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Orchid mantis (Hymenopus coronatus)
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This gorgeous-looking mantis is endemic to the tropical forests of Southeast Asia. When an explorer first cataloged this insect in 1879, he thought he had happened upon a carnivorous orchid instead.
Nevertheless, it's an effective hunting method. In the wild, bugs are more attracted to orchid mantises than they are to the most common flower in their habitat.Kars Alfrink/Flickr
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Sea pigs (Scotoplanes)
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These so-called living vacuum cleaners of the sea may look cute, but sea pigs spend their lives scavenging for decaying carcasses in the depths of the ocean. Their skin is also poisonous and they eat through their anuses.Wikimedia Commons
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Screenshot from game
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The coelacanth, a 400-million-year-old species of fish, was thought to be extinct before it was rediscovered in the waters of South Africa in 1938. This prehistoric fish is considered to be the missing link between fish and tetrapods, or four-limbed critters.Hoberman Collection/UIG via Getty Images
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Rainbow stag beetle (Phalacrognathus muelleri)
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The luminously-colored rainbow stag beetle can typically be found in the Queensland region of Australia. They feed on sap and overripe fruit and their larvae develop inside rotting wood.Frupus/Flickr
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Ribbon eel (Rhinomuraena quaesita)
Screenshot from game
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Ribbon eels have a striking silhouette that resembles a string of fabric. They have a unique method of reproduction in which every eel is born male but then develops female reproductive organs as they age. Through this transition, the ribbon eel turns yellow in hue.Bernard Dupont/Flickr
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Sea butterfly (Thecosomata)
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Sea butterflies are related to snails and, in fact, many species have thin shells made of calcium carbonate that are sensitive to changes in ocean acidity. This makes them invaluable indicators of environmental changes in the ocean, which has earned them the title "Canaries of the Sea."
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Golden stag beetle (Lamprima aurata)
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This species of beetle measures between 15 and 25 mm in length and is relatively common throughout Australia. Despite its name, this beetle's coloration is actually fairly varied and so it's more commonly referred to as the Christmas beetle.Wikimedia Commons
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Alligator gar (Atractosteus spatula)
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Despite its name, the alligator gar bears no relation to alligators. It is instead among the few species of fish that swam during the time of dinosaurs over 100 million years ago.Larry Hodge/Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
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Giant water bug (Belostomatidae)
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According to the Guinness World Records, the giant water bug is the largest aquatic insect on Earth. Its ferocious bite has earned the insect the nickname "toe-biter."
But perhaps most frighteningly is how the giant water bug eats its prey: by injecting it with a toxic substance, liquefying its insides, then sucking it out. It's capable even of eating animals 50 times its size.Siddarth Machado/Flickr
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Giant isopod (Bathynomus giganteus)
Screenshot from game
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Giant isopods are deep-sea dwellers that can be found as far as 8,000 feet below the ocean’s surface. Although they look like aliens, they are actually crustaceans and related to shrimp and crabs as well as pill bugs and woodlice.NOAA
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Snakehead fish (Channidae)
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The snakehead fish is endemic to the waters off the coast of East Asia, but they have made their way to North America where they are considered an invasive species.
These serpentine-looking fish can wriggle onto dry land and survive there for up to four days. Wikimedia Commons
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Japanese spider crab (Machrocheira kaempferi)
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The Japanese spider crab is the largest crustacean in the world with a leg span up to 13 feet and an average weight of 40 pounds. It is possibly the crab with the longest lifespan, too, as they can live to be 100 years old.Takashi Hososhima/Flickr
Queen Alexandra's Birdwing was first identified in 1906 by naturalist Albert Stewart Meek during his trip to Papua New Guinea. This butterfly is so big, that Meek mistook it for a bird and tried to shoot it out of the sky.
It is also a highly valuable species on the black market due to its rarity and remarkable size and color.Wikimedia Commons
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Sunfish (Mola mola)
Screenshot from game
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The ocean sunfish or Mola mola is famous for its odd shape and massive size. A Mola mola can weigh up to 2.5 tons — as heavy as a rhinoceros and a little heavier than a car.
Some scientists believe Mola mola sunbathe in order to more efficiently digest their food.Flickr
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Oarfish (Regalecus glesne)
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Oarfish are a deep-sea fish that has no scales. They are harbingers of earthquakes and tsunamis in Japanese folklore, earning them the title of "Messenger from the Sea God’s Palace."Wikimedia Commons
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Arapaima (Arapaima gigas)
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The arapaima, or pirarucu, is a giant fish that has existed for 23 million years. Not only is it one of the oldest living species in the world, but it’s also one of the largest freshwater fish.jpellgen/Flickr
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Rosalia Batesi Beetle
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This beetle species is native to mainland Japan and has the important function of decomposing dead hardwood in the country's forests. Its unique pattern has made it one of the more easily identified species of longhorn beetles.Wikimedia Commons
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Barreleye Fish (Macropinna microstoma)
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Barreleye fish have been found at a depth as far as 2,600 feet and are believed to prey on drifting jellyfish, copepods or small crustaceans, and other types of small animals found in the deep sea.
