep's suspension springs. On closer inspection he saw that it was a cat that not only had managed to crawl up inside the spring but apparently had survived the whole trip unharmed!

Cat trapped unharmed in car spring

Bouranin first asked an attendant for help, but they couldn't get the cat out. The gas station staff then called the police and fire service, who decided that the only viable option was to dismantle the suspension and remove the spring.

The whole ordeal lasted more than three hours. Surprisingly, the cat remained perfectly calm and relaxed during the whole time, despite having lost at least one out of its nine lives! After being released, the cat was put into a box and taken back to the large Russian island in the North Pacific Ocean in southeast Russia, where the journey had begun.

You can see the last minutes of the rescue operation on the video down-below, which was shot by a passerby. Make sure to watch the last thirty seconds (7:30 and after) for a really heartwarming moment:

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Indian Purple Frog (Pignosed Frog)

Indian Purple Frog (Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis)
Indian Purple Frog
Credit: Karthickbala at ta.wikipedia (CC-BY-SA-3.0)
via Wikimedia Commons
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura
Family: Sooglossidae
Genus: Nasikabatrachus
Species: Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis
Conservation Status: Endagered
Common name(s):  Indian purple frog, Pignosed frog, Indian purple frog

Meet the Indian puple frog, an endangered and odd-looking species of frog from the mountains of India’s Western Ghats.

The species was formally described only in 2003, although there was a lot of anecdotal evidence surrounding its existence. Other than its weird spherical looks, the pignosed frog also has a very unique and unusual burrowing lifestyle which is covered down below.

Distribution & Habitat
Initially believed to be restricted to the south of the Palghat Gap in the Western Ghats, additional research has revealed that the species distribution extends further north of the gap. Today, the pig-nosed frog is known to be distributed in the Western Ghats, ranging from the Camel's Hump Hill Range in the north, all the way to the northernmost portions of the Agasthyamalai Hill Range in the south.

MapP showing the distribution of the purple frog (Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis)
Purple frog distribution map
(click to enlarge)

Adults have a plump, round body with a pointed, pig-like snout. The head is conical and very small compared to the rest of the body. The eyes are small and rounded, with a horizontal pupil. The skin is smooth and has a dark purple coloration that fades into grey along the stomach.

Adults are about 7 cm (~2.7 in.) long, with males being about one third the size of females.

The fore and hindlimbs are short but strong, allowing it to dig as far as 3.7 m (12 ft) below ground. The limbs end in partially webbed feet with rounded toes. Εach hind foot possesses a large, white wart-like growth, probably used for digging purposes.

The purple frog has a skeletal structure that is characteristic of most burrowing frogs, with a strongly ossified skull and well-calcified bones.

Dorsolateral and frontal view of a male purple frog
Dorsolateral (left) and frontal (right) views of a calling male that was removed from under
the soil at the entrance of the tunnel from which it had been calling. The male was induced
to call above ground after brief exposure to a female.
Credit: Ashish Thomas [2]

Behavior & Reproduction
Pignosed frogs spend most of the year underground, coming out in the surface only for about two weeks each year, to reproduce. This is why the species had gone unnoticed for so long by biologists, until 2003 when it was officially described.

Mating occurs during the pre-monsoon rains, primarily in May. Males use strange calls to attract females, from burrows beside headwater streams. Once approached by females, they mount them in the amplexus position. While in amplexus in the pectoral position, the male tightly holds the vertebral column of the female. The pair then enters a crevice in a rock pool amid a flowing stream and the female lays the eggs in a clutch comprised of more than 3000 eggs. The hatchlings are tadpoles and metamorphose after about 100 days.

Male frog calling from above ground

Contrary to most other burrowing frogs that emerge and feed above the ground, the purple frog forages exclusively underground, feeding primarily on termites using the tongue and a special buccal groove. It occasionally also feeds on ants and small worms. It is presumed to use its smell to forage due to the lack of light and its poor vision.

N. sahyadrensis has a narrow mouth with a small gape that prevents it from catching and consuming larger prey items.

Conservation Status
This strange animal is listed by the IUCN as an endangered species, because its known distribution area covers less than 5,000 km2, with all individuals occurring in fewer than five locations. The IUCN also notes the continuing decline in the extent and quality of its habitat in the Cardamom Hills.

Their main threat is forest loss due to expanding cultivation (of coffee, cardamom, ginger and other crops). The purple frog has not been reported in any protected areas, making the protection of its known habitat an urgent priority.

