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Carnivorous thingie in the deep sea

nature

Why Evolution Is True

Nature continues to astound us: there are millions of undescribed species, and many of them defy even the most fertile imagination.

Have a look at the creature below (no, it’s not a plant), and guess what it is (I’ve left the title ambiguous).

It’s a sponge.  And if that’s not weird enough, it’s a carnivorous sponge: it apparently eats copepods, small aquatic crustaceans.

As you may know, the vast majority of sponges are filter feeders, removing organic particles (bacteria and phytoplankton) from water by sucking it in, taking out the good stuff, and expelling the water.  But in the deep sea, where organic material is scarce, some sponges have taken up the habit of eating animals. While this has been known for 17 years, beginning in 2000 and continuing through 2007, a series of deep-sea dives using remotely operated submarine vehicles have discovered these weird creatures living off the…

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Update on ‘missing’ or dead satellite-tracked raptors: marsh harrier, Galloway

nature

Raptor Persecution UK

In July 2012, Roy Dennis and friends sat-tagged two marsh harriers at a nest in Moray.

The male, ‘Reed’, took the sensible option and by-passed the UK on his migration south, heading out across the North Sea before navigating towards Spain (view his flight map here).

His sibling, a female called ‘Willow’, chose a different route for her migration. It appears she didn’t even make it out of Scotland (see here). According to the last update on Roy’s Highland Foundation for Wildlife website:

Willow’s last location was close to Whithorn at 10.45pm on 22nd September and there have been no signals since. We are afraid that the most likely reason is that shw [sic] has been killed bearing in mind the serious illegal persecution of harriers. We hope we are wrong and that her transmitter suddenly bursts back into life“.

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