Tarsier (Photo credit, Ricky Garni)
For the next couple weeks I am going to write about a very interesting subject, eyes. First on the list we’ll head to the islands of Southeast Asia to take a look at the world’s only carnivorous primate. The Tarsier. The tarsier is a small animal with enormous eyes. Each eyeball is as large as this creature’s entire brain. The unique cranial anatomy of the tarsier results from the need to balance their large eyes and heavy head so they are able to wait silently for unsuspecting prey. As you may have guessed, the tarsier has very acute eyesight, excellent night vision, and may also be able to see ultraviolet light! The tarsier’s eyes are the largest of any mammal relative to body size. In fact, if a human’s eyes were proportionally as large as those of the tarsier, they would be the size of grapefruits. Its eyes are fixed to its skull and don’t turn in their sockets. Fortunately, it has a very bendable neck and can rotate its head 180 degrees, just like an owl. Not that that makes it any less creepy looking, but on the other hand it sort of looks like my dad so… I guess it’s ok.
To watch my video, click here.
Cat spleen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Now we’re going to look at a different kind of organ. The feline spleen. The spleen is an elongated organ located near the stomach in the left forward part of the abdomen. The exact location of the spleen depends upon its size and shape and is affected by the size of the surrounding organs, such as the fullness of the stomach. The spleen is a relatively large, dark red organ that is supplied with numerous blood vessels. A normal spleen is shaped somewhat like a tongue and is considerably longer than it is wide and slightly constricted in the middle. It is also covered by a tough capsule of fibrous tissue. The spleen has a few main functions. Though not essential for life, the spleen does make life a lot easier. Performing important functions like filtering particles in the blood and lymph systems like old or abnormal blood cells and foreign proteins. Acting as a storage site and filtration system for red blood cells and platelets (clotting elements). It is the major site outside the bone marrow where red blood cells are made. And last but not least, the body has the ability to contract the spleen suddenly if additional red blood cells are needed in the bloodstream. So even though it is not essential for life, the spleen sure makes life a lot nicer.
Click here to watch my video
Blobfish (photo credit, SEA SERPENT)
This week I’m going to write about something a little different. Variety is the spice of life you know. So I will be informing you on the blobfish. The blobfish is a deep sea fish of the family Psychrolutidae. It inhabits the deep (and I mean DEEP) waters off the coast of mainland Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand. They live at depths between 2,000 and 3,900 feet, where the pressure is several dozen times higher than at sea level. This kind of pressure would render gas bladders inefficient for maintaining buoyancy. Instead, the flesh of the blobfish is primarily a gelatinous mass with a density slightly less than water. This allows the fish to float above the sea floor without expending energy on swimming. Its relative lack of muscle is not a disadvantage as it usually just swallows any edible matter that happens to float by. Usually an invertebrate like a crab or sea pen. So, though they might not be the prettiest fish in the sea, the blobfish’s shape is highly functional. Although I wouldn’t recommend one as a pet…
Well, that was a fun topic. To see what the blobfish looks like on land, and a few witticisms, click here to watch my video.