Their name comes from their bizarre transparent head, in which they have two tubular green eyes that help them to see even in the abyss.
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Toxic tetrodotoxin in the liver, gonads, and skin of the pufferfish makes them lethal to other predators — and humans. But people will still pay hundreds of dollars a plate to try it.
For humans, the neurotoxin in a pufferfish can be up to 1,200 times more toxic than cyanide.World Animal Foundation
19 Fish And Insects That Are As Stunning In Real Life As They Are In Animal Crossing
Whether you're a gamer or not, you've likely heard about the popular video game Animal Crossing: New Horizons. The simple gameplay and cutesy graphics have certainly made the game appealing to a wide audience, but its array of weird animals is also a special draw. However, these bizarre creatures aren't the stuff of game makers — they're animals that can be found all over the world.
Players are encouraged to seek out a plethora of creatures through fishing, netting, or even diving. Then, players can catalog these critters through the game's so-called "critterpedia," where they can also learn more about them. Take a look at some of the most unusual animals in the gallery above.
Drawing Inspiration From The World's Most Unique Insects
TwitterThe Queen Alexandra's birdwing butterfly might seem like it can exist only in an imaginative game, but it's actually among the largest insects in the world.
We know our world is full of natural wonders that we cannot even begin to fathom, a point obviously not lost on the makers of Animal Crossing.
There are three different types of animals that can be found in the game: land bugs, fish, and sea animals. Insects are the most diverse organisms on the planet, with an estimated 900,000 different species. In the world of Animal Crossing, however, there are but 80 species for players to catalog.
Among the game's most interesting bugs is the orchid mantis, an elegant insect whose floral physique evolved deliberately to attract small prey. There is also the Queen Alexandra's Birdwing butterfly, which is the largest insect in the world with a wingspan of up to 11 inches.
But among the scariest of all the bugs one can find in their critterpedia is the giant water bug, otherwise known as the "toe-biter," so-named for its well-documented aggression toward humans who stray into their underwater habitats.
The giant water bug is its own variety of insect known as a "true bug," an order of insects comprising 50,000 to 80,000 different species including stink bugs, cicadas, aphids, and leafhoppers. The giant water bug is the largest "true bug" in the world and has the distinct ability to "breathe" underwater, making them mighty predators in ponds and lakes.
The Strangest Animals Of The Sea
Wikimedia CommonsThe ribbon eel has an unusual method of reproduction, making it one of the most unbelievable real animals depicted in the game.
The sea is home to some of the world's most uncanny and unusual beasts, which is perfect inspiration for such an imaginative game. Following the game's latest summer update, a wealth of bizarre sea creatures has captured the attention of both gamers and nature lovers alike.
The game now features giant isopods which — in spite of how easy it is to find them in the game — are a rare sight in nature because they inhabit the deep sea. Giant isopods have been uncovered as far as 8,500 feet below the ocean's surface where they feed on the carcasses of dead sea animals.
The game also features the ocean sunfish, otherwise known as the Mola mola, which is one of the most recognizable fish in the game as well as on the planet for its flat moon-shaped body. The ocean sunfish can weigh as much as 5,000 pounds and reach up to 14 feet long, making it one of the heaviest fish in the world — outweighed only by a few shark species and the giant oceanic manta ray.
But perhaps one of the strangest real animals featured in the game is none other than the ribbon eel. These brightly colored moray eels are easily identified by their blue-and-yellow hue and wavy bodies which make them appear like a piece of ribbon floating in the ocean.
Wikimedia CommonsCatching a Mola mola or ocean sunfish will fetch you 4,000 Bells on Animal Crossing, but in real life, these creatures are vulnerable to endangerment.
Yet, their striking appearance is not even the strangest thing about them. The ribbon eel has an unusual mode of reproduction. When they hatch from their eggs, all ribbon eels are born male.
Remarkably, they then undergo a unique biological transformation as they mature. They begin to adopt their distinct blue-and-yellow coloring and soon develop female reproductive organs, at which point, these animals turn completely yellow.
The ribbon eel's unique method of reproducing is so puzzling to scientists that they are still trying to figure out why they are the only species of moray eel that uses this biological feature.
The biodiversity depicted in this wholesome game gives us a tiny snapshot into the wonders of nature. Luckily, for those who aren't the outdoorsy type, the wonders of nature can still be enjoyed from the comforts of our couch thanks to the game.