The struggle to survive isn't always a fair fight. Here's what separates nature's winners from its losers.
The hoodie’s slender bill has hundreds of sharp, toothy edges that lock onto its slippery prey until it glugs them down. Extreme Eyeballs This diving duck tweaks the shape of its eyeballs to see better underwater. Then an extra see-through eyelid, called a nictitating membrane, slides into place like instant swimming goggles.
A hooded merganser dives in fast with wings tucked back. Powerful legs, way back on its body, make this duck an expert underwater chowhound. It can stay submerged for two minutes on one gulp of air.
Minnows travel in groups, called schools. Thousands of eyeballs are always on the lookout for trouble. Once a predator is spotted, they split in all directions in a flash of slippery silver.
A row of nerve cells, called a lateral line, runs along each side of a minnow from head to tail. The line detects movement, giving minnows a split-second jump on anything that might go munch.
Our plucky duck did his best, but teeming minnows schooled him. For now, our hungry duck diver is on to its next targets: tadpoles and crayfish. 4 i xplor
Nichole LeClair Terrill