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It is Longest cave system It has taken some 25 million years for Mammoth Cave to form through the weathering action of the Green River and its tributaries. Longest gypsum cave Gypsum, a soft mineral, is used to make a type of plaster called plaster of Paris. The river, which has many twists and turns, spans around 10 km 6 mi of land.

Largest cave chamber A chamber is the largest order of space in a cave. It is often formed at a junction of passages, where erosion and collapse have exposed more rock, and its maximum size is dictated by the strength of the ceiling. Its average width is m ft and it is at least 70 m ft high.

The series of caves is believed to have formed from Precambrian dolomite rock dating back 3. As well as providing shelter for prehistoric humans, it has been used in modern times for ammunition storage and as a concert venue. The bat guano droppings found there are used as fertilizer. Mammoth Cave. USA, km 2. Sistema Sac Actun, Mexico, Sistema Ox Bel Ha.

Mexico, Optymistychna Cave. Ukraine, km 6. Wind Cave, USA. Lechuguilla Cave. USA, Gua Air Jernih Clearwater Cave. Malaysia, We called it the deepest cave, at 2, ft m. Today, Gouffre Berger is no longer quite the awesome challenge it once was, and is regularly explored by groups of up to We J also now know it is 1, m deep and that Krubera Cave 1 in Georgia is nearly twice as deep see right. Caving or potholing or spelunking : recreational exploration of caves. Speleology: scientific study of caves, including their structure, properties, history, occupants and the process by which they form speleogenesis.

Largest cave Vietnamese farmer Ho Khanh found a cave in central Vietnam in - and then forgot where it was. Deepest unbroken vertical shaft in a cave Straight, natural shafts are challenges for cavers - essentially, they are sheer drops without ledges. Or rather, Gennady Samokhin pictured right , a Ukrainian caver, extended the known depth of the cave on 10 Aug by 6 m. The cave in the Arabika Massif, Georgia, now has an explored depth of 2, m.

Samokhin was also a member of the previous record attempt team in Longest stalactite Stalactites form to hang from a cave ceiling. The longest free-hanging example is 28 m 92 ft and hangs in the Gruta do Janelao in Minas Gerais, Brazil.

Tallest stalagmite A stalagmite is the opposite of a stalactite. It is built up from the floor and the tallest is reported to measure some 70 m ft. Tallest natural cave column A column measuring Where the two formations met they became one column. Roo, Mexico, is a series of underwater passages accessed by surface lakes.

As of Mar , according to cave researcher Bob Gulden at caverbob. Greatest vertical extent for a flowstone cascade Flowstone cascades form in sheets when limestone-saturated water runs down cave walls and floors, leaving behind calcite deposits that solidify over time. The largest scientifically recorded example was It was captured off Baba Island near Karachi, Pakistan, on 11 Nov and weighed an estimated 21 tonnes 46, lb.

The breed was developed from a spontaneous genetic mutation originating in Montana, USA, in The largest species, the g 1-oz Colombian golden poison-dart frog Phyllobates terribilis , remained undiscovered by science until Ape The northern buff-cheeked gibbon Nomascusannamensis is native to the tropical rainforests between Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.

It is distinguished from similar-looking species by its characteristic vocalizations. Freshwater cetacean Inia araguaiaensis, the Araguaian boto, was officially described and named in Jan It is a species of freshwater dolphin native to the Araguaia River basin of Brazil, and is the first such discovery for almost a century.

It is a tragic but inescapable fact that animal species are becoming extinct all the time - in many cases, as a direct result of human activity. Happily, it is also true that even today a surprising number of previously unknown, entirely new animal species are coming to light: 15, each year, on average. Many of the new species being discovered are small, inconspicuous creatures: mostly insects, worms and other diminutive invertebrates.

But quite a few much more sizeable and very spectacular animals are also being uncovered, and on a global scale, not just in a few specific locations. To demonstrate this heartening and ongoing revelation of previously unknown life forms, our expert Dr Karl Shuker highlights some of the most notable new animal species that have come to light over the past six decades.

All of these creatures have been found, formally described and classified by scientists since the first edition of the Guinness Book of Records was published in , and every one is a GWR record holder. At the bottom of these pages we present 10 of the most recent, and most remarkable, animal finds.

Encouragingly, the evidence on these pages suggests that there are still plenty of new species waiting to be discovered! Among the fauna were new species such as the giant tube worm Riftia pachyptila , with huge, red, plume-like tentacles. In , it was found to belong to a previously unknown species - at c. Largest species of gerbil: Discovered in the s, the great gerbil Rhombomys opimus can exceed 40 cm 1 ft 3 in in length. It is native to Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and several other central and east-central Asian countries.

Shown inset are sting wounds inflicted on the leg of a swimmer in Jan Largest starfish: In , a specimen of the very fragile brisingid Midgardia xandaros was collected in the Gulf of Mexico. It measured an astonishing 1. The species was formally classified in It was reclassified in Dec as a species in its own right. Megachasmidae remains the newest shark family. Discovered in , its feathers and skin contain the potent poison homobatrachotoxin, also secreted by the dart frogs of South America see left.

Smallest seahorse: An adult pygmy sea horse Hippocampus denise is typically just 16 mm 0. The species was first discovered in in the delicate corals of the Flores Sea, off the coast of Indonesia. Each was distinguished from similar species of mouse lemur by sequencing its genes. It is endemic to the coastal waters of south-eastern Australia. It is native to the Indonesian island of Seram.

Caught in the 19th century, in the seas between New Guinea and Australia, it was only made a new species in There are about of the tigers in existence - a recovery from a low of in the s. It is cm 2 ft 3 in-2 ft 7 in long with a tail of cm 2 ft 1 in-2 ft 3 in , and weighs 5. Oldest big-cat fossil In , fossilsfrom a previously unknown species similar to a snow leopard were unearthed in the Himalayas.

The fossils of this species - named Panthera blytheae - have been dated to between 4. Rarest raccoon The Cozumel or pygmy raccoon Procyon pygmaeus Rarest fox The island fox Urocyon littoralis is native to six of the eight Channel Islands in California, USA, each of which has its own separate subspecies of this species.

In , a total of 1, specimens was estimated some of the subspecies numbered fewer than Since then the species has continued to decline, due in part to predation by golden eagles, disease parasites and habitat destruction. Ailuropoda melanoleuca indigenous population is owned by China. Cub births, bamboo production and security all add to the cost.

Bear necessities Largest home range for a land-based mammal: polar bears Ursus maritimus cover Arctic areas of 30, km 2 - the size of Italy - in a year. Most sensitive nose for a land mammal: typically, polar bears can detect prey such as seals from more than 30 km away and even when the prey is under ice. With a body length of 3. The tyrant was the first form of polar bear. Oldest brown bear in captivity On 24 May , a year- old European brown bear Ursus arctos named Andreas died in a sanctuary built by the World Society for the Protection of Animals in northern Greece.

The average life span in the wild is 25 years. Blue whale: the biggest heart on Earth Weighing up to tonnes, the blue whale Balaenoptera musculus is the largest mammal, and the largest animal known to have existed. It beats times a minute slowest heartbeat.

Largest euplerid Euplerids were once classed in the civet family and are also known as Madagascan civets. The largest of the 10 species is the fossa Cryptoprocta ferox , which has the Newest species of wild cat Formally named in , the southern Brazilian oncilla Leopardus guttulus inhabits the Atlantic Forest to the south of the country.

They do not interbreed with oncillas elsewhere in Brazil. Fastest marine mammal On 12 Oct , a bull killer whale Orcinus orca an estimated 6. Smallest family of land carnivores Two families of land carnivores contain just one single species each. They are Nandiniidae, containing the nandinia Nandinia binotata of Africa, and Ailuridae, containing as its own living species the lesser or red panda Ailurus fulgens of Asia. Dolphins Delphinidae have 37 living species, not all of which are called dolphins.

This diverse family also includes pilot whales and killer, false killer and pygmy killer whales. They all breathe through a blow hole situated on top of their heads. The smallest species of baleen whale toothless but possessing baleen plates for filtering food from water is the pygmy right whale Caperea marginata - native to the Southern Ocean - at Deepest mammal dive Scientists recorded a 2,m 6,ft dive, lasting 1 hr 13 min, by a bull sperm whale Physeter macrocephalus off the coast of Dominica in In , a male northern elephant seal Mirounga angustirostris was recorded diving to 1, m 5, ft off the coast of California, USA, the deepest dive by a pinniped Largest terrestrial carnivore The polar bear Ursus maritimus weighs kg , lb and is 2.

It feeds on the largest prey, killing walruses up to kg 1, lb and beluga whales of kg 1, lb to a stomach capacity of c. South Wales, Australia, in measured Largest carnivore Male bull southern elephant seals Mirounga leonina weigh up to 3, kg 7, lb , with an average length of 5 m 16 ft 4 in. Also the largest pinnipeds, they dwarf even the polar bear U.

Divided into two main groups: toothed whales dolphins, porpoises, smaller whales and baleen whales large filter-feeders. Pinniped: carnivorous, semi-aquatic marine mammal order Pinnipedia. Comprises seals, sea lions and the walrus. Most dangerous insectivore The solenodon is a small, innocuous-looking rat- like Caribbean mammal. The Haitian solenodon Solenodon paradoxus and the rare Cuban solenodon Solenodon cubanus have toxic saliva that is potentially dangerous to humans.