Other Interesting Facts about the purple frog
- N. sahyadrensis tadpoles were first described in 1918, without specimens of adults. The species was tentatively assigned to the family Cystignathidae.
- The pignosed frog used to be considered the only extant member of an ancient amphibian family called Nasikabatrachidae. However, in 2006 the family was incorporated into the Sooglossidae
- Only 135 specimens have so far been observed or collected. Only three of them were females.

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  • Turtle Frog: A bizarre frog with a turtle-shaped body.

References & Further Reading
-  Biju SD, & Bossuyt F (2003). New frog family from India reveals an ancient biogeographical link with the Seychelles. Nature, 425 (6959), 711-4 PMID: 14562102
- Thomas A, Suyesh R, Biju SD, & Bee MA (2014). Vocal behavior of the elusive purple frog of India (Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis), a fossorial species endemic to the Western Ghats. PloS one, 9 (2) PMID: 24516517
- C. Radhakrishnan, K. C. Gopi and Muhamed Jafer Palot (2007) Extension of range of distribution of Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis Biju & Bossuyt (Amphibia: Anura: Nasikabatrachidae) along Western Ghats, with some insights into its bionomics. Current Science, 92(2):213-216
- Das, K. S. Anoop 2006 Record of Nasikabatrachus from the Northern Western Ghats. Zoos' Print Journal 21(9):2410
- Zachariah, A; RK Abraham; S. Das; KC Jayan & R Altig (2012). "A detailed account of the reproductive strategy and developmental stages of Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis (Anura: Nasikabatrachidae), the only extant member of an archaic frog lineage". Zootaxa 3510: 53–64
- Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis. In: IUCN 2006. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. . 

Monday, 8 September 2014

Weird Animal Names: Hitler's Beetle

Hitler's Beetle (Anophthalmus hitleri)
Anophthalmus hitleri
Credit: Photo by Michael Munich,
Own work.  (CC BY-SA 3.0 US) 
This is Anophthalmus hitleri, a small blind beetle named after Adolf Hitler! The species occurs exclusively in five humid caves in Slovenia.

The beetle was described by German engineer and beetle collector Oscar Scheibel (1881 - 1953), who was sold a specimen that was found in 1933, in a cave of the former Yugoslavia. [4]

Scheibel named the new species after Adolf Hitler, who had become Chancellor of Germany during the same year. The genus name (Anophthalmus) means "without eyes", so the full name translates to "the eyeless one of Hitler". Scheibel's dedication did not go unnoticed by the Führer, who personally send him a letter to show his gratitude!

Other than its unusual name, the beetle exhibits no notable characteristics, such as extravagant colors or antennae. However, it is a highly sought Nazi memorabilia, with collectors paying really good money to obtain one. In 2002, a well preserved specimen had an estimated price of almost 2000 $ (£1200) [2]. Experts have warned multiple times that the high demand from collectors encourages poaching that might eventually lead to the species extinction. Apparrently, not even museums are safe from collectors and memorabilia dealers, as the Bavarian State Collection of Zoology had almost all of its A. hitleri specimens stolen in the past. [3]

There have been several proposals after the end of the World War II to rename the beetle, however they have all been rejected by the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature*. To retain consistency in scientific sources, Latin designations of species cannot be changed once a name has been registered, unless the name had violated the established rules back when it was initially registered. Apparently, this was not the case with Anophthalmus hitleri.

Brief Description
A.hitleri adults are 5 - 5.5 mm long, eyeless and have been found in five caves of Slovenia. The body is reddish brown and covered by short, barely visible hairs. Males are glossy whereas females are slightly duller. Adults and larvae are presumed to be predators on smaller cave inhabitants, as the species is a member of the (predatory) Trechinae subfamily.

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Family: Carabidae
Subfamily: Trechinae
Genus: Anophthalmus
Species: Anophthalmus hitleri
Conservation Status: Not officially assessed, possibly threatened due to collection

* Organization dedicated to "achieving stability and sense in the scientific naming of animals".

References & Further Reading
- Oscar Scheibel: Ein neuer Anophthalmus aus Jugoslawien. Entomologische Blätter (Berlin), 33, 6, S. 438–440, 1937

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Strange Animals in London Zoo

The easiest and most inexpensive way to see some strange animals in person is to simply visit a zoo. About 2 months ago, I had the privilege to visit the London Zoo, that place is really great and has all kinds of weird creatures, including insects, mammals, birds, fish etc. There are even some fossils you can check out.

I spent 8 hours there and still hadn't saw all the exhibited animals by the time it close. Luckily, the ones I missed were what you expect from any zoo, like lions, tigers, elephants etc.  I also had a camera with me and recorded most of the animals I saw. I finished uploading all the videos a few days ago and now the time has come to share them with you.

So, let's first begin with some weird mammals: