Monday, January 18, 2010

KLCC Aquaria Part 2 - Tarantulas, Butterflies & Eels

With over 250 species of aquatic and land animals, there’s much to enjoy at the KLCC Aquaria, although the highlight is still the underground tunnel. In this post, we focus on the “bugs” – the creepy crawlies – the tarantulas, to be exact, as well as those colorful butterflies. We also bunched up the other aquatic creatures here. We were amazed with the intricate web formations from the different varieties of spiders and the tarantulas. This exhibit highlights the fact that these web-slingers are effective predators, and that the “hairs” surrounding their legs and body function as sensors that help them escape danger or catch "food".

For basic information: fees, schedule, websites, please refer to the previous post. -

Tarantula 101

1. All tarantulas can produce silk. These webs are supposedly stronger than steel.

2. Their main diet consists of insects and other arthropods, employing "ambush" tactics to capture their prey.

3. They are invertebrates, and they rely on their exoskeleton for muscular support.

4. Most tarantulas are not strongly venomous to humans but their bite can be fatal to those with allergic reactions.

5. The myth that says "spiders are deadly" has to be debunked. The only health hazard posed by keeping pet tarantulas comes from the irritating hairs of the abdomen, which can cause skin rashes or inflammation of eyes and nasal passages. Hypersensitivity is a different matter altogether.

6. People once believed the bite of this big, hairy spider could be cured only by dancing the tarantella.

7. Arachnophobia is the term used to describe the fear of spiders.

Fun Facts about Butterflies

1. The wings of butterflies and moths are actually transparent. The colors that we see are the iridescent scales that overlap.

2. Butterflies taste with their legs. Their taste sensors - "buds" - work while butterflies stand on things.

3. Butterflies don't have mouths that they can use to bite or chew.

4. Butterflies don't spin a cocoon. Moths do.

5. Butterflies can see red, green and yellow.

6. Butterflies cannot fly if their body temperature is less than 86 degrees.

7. Antarctica is the only continent on which no Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) have been found.

8. There are about 24,000 species of butterflies. The moths are even more numerous: about 140,000 species of them were counted all over the world.

9. There are more types of insects in one tropical rain forest tree than there are in the entire state of Vermont.

10. People eat insects – called "Entomophagy" (people eating bugs) – it has been practiced for centuries throughout Africa, Australia, Asia, the Middle East, and North, Central and South America. Why? Because many bugs are both protein-rich and good sources of vitamins, minerals and fats.

11. Many insects can carry 50 times their own body weight. This would be like an adult person lifting two heavy cars full of people.

12. Representations of butterflies are seen in Egyptian frescoes at Thebes, which are 3,500 years old.


Horseshoe Crabs 101

  • Despite their size and intimidating appearance, horseshoe crabs are not dangerous.
  • A horseshoe crab's tail, while menacing, is not a weapon. Instead, the tail is used to plow the crab through the sand and muck, to act as a rudder, and to right the crab when it accidentally tips over.
  • The horseshoe crab's central mouth is surrounded by its legs and while harmless, it is advisable to handle a horseshoe crab with care since you could pinch your fingers between the two parts of its shell while holding it.
  • Horseshoe crabs have 2 compound eyes on the top of their shells with a range of about 3 feet. The eyes are used for locating mates.
  • Horseshoe crabs can swim upside down in the open ocean using their dozen legs (most with claws) and a flap hiding nearly 200 flattened gills to propel themselves.
  • Horseshoe crabs feed mostly at night and burrow for worms and mollusks. They will, however, feed at any time.
  • Horseshoe crabs grow by molting and emerge 25 percent larger with each molt. After 16 molts (usually between 9 and 12 years) they will be fully grown adults.
  • Horseshoe crab eggs are important food for migratory shore birds that pass over the Delaware Bay during the spring mating season. Fish also eat the juveniles or recent molts.
  • In the 1900s, horseshoe crabs were dried for use as fertilizer and poultry food supplements before the advent of artificial fertilizers.
  • The medical profession uses an extract from the horseshoe crab's blue, copper-based blood called lysate to test the purity of medicines. Certain properties of the shell have also been used to speed blood clotting and to make absorbable sutures.

Electric Eel 101

1. The electric eel, or Electrophorus electricus, is a freshwater fish, not a true eel.

2. They are called eel for their elongated body.

3. Their body length reaches up to 9 feet.

4. Their weight reaches up to 60 pounds.

5. Their Coloring is brownish with orange underside, spotty yellow on young.

6. The electric eel is different from other electric fish in its ability to generate a stunning or even a killing electrical discharge. The electric eel can produce up to 600V in a single dischange -- this is 5 times the shock you would get from sticking your finger into an electrical socket.

7. The electricity from an electric eel could be used to turn at least one light bulb on.

8. Male electric eels live about 10-15 years.

9. Female electric eels live about 12-22 years.

10. .After delivering a strong shock, the electric eel must then allow the electric organ to recharge. Batteries have to be recharged using an external source of energy; in the electric eel the energy to recharge the electric organ comes from the fish's metabolism.

11. Electric eels are air-breathing fish that use vascular folds in the lining of the mouth for absorbing oxygen. Air is taken in through the mouth and out through the gill slits.

12. They are found in the Amazon River Basin in South America, preferring marshy or stagnant areas where other fishes find it difficult to live due to the low dissolved oxygen levels. The electric eel should not be confused with eels found elsewhere.

13. When the eel is at rest, there is no generation of electrical impulses.

14. Electric eels kill or stun their prey with electric shocks. Electric eels do not have teeth, enabling them to swallow their prey easier.


This is the Eye in the Sky!

1 comment:

Trotter said...

Hi Eye! Amazing post! Always learning when coming here!!

Thanks for your comment at my new blog Blogtrotter Two, now at the Art Deco District in South Beach! Hope to read you there often! Have a great week ahead!!!