Strange but True

By | March 1, 2015
From Xplor: March/April 2015
  • Bats are the only mammals that can truly fly. But to stay up, bats must stay slimmed down. An Indiana bat, for example, has a wingspan of nearly a foot, but the furry bug muncher weighs less than two nickels.
  • Mayflies spend most of their lives underwater. When they turn into adults, they float to the surface, sprout wings, and fly away. But adult mayflies don’t have working mouthparts. Because they can’t eat or drink, they usually die within 24 hours.
  • Female map turtles are larger than males and have wider, stronger jaws that are perfect for crushing clams, mussels, and large snails. Males, because of their weaker jaws, stick to softer foods such as crayfish, aquatic insects, and small snails.
  • Wild turkeys don’t like to swim — heck, they prefer not to fly — but when pressed, they can. The big brown birds fold up their wings, fan out their tails, stretch out their necks, and kick feverishly with their long legs.
  • Ivory gulls usually keep company with icebergs and polar bears high in the Arctic. But in January 2015, birdwatchers spotted one of these ice-loving brrrrds for the first time in Missouri, hanging out on the Mississippi River north of Hannibal.
  • When threatened, zebra swallowtail caterpillars wave a yellow, forked organ called an osmeterium (oz-muh-tearee- um). The organ is coated with a stinky liquid that ants and spiders find disgusting.
  • Black-throated green warblers get chatty during mating season. Males pick an easily seen perch and belt out songs — zoo-zee, zoo-zoo-zee — over and over. One particularly motor-beaked bird sang 466 songs in an hour.
  • The bigger they are, the harder they call. To make their namesake calls, male spring peepers inflate their throats and let the air squeak out. When fully inflated, the throat on this thumbsized frog can be nearly as big as the rest of its body!

And More...

This Issue's Staff

Brett Dufur
Les Fortenberry
Karen Hudson
Regina Knauer
Nichole LeClair Terrill
Noppadol Paothong
Marci Porter
Mark Raithel
Laura Scheuler
Matt Seek
David Stonner
Stephanie Thurber
Cliff White