When they hatch, they quickly infect other local anemonefishes. Parasites, by definition, don’t aspire to kill their host. After all, if the host dies, the parasite loses its home and food source. However, in the case of the tongue-eating louse, some individuals can grow to be so large that the hapless anemonefish struggles to close its mouth. Eventually, as you might imagine, this hinders the host’s ability to eat.
The Yeti crab is a recently discovered animal which lives in the South Pacific Ocean. The Yeti crab looks like it’s always wearing the bright yellow crab-mittens its grandmother gave it for Christmas one year. It’s roughly 15 cm long and its pincers contain bacteria which it can use to clean the water around its body. It usually eats green algae and small shrimp. 

When Ian Wrin and April Russ stopped by Tujague's, New Orleans' second oldest restaurant, they were shocked to discover that a ghost had been hovering behind them in one of their selfies. Poppy Tooke, radio host of Louisiana Eats, explained that the "ghost" was Julian, a famous actor of the silent film-era, who once starred alongside Rudolph Valentino in Aisle of Love. In addition to being quite the thespian, Julian, a cross-dresser whose alter ego was Vesta Tilley, had his own makeup line and his picture had been hanging on the restaurant's wall since 1917...until two years ago, when it was relegated to the attic. Not so pleased with the move, Julian has apparently been haunting the restaurant ever since.
There are 18 different species of octopus within the genus Grimpoteuthis which are commonly referred to as a “Dumbo octopuses” due to their characteristic ear-like fins that make them resemble Disney’s Dumbo. These enigmatic cephalopods are a pretty rare sight since they usually dwell in deep waters ranging from 400 meters to 4,800 meters, but the few times they have been spotted has revealed that they usually eat crustaceans and worms. They’ve also been observed around deep sea hydrothermal vents, which are areas on the sea floor where hot and mineral rich fluids spew out due to volcanic activity.
This one is not so exciting to look at, but it totally wins the bizarre animal contest. It is colloquially known as a “sea squirt.” This is a sea critter that eats its own brain. A marine invertebrate, it spends part of its life in a larval stage where it can swim around in the water much like a fish or any other mobile animal. This is a relatively brief period in the sea squirt’s life. They cannot feed in this stage, so they swim off, find a nice little bit of seabed to settle in on, and then plant themselves.
A year passed and they returned to the lagoon as a memorial, but as they approached they saw their friend standing there, head bowed. Excitedly they called to him and began running towards him, but he didn’t turn. As they got closer they called him more desperately, but still to no avail. With joy they ran towards him, but stopped dead when they saw not one but five crosses on the waterside.
The Saiga antelope can be found around Russia, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan and is easily recognized thanks to its large and flexible nose. In reality, its gigantic schnoz helps to filter out dust and regulate its blood temperature. In May 2015, more than 120,000 Saiga antelope were found dead. Scientists believe they were victims of a suspected epizootic illness that infected the herd.

