Strange but True

By MDC | July 1, 2024
From Xplor: July/August 2024

Your guide to all the unusual, unique, and unbelievable stuff that goes on in nature.

The next time you’re having a bad day, consider the cicada. As young cicadas tunnel out of the ground, some become infected by a fungus in the soil. When the bugs shed their shells to become adults, the fungus makes their bottoms fall off.

Male bees are all buzz and no bite. Although a few species of boy bees have sharp spines on their backsides, only female bees have stingers that can inject painful venom.

No bones about it, a turtle’s shell is part of its skeleton. The backbone and extra-long ribs make up the shell’s underlying framework, and bony plates called scutes form the hard outer wall.

Dance for your life! To win a female’s heart, a male jumping spider performs an elaborate dance, waving his legs in the air and shuffling his body from side to side. If the female isn’t impressed, she might eat her date for dinner.

Each time a snake flicks out its forked tongue, odors stick to it. Sensitive organs inside the snake’s mouth detect which side of the tongue collected the stronger scent. This helps a snake pinpoint where a smell is coming from.

Pseudoscorpions (sade-oh-skor-pee-unz) are creatures with pincers like a scorpion and a body like a tick. The tiny pest-eating predators often enter houses by hitching rides on houseflies or other winged insects. Yee-hawww!

Brown thrashers may sing over 1,000 different kinds of songs, including imitations of other birds. They’ve been known to belt out ballads borrowed from tufted titmice, American robins, and whip-poor-wills.

Also In This Issue


Forget about desert islands and pirate chests filled with gold. A much sweeter treasure is ripe for the taking, right here in Missouri.

This Issue's Staff

Artist – Matt Byrde
Photographer – Noppadol Paothong
Photographer – David Stonner
Designer – Marci Porter
Art Director – Cliff White
Editor – Matt Seek
Subscriptions – Marcia Hale
Magazine Manager – Stephanie Thurber