Nature on the Earth has mind boggling diversity. Evolution has enabled species to diversify themselves and morph into altogether different species which are better equipped to adapt themselves to changing scenarios of weather and other variables like food availability and predator defence. Living beings are morphed into some of the strange shapes and sizes. Centipedes are the prime example.
Everyone must have seen Centipedes. Those crawling fear inspiring creatures. Although there are so many species of them, but all are called centipedes. How the name came about? Centipede means the one with 100 feet. But this is not true. The number of legs depend upon the segments present in the body of the centipede.
Centipedes have many species which have different sizes and number of legs. A full adult centipede can have 15 to 177 pairs of legs. This means the number of feet varies from 30 to 354. Typically a centipede has two legs per segment.
For example, Lithobiomorpha and Scutigeromorpha species have 15 pairs of legs. Scutigera have long, multi-articulate, hairy legs. It helps them to establish a solid grip on the ground and move very quickly but they are incapable of pushing themselves through soil or into detritus. The colorful Scolopendromorphs have from 21 to 23 pairs of legs.
The two legs in the first segment behind the head has been morphed into venomous fangs for hunting the prey. Legs of Centipedes become progressively larger as one moves from head to tail. This is evolutionary modified to provide better balance while moving. The tail legs are modified into sensory antennae to help the centipede move back when it encounters a dead end.
Speed thrills human beings. But for animals it is the necessity. It makes some of them ace hunters and for others speed is a means of escaping the danger. So in their case it’s a means of survival. Men try to emulate the fastest speeds as in car racing which for sport and thrill.
In this post we will discuss about three species and about their speeds.
Tiger beetles are known for their running speed md aggressive behaviour. It consists of many subspecies. Among them Rivacindela hudsoni species are special. They can run at speeds of 9 km per hour. This is equal to about 125 body lengths per second.
It’s scientific name is Falco peregrinus. It is also called duck hawk perhaps due to its hunting of the ducks prominently. Except for Antarctica, it is found in almost all places around the world. It is an ace hunter. It soars high above the flocks of birds and after zeroing in on a particular bird it dives at speeds which can reach about 300 km per hour. It makes it not the fastest bird but also the fastest animal on the earth.
Cheetah is famous for being the fastest animal on the earth. It’s strong legs, lean body, enlarged heart and nostrils, strong paws which are partially intractable make it ideal for this job. Its average speed is about 64 km per hour. But can attain speeds upto 98 km per hour and that too in very small span of just 3 seconds from 60 km per hour average. But it can’t sustain the top speeds for long. They can run about just 450 meters at top speeds. It covers this distance in just 13 second making for the prey hard to escape.
Past few days, a great proliferation in the numbers and variety of ants could be seen here. Small ants, black and brown ants. They have made holes in the walls, throwing away their residue of black hue out of the walls.
Thousands of them can be seen moving to and fro. They are everywhere: on the walls, clothes, bedsheets. Once an ant went inside my eye. If the lid of any container is even slightly loose, the ants waste no time for going inside. They seem to be on some suicide mission.
They drown in the milk, they move gas stoves and get killed or burned. The menace has become too much to handle.
They are moving in twin directions on a designated path marked by them. The ants moving is opposite directions seem momentarily to kiss each other as if conveying some secret about the food. After this they continue their journey.
Even on the road you can see the trodden path patterns made by the ants army while crossing the road from one side to another. The sheer number of these ants is so high that their path resembles a thick rope spread across the road.
They can be seen walking everywhere: kitchen, beds, on human bodies, walls, bathrooms. If you are too sensitive type, you shall become frustrated.
The white Pomeranian which was abandoned by its owner and left to fend for itself in the harsh world has once again found an owner. I saw him bathing and combing the dog. The dog also seems to have taken a fancy for the new owner.
During the interweening period, it has somehow adjusted with the pariah dogs. This dog is very handsome. In the beginning, street dogs bullied it and there were fierce fights in which it was badly bruised. But slowly the street dogs came to terms with it and it was accepted into their fold.
It used to sleep with other dogs under cars and huts shades. It sometimes chose the bitches also and tried mating them but it was fiercely spurned and bitches showed the white fangs .
Since it was a pet from its childhood, it has not faced the kind of hardships faced by the street dogs and has been more fortunate but in the bargain, it did not learn the art of fights and competition for the food: a trait very much desired to survive as the father of evolution Sir Charles Darwin told us many years ago.
As now it is again under protection, it is safe. But it sometimes runs towards its street friends when it sees them but soon returns to its new found haven.
There is a forest near my home. We see lots of peacocks roaming in it forest during monsoon season. One can find many of these dancing. Peacocks display their best by dancing to attract the females. Please enjoy the video I made.
