Subtle Differences

By Anupum Pant

Who’d have thought that a fun website like 9gag could teach you something useful. This is an artwork that I first saw on 9gag and wanted to find where it originated from (to give the artist its full credit). I believe, I Raff I Ruse is the blog which published it first. I could be wrong, but then the apparent source itself attaches no text that could confirms anything. And then it probably went on NPR, and consequently spread all over the web.

The artwork illustrates subtle physical differences between certain kinds of animals which look very similar to the untrained eye. It’s a very simple thing to know and you should definitely know it. The whole list includes differences between:

  • Ape and Monkey
  • Frog and Toad
  • Dragonfly and Damselfly
  • Ant and Termite
  • Wasp and Bee
  • Turtle and tortoise
  • Alligator and Crocodile

The Turtle and tortoise difference was one of these seven differences which I knew for sure. Then, I can definitely tell a wasp from a bee, an ape from a monkey, and an ant from a Termite, I still wasn’t very confident about the others. I bet you also knew at least one of these differences. And I hope you didn’t know at least one because I wish you learn something from this post.

alligator vs crocodile ant vs termite ape vs monkey dragonfly vs damselfly frog vs toad turtle vs tortoise wasp vs bee

via [9gag] and [NPR]

Axolotl – A Walking Fish That can Regenerate Limbs

By Anupum Pant

If you are looking at an Axolotl for the first time, it will confuse you. With an oddly shaped body that resembles both a catfish and a salamander, you’ll wonder if it lives in water or on land. [Image]

What is it?

A fish? Axolotl, commonly known as the Mexican Walking Fish, isn’t actually a fish. It is an amphibian, which means it has both lungs and gills. They almost never come out of water, hold their breath and take in oxygen using their gills (those three pairs of parts coming out at the back of its head are the gills). They can hold their breath for a year, beat that Mr. David Blaine.

Or Salamanders? They are closely related to salamanders and interestingly the adult Axolotls look like baby Salamanders. They have long abandoned the usual amphibian-transformation from a larva stage to an adult. Unlike Salamanders, they don’t transform into adults that can live outside water. They stay in water and walk around on the water-bed.

However, strange species of Axolotl was once delivered to a zoologist Auguste Duméril, which had somehow transformed like salamanders and would happily come out of water. But this transformation (metamorphosis) shortened their life span. Later it was found that this process can be artificially triggered by injecting iodine. (Do NOT try this at home)

As pets: Today, these animals are fairly common and are used as exotic pets all around the world. Especially in Japan, people love to have them in their aquariums.

Side note: Like several other Pokémon based on real animals, Whooper and Mudkip were actually based on Axolotls.

Regenerative Powers

Besides having the ability to walk underwater and its unusual appearance, there is something that is much more interesting about them. Unlike, almost any other vertebrate, they have the power to regenerate various cells. Not just cells, Axolotls can regenerate complete body parts – limbs, gills, eyes, kidneys, even large portions of its liver and its heart muscle. Even portions of its spine and brain can be regenerated. They are able to grow back a severed limb in span of few months. This is the reason scientists love these creatures and conduct a number of studies on them every year.