Up to baby bats occupy 0. Largest bat family As of Nov , there were species of vesper bat Vespertilionidae , with new ones described every year. Among the members are the common pipistrelles, the European serotine, the noctules, the tube-nosed, the mouse-eared, and the rare barbastelle.

Longest gestation period for a bat The common vampire bat Desmodus rotundus has a gestation period of seven to eight months, and when the baby bat is born it suckles its mother for an additional nine months and sometimes even longer. Native to Mexico, Central America and South America, vampire bats feed solely on blood, Largest monkey The male mandrill Mandrillus sphinx of equatorial West Africa has a head and body length of cm 2 ft— 2 ft 6 in and a tail measuring 5.

Males average 25 kg 55 lb but can weigh 54 kg lb. Sleepiest marsupial: because of its low-quality diet of eucalyptus leaves, koalas Phascolarctos cinereus spend up to 18 hr out of every 24 asleep. Largest koala litter: two - a pair of identical twins called Euca and Lyptus born on Apr in Queensland, Australia. Oldest koala: Sarah, who died In aged 23 years, was bom in and lived at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Queensland, Australia; koalas typically live for 16 years in captivity.

Fully grown male specimens of the Mindanao tree shrew Urogale everetti , native to the Philippines, have been recorded weighing g 12 oz. Smallest monkey Pygmy marmosets Callithrix pygmaea weigh 15 g 0. They are mm 5. Despite their size, pygmy marmosets can leap 5 m 16 ft 5 in in the air. A white stripe runs from nose to forehead, and a black stripe I runs down its back. Male eastern lowland gorilla: height 1. The largest are the flying foxes or fruit bats Pteropodidae , which can have a wing-span of 1.

PRIMATES Largest primate The male eastern lowland gorilla Gorilla beringei graueri , found in the eastern Congo, weighs up to kg Longest proportionate animal caecum A caecum is a kind of pouch in the large intestine, which in herbivores contains bacteria that help to break down the cellulose present in plant material.

The largest in the animal kingdom relative to body size belongs to the koala Phascolarctos cinereus. Most northerly marsupial The Virginia opossum Didelphis virginiana is the only species of marsupial that lives north of Mexico. It has been recorded as far north as south-western Ontario in Canada. They create a new ground nest from the surrounding vegetation everyday. The nests are circular and typically H measure 1 m 3 ft 3 in in diameter.

Some lighter members of the troop build in trees and many make a separate nest during the day for a nap. These constructions are also the largest nests built by a mammal. FACT The largest primate of all time was Gigantopithecus blacki - a veritable King Kong, now extinct for , years - standing 3 m tall and weighing 1. Largest insectivore The moonrat Echinosorex gymnurus is neither a rat nor from the Moon!

Found in south-east Asia, it is actually a giant relative of the hedgehog, but with thick fur instead of spikes. It is cm 10 in-1 ft 6 in long with a tail of cm in , and weighs kg 2 lb 3 oz-4 lb 6 oz. Under threat for being seen as an omen of death, the aye-aye weighs 2.

Smallest loris Lorises are small, nocturnal primates related to lemurs and bushbabies. The smallest is the pygmy slow loris Nycticebus pygmaeus , which measures It weighs g oz. Its body measures mm 1. It weighs just 1. The tallest recorded in the wild, however, was a.

Glossary Chiropteran: has forelimbs modified as wings; uses echolocation to navigate Insectivore: insect-eating mammal Marsupial: characterized by pouch in which mother carries her young Primate: has large brain and flexible hands and feet, includes humans There are nearly 60 species of kangaroo, the biggest being the red Macropus rufus from the dry centre of Australia.

The male red measures 1. Reds arrive as the largest newborn marsupial, but because all marsupials are born very early, the reds weigh just 0. The longest jump by a kangaroo was in New South Wales, Australia, in , when a female bounded Largest marsupial: red kangaroo www. Primarily nocturnal, this small ungulate is rarely seen. First domesticated rodent The guinea pig or South I American cavy Cavia porcellus was first bred as a food animal in the Andes in around bc.

It is thought to be a domesticated version of the montane guinea pig C. Smallest gliding rodent The pygmy scalytail Idiurus zenkeri is also known as a flying mouse. Native to Central and East Africa, it has a maximum length of 18 cm 7 in , of which its long, feather-like tail accounts for more than half. It has a gliding membrane between the forelimb and hind limb on each side of its body, which it expands when leaping from a tree, enabling it to glide through the air.

