The Panda Ant is a most unusual species of insect. Their name derives from the obvious resemblance to a panda in its markings. This remarkable insect is not even an ant. The Panda Ant is actually a variety of wingless wasp! Very little is known of this little seen insect. They have been seen to bring down animals as large as cows with only a few dozen stings.
It almost looks like it could be viral marketing for something like Diablo III or a new season of Supernatural, but the footage has been floating around for over a year now and so far no one has claimed it. One part of your brain knows this is just a computer-generated effect. But goddamn, did they do a good job -- notice how the glow from the flaming angel beast even lights up the structure on the opposite side of the frame:
These animals, known as sea pigs, are in fact a type of sea cucumber. Sea pigs are found in the deepest abyssal depths of the world’s oceans, as far as 3.7 miles under the ocean surface. They are known to eat bits of decaying plant and animal material found in deep sea mud, but are awfully fond of food that has recently fallen from the ocean’s surface, like a whale corpse!
Intrigued by the incredible—and often inexplicable—forms of life on our Earth, science writer Mara Grunbaum began showcasing her favorite examples on Tumblr. Now you can marvel at more than 100 of Evolution’s greatest hits and misses in her new book WTF, Evolution?!: A Theory of Unintelligible Design (Workman). Take a break from these strange creatures and check out the most adorable photos of the sweetest animals.
The Star Nosed Mole must have jumped straight out of a Bugs Bunny cartoon. It looks as if its head just got blown up, an effect made even more realistic by the pink tentacles stretched out on its nose. This weird creature is found in Canada and in the north-eastern part of the US. The name comes from its strange nose (which is more like a squished octopus attached to its face than a nose). The tentacles on the nose help the mole find snails, molluscs, worms, and other small creatures it likes to eat. They probably see it coming and die laughing, allowing the mole to simply walk up and gobble them up.
The Mutillidae are a family of more than 3,000 species of wasps (despite the names) whose wingless females resemble large, hairy ants. Found in Chile, they are known for their extremely painful stings, hence the common name cow killer or cow ant. Black and white specimens are sometimes known as panda ants due to their hair coloration resembling that of the Chinese giant panda. (Image credits: Chris Lukhaup)