Hanumant or Hanuman is considered as the rare combination of wisdom and strength. He was loyal to the core to his Lord Rama and played a stellar role in Rama’s war against the demon Ravana who had abducted Rama’s wife Sita.
In fact, many demons belonging to Ravana harassed the ascetics living in the jungles and Rama destroyed them. This enraged Ravana who to take the revenge abducted Sita coming in the guise of a ascetic coming to beg alms.
While Rama and and his younger brother Lakhsman were roaming from one place to another in the jungles in search of Sita, they chanced upon Hanuman who from then on put him at their disposal.
He did many Herculean tasks like lifting the entire mountain and flying on the straits going to Lanka to locate Sita and reassure her. His heart was completely immersed in the devotion towards Rama.
It is said that his army consisted of monkeys. He himself is shown as half monkey and half man. This seems to be an incredulous idea. But I don’t know why Monkeys are called his Sena. These creatures have a very destructive mind.
They snatch eatables from inattentive people, root out the plants and many a times attack the people. Here in our colony we are wary of them as hundreds of them swoop on the colony every morning and make the life of residents a nightmare.
Children are terrified and you have to be very careful about them when bringing milk and eatables. They leap into balconies and if doors are open get inside the homes, eat the fruits and other eatables like groundnuts. More than eating the things, they pull out the plants which have been tended so long for growing and blossoming.
In Kerala, however, monkeys have been trained to pluck the coconut fruits from the coconut palm which is a difficult work for human. Similarly, there are entertainers in India especially in rural areas which use monkeys in the roles of man and woman.
They can’t be his clan because He is a benign God who is a rescuer and harbinger of good luck.
There have been so many attempts to understand the human behavior, yet it refuses to come into the grasp or to follow some universal formula. Wise men started to understand it with animals (we being one of them) and the father of Evolution , Charles Darwin, came up with the formula “The species always compete for the resources and those who the fittest among them survive and ready themselves for another competition”. He called it survival of the fittest. It is the nature’s way of weeding out the weaker among the species. This is the way all living beings have evolved over millions of years. Humans are endowed with most complex brains and sit at the top echelon of the evolution ladder. Charles Darwin assumed that improvement or the evolution is gradual process taking place continuously over millions of years.
There are flaws in this line of approach to explain the observations. Some scientists, most notably Stephan Jay Gould, have come to conclusion that evolution had not taken place at a continual regular pace but in the bursts of intense activity followed by hiatuses of considerably long periods.
Then there were people like Peter Alekseevich Kropotkin, the Russian prince who renounced his aristocracy and settled in England in a fishing village, who held the diagrammatically opposite view. He argued that human beings tend to live in cooperation and help each other. Not only human beings, he observed so many animals living in groups in the Siberian forests where the food is scarce due to extreme cold. He said that human beings are good at heart.
According to the latest theory the human behavior towards each other is guided by self aggrandization. It says that behind every human action there is a selfish motive which may be tangible or intangible. It is argued that why a person tries to save a child from fire or a person from drowning even if a stranger, is that if he or she does not do it, afterwards his or her conscience will torment and the person will get tension. So to avoid the mental stress, one tries to help the others. May sound funny. I think I am not able to put the argument across properly.
Giant pandas are found only in China. 99% of their diet consists of bamboo shoots. China doesn’t sell or gift giant Pandas but loans them to desiring Zoos all over the world. All giant pandas in the world, barring two ageing animals in a Mexico zoo, are the property of the Chinese government.
China loans them to friendly countries as “ambassadors” at very high rates, and on very strict terms. Each year, it gets millions of dollars from its loaned pandas. Renting a giant panda costs 1 million $ per year. When cubs are born outside the country, it charges a royalty on them. It charges roughly $400,000 per live birth in custody. Cubs born in foreign zoos have to be returned just after 2 year. What’s more, the loaned pandas and the cubs born abroad have to be returned to China at the end of the contract period. The length of a panda loan is 10 years after which all animals have to be returned. Feeding the giant pandas bamboo shoots can cost a whopping $500,000 to western countries every year. Since 1941, China has loaned 64 giant pandas to other countries.
Rhinos or more accurately Rhinoceros are in the danger of becoming extinct. They are hunted for their horns due to their supposed healing and aphrodisiac properties. The horns were sold as trophies and also used in Chinese medicine. Handles of ornamental daggers called Jambiyas are made from the horns.
There are 5 species of Rhinos
Black Rhinos: 5055 left
Sumatran Rhinos: 100 left
Javan Rhinos: 35-44 left
Northern White Rhinos: 2 both females
Southern White Rhinos
Major areas where the Rhinos are found are South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Kenya
These animals are herbivores. They are often accompanied by oxpeckers who sit on the Rhinos back and eat the harmful bugs hanging on the skin of rhino.