Largest rodent ever Josephoartigasia monesi was a 2-million-year-old fossil species that lived in what is today coastal Uruguay. It is currently known only from a single skull measuring 53 cm 1 ft 9 in long, from which scientists estimate that the Tallest mammal Giraffes Giraffa Camelopardalis are found in the dry savannah and open woodland areas of sub-Saharan Africa. An adult male giraffe typically measures between 4. Largest rhinoceros Restricted to southern Africa, the southern white rhinoceros Ceratotherium simum simum can grow to a length of 4.

Largest jerboa Jerboas are desert-dwelling rodents that jump and leap on their hind legs like miniature kangaroos. The suitably named great jerboa Allactaga major has an uppermost head- and-body length of 18 cm 7 in , with a tail that can grow to 26 cm It primarily inhabits deserts in Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Largest squirrel The Indian or Malabar giant squirrel Ratufa indica is endemic to deciduous and moist evergreen forests in peninsular India.

It can grow to 1 m 3 ft 3 in long, of which its long bushy tail constitutes two-thirds. The most teeth for a rodent is the silvery mole rat Heliophobius argenteocinereus. Native to Central and East Africa, including Tanzania, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, it has no fewer than 24 grinding teeth premolars and molars plus four incisors: 28 teeth in all. Mammals Jumbo size: African elephant The adult male African elephant Loxodonta africana is not only the largest ungulate but also the largest land mammal.

It typically stands The tallest in Africa are members of the endangered desert race from Damaraland in Namibia. A bull elephant shot near Sesfontein in Damaraland on 4 Apr was the tallest recorded example. It measured 4. Ungulate: broadly defined as a mammal with hooves enlarged, modified toenails that, unlike claws and nails, support its weight.

V J Living planet Least classifiable mammal The African aardvark Orycteropus afer has cylindrical teeth unlike those of any other mammal and claws rather than the hooves of other ungulates. The smallest deer is the northern pudu Pudu mephistophiles , which grows to 35 cm 1 ft 1 in tall at the shoulder and weighs up to 6 kg 13 lb 3 oz. It is found in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. Smallest rhinoceros Once widespread across south-eastern Asia but now confined to Sumatra, the Malay Peninsula and Borneo, the Sumatran rhinoceros Dicerorhinus sumatrensis has a maximum head-and- body length of 3.

Their species is the North American white-tailed deer [Odocoileus virgin! Fewer than mature individuals are believed to exist. Longest hair for a domestic cattle breed The domestic cattle Bos taurus with the longest hair is the Highland cattle. Originating in Scotland but subsequently exported worldwide, this famously hirsute breed has an average hair length of 35 cm 1 ft 1 in. Largest camel The dromedary or one- humped camel Camel us dromedarius has a top head-and-body length of 3. Native to the Middle East, it survives today as a feral animal only in Australia and Spain.

The largest land mammal African elephant is nearly 3 million times heavier than the smallest pygmy shrew! Southern white rhinoceros: length 4. Ml www. Longest-toed bird relative to body The chicken-sized northern jacana Jacana spinosa has four toes, each about 7 cm 2. When fully extended, they span cm 2 26 sq in , enabling the bird to walk on lily pads and other floating vegetation. The North African ostrich Struthio camelus camelus is the largest living bird.

Males have been recorded at 2. Its powerful strides can exceed 7 m and are comparable to those of the fastest land mammal, the cheetah. It can also attack with a powerful kick. Because of its size, the ostrich is also the bird that lays the smallest eggs relative to body weight: only 1.

Brink of extinction The North American ivory-billed woodpecker Campephilus principalis remains the rarest bird. It is believed that less than a dozen still exist in the Florida area. Rarest heron The global population of the imperial white-bellied heron Ardea insignis is estimated at no more than birds and is thought to be decreasing.

The species is native to the eastern Himalayan foothills of India, Myanmar, Bhutan and possibly Bangladesh but is now extinct in Nepal. Rarest kingfisher The Tuamotu kingfisher Todiramphus gambieri is confined entirely to a very small area on the single island of Niau in the Tuamotu Archipelago of French Polynesia.

Only birds still exist as of It is threatened by non-native rats and cats, as well as by cyclone-induced habitat destruction. FACT Birds are closely related to dinosaurs. Largest toucan The largest species of toucan is the toco toucan Ramphastos toco , which weighs up to g 1 lb 14 oz and grows up to 65 cm 2 ft 1 in long - a third of which is its huge bill.

