The Amusing Kiwi Beaks

By Anupum Pant

Kiwis have a fairly long beaks, but technically they have the shortest beaks of all birds. There’s a very funny reason for that.

Kiwis can’t see too well. However they have an exceptionally good sense of smell, thanks to their nostrils which are at the tip of their beaks.

According to another research done recently, Kiwi beaks have specialized sensors at the tip which help them to sense tiny vibrations. Combining both the exceptionally good sense of smell and the ability to detect minute vibrations using their beaks, kiwis are able to find creepy crawlies moving under a layer of mud.

Now, they have long thin beaks, physically. And at the end of the beak there are nostrils.

Officially the convention to measure the beak of a bird dictates that the measurement be done from the end of the tip to the nostril. And since Kiwis have nostrils at the tip, the distance from the tip of their beaks to their nostrils is very less (negligible). That distance is also, technically, according to the convention, the length of their beaks.

So, Kiwis officially have the shortest beaks among all birds, even if they physically have fairly long beaks.

Tritonia Khaleesi – New Slug Named After the Mother of Dragons

By Anupum Pant

Wish you a Happy 2014

It’s the last day of the year! What am I doing?
I’m writing this blog-post while everyone in the city is partying. That might sound like a sad thing, but I like to think of celebration as something that isn’t the same for everyone.
For instance, think of the sea slugs for a moment. The last day of the year means nothing to them. Even when it is party time for everyone else, they do the thing they do every day. Although it makes sense here, sea slug is not to be confused with the first generation British surface-to-air missile.
Anyway, I wish all of my readers a very happy and a successful 2014. If you need some help with sticking to New Year resolutions, you could check this out – [Help!]

So, talking about sea slugs – A sea slug can be thought of as a type of a snail, without a shell living in the sea. But, why am I talking about sea slugs suddenly? There is a reason.

A new sea slug

Felipe de Vasconcelos Silva, Victor Manuel De Azevedo, and Helena Matthews-Cascon from the Federal University of Ceará discovered a new kind of sea slug off the coast of north-east Brazil. They decided to name it Tritonia khaleesi.
If it doesn’t ring a bell, it is probably because you do not watch Game of Thrones on TV. They named it after the mother of dragons, Khaleesi, from the Game of thrones – a fantasy drama television series which is an adaptation of A Song of Ice and Fire, George R. R. Martin’s series of fantasy novels.

Why did they name it that?

If I may quote the scientists themselves, their words pretty much answer this question:

The standard of the silver band on the back of the slug reminds braids Khaleesi of silver hair, especially in the last episode of the first season of the show. Besides silver color, the species is one of the smallest sea slugs, as well as Khaleesi is also described as low and new.

What did you learn?

Well, Several things! Things like:

  1. Scientific names can be after character names from TV shows or fantasy novels.
  2. The British called their first generation surface-to-air missile – Sea Slug.
  3. New species are being discovered even today. BTW, it is estimated that 86% of the species still living on earth are still waiting to get discovered.
  4. And of course, the new sea slug is named after Khaleesi.
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