10 quirky beautiful stories starring the natural world
Because sometimes natural science is stranger than fiction.
From wildly dancing spiders and disappearing lakes to immortal animals and giant mushrooms, here are some of Mother Nature's more impressive feats of strange and enthralling brilliance.
1. Pink animals that wow and wooIncluded in this rose gallery is the most charming salamander in all of salamander world, Axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum) pictured above, also known as the Mexican walking fish – he secretly served as muse to the whole story.
Read more: 14 pink animals that wow and woo
2. The world’s most remarkable treesRick Goldwaser/flickr/CC BY 2.0 We've got the oldest and tallest, the most sacred and more in our who's-who of arboreal heros. This was TreeHugger's most popular story of the year.
Read more: 10 of the world's most remarkable trees
3. The lake that's oddly going bye-byeYouTube/Screen capture In which Mother Nature puts on a magic hat and shows her tricky side.
4. The largest living things on the planetRyan Somma/flickr/CC BY 2.0 Included in this collection of all things HUGE, we've got a 30-foot long squid, replete with killer beak, sucker-dressed tentacles, and arms armed with razor claws. (But not to worry, these gentle giants are really just "sluggish, gelatinous drifters" at heart.) We've also got the world's heaviest bird, the tallest land mammal and the largest organism of all ... a beautiful "beast" that spreads out for almost four square miles.
5. Goats climbing in trees!Flickr/CC BY 2.0 And you thought they just climbed mountains and clung to the sides of cliffs! Oh those silly goats.
Read more: 13 photos of goats climbing in trees
6. The first 21 days of a bee’s life in 60 secondsYouTube/Video screen capture See this miraculous glimpse of a hive of bees’ first 21 days ... from egg to squiggling larvae to bona fide buzzing bees. It's incredible.
7. The adorable science behind the sea bunnyダイブストアエグザイル/Video screen capture I'm not sure that the ocean plays home to anything cuter than the sea bunny. If Totoro had a pet, it would surely be one that looked like this sea slug!
Read more: The adorable science behind the “sea bunny”
8. Scientists discover new dancing peacock spiders: Skeletorus & Sparklemuffin
Basically, Michael Jackson meets Shakira and comes back to life as a spider species. These are the best.
9. The strangest plants on Earthyellowcloud/Flickr/CC BY 2.0 From a shrew-eating flower to a perennial that demurs upon touch, these extraordinary members of the kingdom Plantae are some of the most unique in the world. The list starts with the lithops pictured here; smart little succulents that mimic stones to avoid becoming lunch for herbivores.
Read more: 7 of the strangest plants on Earth