Males are larger than females. It is native to much of eastern and central South America, but particularly Brazil. Largest owl The European race of the eagle owl Bubo bubo has an average length of cm 2 ft 2 in-2 ft 4 in , an average weight of 1. Largest woodpecker The imperial woodpecker Campephilus imperialis measures up to 60 cm 1 ft 11 in long. It was formerly widespread across Mexico, but owing to extensive habitat destruction its numbers rapidly plummeted.

The last confirmed sighting was in , but observations by locals continued into the mids. Fastest wing beat During its diving courtship displays, the ruby-throated hummingbird Archilochus colubris has a wing beat rate of beats per sec, as opposed to the 90 beats per sec produced by other hummingbirds. Smallest swan The smallest swan - but largest species of South American waterfowl - is the black-necked swan Cygnus melancoryphus.

It grows up to 1. The coscoroba swan Coscoroba coscoroba is slightly smaller, Ostr-etch: tall story Smallest bird Male bee hummingbirds MeHisuga helenae of Cuba measure 57 mm 2. They weigh just 1. Females are slightly larger. Highly diverse in form, these insectivorous birds live in North, Central and South America. At this point it is the fastest animal on the planet.

Bad news for any prey below. The longest bird migration is that of the Arctic tern Sterna paradisaea. It breeds north of the Arctic Circle, then flies south to the Antarctic for the northern winter and back again - a round trip of approximately 80, km 50, mi. The longest time for a bird to learn to fly is exhibited by the wandering albatross Diomedea exulans , whose chicks take days on average to make their first flight after hatching. Because it takes so long for the young albatross to get to this stage, the adults breed only once every two years.

The pigeon, Bolt, was named after world-record- holding Jamaican sprinter i Usain Bolt and will be J used for breeding. M Smallest flightless bird Found only on a small area of land in the South Atlantic, the Inaccessible Island rail Atlantisia rogersi weighs a mere 40 g 1. First discovered in , the birds are around the size of a three-day-old chicken. Longest bills The Australian pelican Pelecanus conspicillatus is the bill to beat, at cm 1 ft 1 in-1 ft 6.

But the longest beak in relation to body length is that of the sword-billed hummingbird Ensifera ensifera of the Andes from Venezuela to Bolivia. The beak measures Black-legged falconet: head-to- tail length cm, weight 35 g Bee hummingbirds: length 57 mm, weight 1. J www. Largest caiman Caimans are j alligator-related crocodilians and, of their six species, the largest is the black caiman Melanosuchus niger. Old males can sometimes exceed 5 m 16 ft 5 in in length and kg lb in weight.

The black caiman is native to rivers and swamps in the Amazon basin. Heaviest venomous snake The eastern diamondback rattlesnake Crotalus adamanteus weighs 5. Other contenders are the king cobra Ophiophagus hannah , up to 9 kg 20 lb , and the gaboon viper Bitis gabonica , weighing 8. The largest individual specimen was captured in Apr in Cameroon with an overall length of Fastest lizard The Costa Rican spiny-tailed iguana Ctenosaura similis can attain a land speed of In his honour, an extinct species of iguana was named Barbaturex morrisoni.

Hf It was almost 2 m B 6 ft 6 in in length B and inhabited what is B now Burma during the p Eocene epoch, some million years ago. High temperatures may have helped the lizard evolve to its unusual size. Longest iguana species The green, or common, iguana Iguana iguana can exceed 2 m 6 ft 6 in in length.

Found in an extensive range from Brazil and Paraguay to as far north as Mexico and the Caribbean, they are among the largest lizards in the Americas. Iguanas live near water and are excellent swimmers, feeding largely on leaves, flowers and fruit. The record was leapfrogged with a stunning performance by a South African sharp-nosed frog [Ptychadena oxyrhynchus named Santjie, who was competing in a triple jump. On 21 May , Santjie flew This is an evolutionary oddity known only in Sarawak, Borneo.

It lacks external ears, and the nearest relatives of this small family are the true monitors and the venomous Gila monster and beaded lizards. Measuring 6. Tegus are predatory, and popularly kept as pets by reptile fanciers. The newt itself is immune to the effects of venom. Most powerful species i of vertebrate In terms of watts of power r generated per kilogram of muscle, the giant palm salamander [Bolitoglossa dofleini of Central America is the strongest vertebrate species.

Its tongue explodes outwards at 18, watts per kg watts per lb of muscle. Most legs for a worm lizard As their name suggests, worm lizards resemble earthworms and are generally limbless. But four of the plus species - known as ajolotes Bipes spp.