There are 18 different species of octopus within the genus Grimpoteuthis which are commonly referred to as a “Dumbo octopuses” due to their characteristic ear-like fins that make them resemble Disney’s Dumbo. These enigmatic cephalopods are a pretty rare sight since they usually dwell in deep waters ranging from 400 meters to 4,800 meters, but the few times they have been spotted has revealed that they usually eat crustaceans and worms. They’ve also been observed around deep sea hydrothermal vents, which are areas on the sea floor where hot and mineral rich fluids spew out due to volcanic activity.
Photo: 25. NOAA (Public Domain), 24. By Aaron Logan, Lightmatter gerenuk, CC BY 1.0, 23. Laika ac from USA, Laika ac Deep sea creatures (7472073020), CC BY-SA 2.0, 22. Nisamanee wanmoon, ปลาเปคู (Pacu), CC BY-SA 4.0, 21. gailhampshire via flickr. CC BY 2.0, 20. charlene mcbride via flickr. CC BY 2.0, 19. Camilousuga, Umbonia spinosa (Bicho espino), CC BY-SA 4.0, 18. Rein Ketelaars, Red-lipped Bat fish, CC BY-SA 2.0, 17. Imtorn, Glaucus atlant., CC BY-SA 3.0, 16. Ash Bowie, Silkmoth, CC BY-SA 3.0, 15. Frank Vassen, Lowland Streaked Tenrec, Mantadia, Madagascar, CC BY 2.0, 14. Navinder Singh, Saiga tartarica, CC BY-SA 4.0, 13. Bree McGhee via flickr. CC BY 2.0, 12. Dianne Bray / Museum Victoria, Mistukurina owstoni museum victoria – head detail, CC BY 3.0 AU, 11. Karthickbala at ta.wikipedia, Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis, CC BY-SA 3.0, 10. Raul654, Okapi2, CC BY-SA 3.0, 9. Ba’Gamnan at en.wikipedia, Hummingbird Hawk-moth, CC BY-SA 2.5, 8. Wikipedia Commons.com (Public Domain), 7. Tobias von Anhalt, Atretochoana eiselti, CC BY-SA 3.0, 6. Keven Law from Los Angeles, USA, Jaguarondi portrait, CC BY-SA 2.0, 5. Pixabay.com (Public Domain), 4. Bäras, Thornydevil, CC BY-SA 3.0, 3. Nhobgood, Parrotfish turquoisse, CC BY-SA 3.0, 2. Wikipedia Commons.com (Public Domain), 1. Original: cliff1066™, Pink Fairy Armadillo (Chlamyphorus truncatus) (cropped), CC BY 3.0
Ok, so everyone's seen the amazing film Madagascar, which includes these animals. But we feel they were a bit misrepresented. While it might look like a cat, fossas (Cryptoprocta ferox) are actually very closely related to the mongoose. They are indeed endemic to Madagascar, and they're the largest carnivores on the island. These enigmatic predators are solitary animals and they will pounce on anything they can sink their retractable claws into. Unfortunately they are endangered because their habitat is threatened by deforestation. 
To celebrate their first year in university, six friends went camping in the wilderness. After driving for several hours from the nearest town, they discovered a lagoon, nestled beside a cliff ideal for diving. They set up camp in the woods nearby and spent the evening swimming in the warm, clear water. As the sun sunk below the trees, one of the friends went up to the highest point on the cliff and jumped off, while the other 5 watched. Their laughter slowly subsided as they waited for him to surface. It only took half a minute for them to dive in after their friend. Struggling and sputtering among the reeds in the lagoon, they searched hopelessly for him. Finally they disentangled themselves and came up, but they never saw their friend again. Heartbroken they returned to the city and passed a strange and lonely year in which their only solace was the knowledge that they would return to the lagoon to honor the anniversary of their friend’s death. 

Which one of these bizarre creatures and critters are you meeting for the first time? Discover animal kingdom oddballs that 500px photographers have captured for you, with jaw-dropping features that range from wide cartoon-ish eyes to extremely long limbs and snouts to exaggerated body parts that look downright scary. Plus, you’ll get the story behind each of these photographers’ wild encounters. Scroll down!

Yes, you heard correctly, there is an animal called a sarcastic fringehead, and no- it's not just an English person with bangs. These crazy creatures (Neoclinus blanchardi) are found in the Pacific ocean off the coast of North America. Under normal circumstances they don't like to flash the goods, but when threatened they open their huge colorful mouths and show off some sharp teeth as a sign that you don't mess with these bad boys. 
Unlike most jellyfish, Stygiomedusa gigantea actually has no tentacles — only four “arms” that hang down like wavy curtains. This deep-sea jellyfish has arms that can reach 30 feet in length and also function as extensions of the mouth. Although they do not sting, they are believed to capture and trap plankton and small fish. Stygiomedusa gigantea has been sighted only about 100 times in the past 118 years.
Here’s a fun fact about the maned wolf: it is not a type of wolf, and it may look like a fox, but it’s not really a fox. It is, however, the largest of all canids or the mammals of the dog family. It is also the sole species under the genus Chrysocyon. The maned wolf is best known for its relatively long limbs and long russet-colored coat. The maned wolf wanders in the wild and is usually found in Peru, Argentina, and Brazil among others. 

“The leaf-tailed geckos are native to Madagascar and are renowned for their camouflage. This individual is just a juvenile. Many of the leaf-tailed gecko species press their bodies against wooden limbs and trunks during the daytime, and their flattened bodies, fringes, and tails eliminate any shadow, making them invisible to predators. At night, they become active and hunt primarily invertebrate prey.” – Mike Martin
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