Evolution FTW! The Weird Stuff Animals Do to Survive

Theres a fish that makes its house in the butt of a sea cucumber. Why? Due to the fact that it worked for one insane forefather, and winning techniques, nevertheless unseemly, get perpetu­ ated by natural choice. (That chooses human beings too: Our breeding routines appear typical to us, however they should be funny to our animals.) Eventually, life is quite easy: Eat, do not get consumed, and perpetuate the speciesall the rest is optional. While investigating my brand-new book, The Wasp That Brainwashed the Caterpillar (out October 25), I got knowledgeable about a wild selection of evolution-approved survival strategies. Here are a few of my favorites.

Eat

Mantis Shrimp

Problem: Crabs and sea snails are abundant and tasty however greatly armored.
Solution: This shellfish has little spring-loaded punching arms that strike with over 200 pounds of force, for a short while heating up the water to almost the temperature level of the sun. They can smash clamshells or deactivate crabs by blowing off their pincers.

Credit: Reinhard Dirscherl/Getty Images

Problem: Crabs and sea snails are abundant and tasty however greatly armored.
Solution: This shellfish has little spring-loaded punching arms that strike with over 200 pounds of force, for a short while warming the water to almost the temperature level of the sun. They can smash clamshells or deactivate crabs by blowing off their pincers.

Eat

Aye-Aye

Problem: Juicy grubs are concealing someplace under tree bark, however ways to discover them?
Solution: Madagascar has no woodpeckerswhich might discuss the aye-aye. By tapping on branches with its long, skeletal fingers, this nighttime primate can inform where the insect larvae are within. It then nibbles through the wood and fishes out the grubs with its E.T.-like middle digit.

Credit: Thorsten Negro/Getty Images

Problem: Juicy grubs are concealing someplace under tree bark, however the best ways to discover them?
Solution: Madagascar has no woodpeckerswhich might describe the aye-aye. By tapping on branches with its long, skeletal fingers, this nighttime primate can inform where the insect larvae are within. It then munches through the wood and fishes out the grubs with its E.T.-like middle digit.

Survive

Hagfish

Problem: Being a boneless tube sock of flesh puts you at the grace of predators.
Solution: When hagfish aren’t burrowing into whale carcasses (to consume them from inside), theyre a simple mark. If a shark bites, the hagfish quickly ejects a cloud of mucous. The slime blocks the assailants gills, triggering it to let go and most likely asphyxiate.

Credit: Mark Conlin/Alamy

Problem: Being a boneless tube sock of flesh puts you at the grace of predators.
Solution: When hagfish aren’t burrowing into whale carcasses (to consume them from inside), theyre a simple mark. If a shark bites, the hagfish quickly ejects a cloud of mucous. The slime obstructs the assaulters gills, triggering it to let go and most likely asphyxiate.

Survive

Pearlfish

Problem: The open seafloor is a harmful location for a slim fish.
Solution: The pearlfish discovers shelter in a sea cucumbers rectum. It waits on its victim to breathe (yes, sea cucumbers breathe through the incorrect end) and simply vibrates right in. In some cases they increase in sets and, researchers believe, make love within. The pearlfish might likewise consume its hosts gonads if that werent bad enough.

Credit: Jurgen Freund/Minden Pictures

Problem: The open seafloor is a harmful location for a slim fish.
Solution: The pearlfish discovers shelter in a sea cucumbers rectum. It awaits its victim to breathe (yes, sea cucumbers breathe through the incorrect end) and simply vibrates right in. Often they increase in sets and, researchers presume, make love within. The pearlfish might likewise consume its hosts gonads if that werent bad enough.

Reproduce

Antechinus

Problem: A brief breeding season timed to produce children when food is plentiful.
Solution: The male antechinus, a shrewlike marsupial, mates so desperately with numerous women in 3 weeks that he goes blind, bleeds internally, and drops dead. Thats OK, for his genes will live on. And there will be less starving mouths to feed.

Credit: Dave Watts/Alamy

Problem: A brief breeding season timed to produce infants when food is plentiful.
Solution: The male antechinus, a shrewlike marsupial, mates so anxiously with a lot of women in 3 weeks that he goes blind, bleeds internally, and drops dead. Thats OK, for his genes will live on. And there will be less starving mouths to feed.

Reproduce

Zombie Ant Fungus

Problem: Fungi frequently depend upon wind to spread their spores, however a thick tropical rain forest is windless.
Solution: The Ophiocordyceps fungi attacks an ants body and surrounds its brain. It chemically mind-controls the bug up into the orders and trees it to secure down on a leaf and anchor itself, prior to emerging from the ants head as a stalk and drizzling down spores on the ground listed below.

Credit: Alamy

Problem: Fungi frequently depend upon wind to spread their spores, however a thick tropical rain forest is windless.
Solution: The Ophiocordyceps fungi gets into an ants body and surrounds its brain. It chemically mind-controls the bug up into the orders and trees it to secure down on a leaf and anchor itself, prior to emerging from the ants head as a stalk and drizzling down spores on the ground listed below.