These limbs are sometimes mistaken for ears! A typical Salvador's monitor might have a body of 1. By comparison, the average Komodo dragon is 2. Savu is the largest of the three Savu Islands, whose total area is only Its lengthy appendage brings the total length of the Papua New Guinean lizard up to a maximum of 4. A specimen measured in Indonesia in was 10 m long - equivalent in length to the outstretched arms of eight adult men. Pictured is Si Belang, a 6. The kg snake lives, sleeps, eats and even bathes with the family - including three-year-old Karim.

Si Belang is not a threat to the Toes as he recognizes them as his own family and their home as his territory. Largest toad: cane toad Bufo marinus , 2. Smallest toad: Bufo taitanus beiranus from Africa, 2. Smallest crocodilian Females of the dwarf caiman Paleosuchus palpebrosus of northern South America rarely exceed a length of 1.

They are generally nocturnal and usually solitary. Scaled up: long snakes www. This species of anglerfish reproduces through sexual parasitism. The male permanently attaches itself to the larger female by biting her back, belly or sides and effectively turning her into a hermaphrodite. The smallest freshwater fish is the dwarf pygmy goby Pandaka pygmaea , a colourless and nearly transparent species found in the streams and lakes of Luzon in the The whale shark is not a ; a starfish is not a fish; an electric eel is not an eel Largest carp species The Siamese giant carp Catlocarpio siamensis , aka giant barb, is the largest of the cyprinid carp family.

The longest specimens currently reported - such as the kg lb barb above - are around 1. Largest freshwater fish The largest fish that spends its whole life in fresh or brackish water is the Mekong giant catfish Pangasianodon gigas , principally of the Mekong River basin, and Pangasius sanitwongsei, mainly of the Chao Phraya River basin, both native to south-east Asia. Both species are reputed to grow to 3 m 9 ft 10 in and weigh kg lb.

The Arapaima gigas of South America is reported to reach 4. Slowest fish The slowest-moving marine fish are the sea horses family Syngnathidae , of which there are just over 30 species. Some of the smaller species such as the dwarf sea horse Hippocampus zosterae, above , which reaches a maximum length of only 4.

Largest fish ever In , two palaeontology students discovered a specimen of the marine fossil species Leedsichthys problematicus in clay pits near Peterborough in Cambridgeshire, UK. Osteichthyes: bony fish; have skeletons made from bone.

There are c. They also form the largest class of vertebrates animals with backbones. Heaviest bony fish The ocean sunfish Mola mola has been recorded weighing 1, kg 4, lb and measuring 3 m 10 ft from fin tip to fin tip. Sharks and rays, by contrast, are cartilaginous, not bony as in the case of the ocean sunfish. The largest and most common species, Alopias vulpinus, found worldwide in temperate and tropical seas, grows to 6 m 19 ft 8 in in length, of which almost 3 m 9 ft 10 in consists of this greatly elongated upper tail fin.

Males are only 7. The stonefish family Synanceiidae of the tropical waters of the Indo-Pacific are highly venomous. Synanceia horrida has the largest venom glands of any known fish. Direct contact with the spines of its fins, which contain a strong neurotoxic poison, can prove fatal.

The most poisonous fish is the puffer fish T etraodon of the Red Sea and Indo-Pacific region, which produces a fatally poisonous toxin called tetrodotoxin. Its ovaries, eggs, blood, liver, intestines Fastest fish The cosmopolitan sailfish Istiophorus platypterus is considered to be the fastest species of fish over short distances, although practical difficulties make measurements extremely hard to secure. Less than 0. Most ferocious freshwater fish Piranhas are renowned for their ferocity, particularly those of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus , found in the large rivers of South America.

Attracted to blood and frantic splashing, a school of piranhas can within minutes strip an animal as large as a horse of its flesh, leaving only its skeleton. Most venomous fish Poisonous creatures contain poison within their bodies, which they pass on to any k creatures that consume, Hk or even touch them, while venomous creatures inject Highest living fish The Tibetan loach family Cobitidae is found at an altitude of 5, m 17, ft in the Himalayas.

Longest fish migration Many fish species undertake long annual migrations between their feeding grounds. The longest straight-line distance known to have been covered by a fish is 9, km 5, mi for a bluefin tuna Thunnus thynnus that was dart- tagged off Baja California, Mexico, in , and caught km mi south of Tokyo, Japan, in Apr The longest journey by a freshwater fish is some 4,, km 3, 4, mi , taking about six months, by the European eel Anguilla anguilla.

Adults average 4. There is plenty of circumstantial evidence to suggest that some great whites grow to more than 6 m in length, and there have even been claims of huge specimens up to 10 m long. Pictured here is a lucky seal escaping the jaws of a great white, snapped in Jul off the coast of Seal Island, South Africa, by photographer David Jenkins.

According to our edition, the largest freshwater fish was the 6. Most are less than 1 mm 0. Deepest-living crustacean Nov , live amphipods found at a depth m 34, ft enger Deep, the deepest point on Earth, in the Mariana Trench of the western Pacific Ocean. The cm 6-in crab is believed to have made its journey by clinging to barnacles on a buoy for three months, surviving storms, predators and sharp changes in sea temperature.

It is likely that it would be able to swim even faster under natural conditions in the wild. First venomous crustacean Xibalbanus previously Speleonectes tulumensis feeds upon other crustaceans. Its claws inject a cocktail of chemicals including raoi Pictured inset is a 1-m-long American lobster found off the coast of Maine, USA, on 17 Feb The kg beast was dubbed Rocky before being released back into the wild.

Heaviest marine crustacean The American or North Atlantic lobster Homarus americanus is the heaviest marine crustacean. On 11 Feb , a specimen weighing It was sold to a New York restaurant owner. Largest freshwater crustacean The Tasmanian giant freshwater crayfish Astacopsis gouldi is also the largest freshwater invertebrate of any kind. Native to small streams in Tasmania, Australia, it can measure 80 cm 2 ft 7 in and weigh 5 kg 11 lb. Overfishing and habitat loss have seen the species decline and it is listed as endangered.

The blind crustacean inhabits underwater caves of the Caribbean, Canary Islands and Western Australia. Xibalbanus tulumensis is a member of the remipede class and is the only crustacean that possesses venom. Largest extent of colour vision Stomatopods such as mantis shrimps have eight different types of colour photoreceptor in their eyes humans have three.

Their clear-eyed vision is used to identify prey which is often semi- transparent and dodge predators. Actual Size fl Parasitic pea crab: 6. Crustacean: a group or sub- phylum of arthropod comprising 67, described species, from the minuscule 0. They are distinguished from other groups of arthropods by their two- parted limbs and the form taken by their larvae. Each eye possesses a pair of high-powered parabolic reflectors that direct the dim light on to the retina.

Pinnotheres pisum can measure 6. Largest barnacle The giant acorn barnacle Balanus nubilus stands up to It lives as far down as 91 m ft and its side plates withstand strong currents. The barnacle is food for whelk snails, which can drill into the shell. Sharpest night vision for an animal Gigantocypris is a marine crustacean living at depths of more than 1, m 3, ft with almost no sunlight. But this genus of ostracod has eyes with an f-number a measure of light sensitivity of 0. In comparison, humans Largest copepod Pennella balaenopterae is a parasite living on the backs of fin whales Balaenoptera physalus.

It can attain a length of 32 cm 1 ft 0. Largest woodlouse The common sea slater [Ligia ocean ica can grow up Largest marine crustacean The giant spider crab Macrocheira kaempferi , found off the south-eastern coast of Japan, has a leg-span of up to 3. It is an aquatic species that breathes air and lives on rocky coasts of temperate waters. Hermit crabs Smallest crustacean Stygotantulus stocki measures 0. It is an ectoparasite - a parasite The largest and heaviest land-living crustacean is the robber or coconut crab Birgus latro , which lives on tropical islands and atolls in the Indo-Pacific.

It can weigh as much as 4. This type of hermit crab feeds on rotting coconuts, although it will eat a variety of other food. It has been hunted almost to extinction on many islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, owing to both its size and its use as a culinary delicacy.

The young are hatched in the sea but return to land and lose the ability to survive in the water. The smallest non-parasitic crustaceans are water fleas branchiopods of the genus Alonella. These freshwater fleas measure less than 0. It occurs in only 13 km 2 5 sq mi of the river and its fragmented population probably numbers no more than in total.

Largest appetite relative to weight The caterpillar of the North American silk moth Antheraea polyphemus eats more food relative to its own body weight than any other animal. Living on the leaves of oak, birch, willow and maple trees, it eats up to 86, times its own weight during the first 56 days of its life. Most toxic insect venom Pogonomyrmex maricopa is a stinging species of harvester ant native to Arizona, USA. Fastest insect A speed of 5. In , a ground velocity of It grows to a maximum length of 5 cm 1.

I Songs play a vital role in cicada communication and reproduction. Most times for an insect to moult All insects moult several times during the course of their lifetime. Just 0. Heaviest praying mantis worldwide. The fire brat moults throughout its life, whereas most insects only do so during their juvenile nymph, or larval stage.

Most dangerous bee The Africanized honey bee Apis mellifera scutellata will generally only attack when provoked but is persistent in pursuit. It is very aggressive and fiercely protective of territories up to a 0. Its venom is no more potent than that of other bees, but it attacks in swarms so the number of stings inflicted can be fatal. All the stings were removed and counted. Most bee stings removed The greatest number of bee stings sustained by any surviving human subject Hardiest The most indestructible beetle is a small species known as Niptus hololeucus.

Researcher Malcolm Burr has revealed that no fewer than 1, specimens were discovered alive inside a bottle of casein protein that had been stoppered TActual for 12 years. Most painful insect sting In , entomologist Justin O Schmidt USA published a detailed pain index of insect stings, based on a four-point scale.

The most painful sting, registering 4. An adult female studied during tests in the UK in attained a running speed of 1. This is equivalent to covering 33 times her own body length in 10 sec. Heaviest moth Native to Australia, the heaviest species of moth is the giant wood moth Endoxyla cinereus. The weightiest specimen on record is an adult female that measured Females have a wing-span of approximately 25 cm 9. Lowest temperature endured by insects 3.

The woolly bear caterpillar of the Greenland tiger moth Gynaephora groenlandica lives in the high Arctic. Longest insect tongue Native to India, Myanmar, Nepal and Sri Lanka, the weightiest species of praying mantis is the giant Asian mantis Hierodula membranacea. The heaviest specimen on record was a well- fed female that was reliably weighed and found to tip the scales at 9 g 0. The insect is native to Madagascar. The welfare of the bee impacts directly on our own food chain: with no bees to pollinate them, up to half of our fruit and vegetable plants would disappear, along with animal-feed crops.

By wearing the queen in a locket around the neck, an individual can encourage a mantle of bees to form around their body. This rippling mass of bees can weigh many kilograms, with the heaviest mantle of bees record currently standing at First use of apitherapy: The Greek physician Galen ad is said to have used honey and bee venom to treat baldness. Largest bee house: A bee house measuring 13 x 1. Largest wasp nest: A nest measuring 3. A specimen measuring 1. It was examined in when experts estimated that it weighed over kg lb when alive.

Deepest octopus The dumbo octopus J Grimpoteuthis lives as far down as 1, m 5, ft. Its body, 2Cfcm 7. It travels by moving itlfins, pulsing its webbed arms octopus limbs are called arms rather than tentacles or pushing water through a funnel as a form of jet propulsion. Most bioluminescent octopus Squids include many bioluminescent species but only Stauroteuthis syrtensis lights up the octopus world in a significant way.

It uses a row of sucker-like structures that glow blue-green and emit light at nanometres a wavelength that travels well under water. Researchers believe the flashing entices prey within reach. Smallest octopus With an average arm span of less than 5.

It is found in Sri Lanka. Despite their size, they are not exempt from predators but, like most cephalopods, they have a good defence mechanism: above left is a Pacific giant squirting a plume of ink in its wake as it evades attack. They are also masters of camouflage and can change colour - and even texture - to match their surroundings bottom left.

Pictured is a giant squid snapped in Feb in New Zealand. This creature is an ancestor of chelicerates spiders, scorpions and horseshoe crabs. Belonging to the extinct genus Alalcomenaeus, it lived more than million years ago in the Cambrian period in the seas of south-west China.

Heaviest colossal squid Colossal squid are shorter than giant squid but they make up for it in weight. One specimen of adult male colossal squid Mesonychoteuthis hamittoni weighed c. Rarest jellyfish The Cookii Monster Crambione cookii of Australia is pink, 50 cm 1 ft 8 in long and very venomous. Most venomous gastropod Predatory marine shells called cone shells genus Conus deliver a fast-acting neurotoxic venom.

While several species are capable of delivering enough toxin to kill humans, the geographer cone C. Longest bivalve mollusc Bivalves, such as clams and oysters, have a hinged shell. The longest bivalve is the giant shipworm Kuphus polythalamia , a marine species that lives in a tubular shell. The longest specimen measured 1. Fortunately, only the venom of one - the blue-ringed octopus - is powerful enough to kill humans. For news of life off Earth, turn to p. The ratio is almost — the human equivalent of eyes the size of table tennis bats!

Squid also have the largest eyes in absolute terms see below. A specimen collected in had a shell It weighed nearly 18 kg 40 lb when alive. The centipede uses modified jaws to catch its food, delivering venom that feels like an insect sting in humans and can cause swelling and fever. The average I length for this type of I millipede is cm f in. In Jun , genetic results I revealed it to be a species in its own right. Horseshoe crab The Atlantic horseshoe crab Limulus polyphemus measures up to 60 cm 1 ft An aquatic i relative of arachnids, its A appearance has been A relatively unchanged fl for millions of years.

Most bioluminescent: firefly squid Watasenia scintillans emit flashes of light. First video of giant squid in natural habitat: Jul , filmed south of Tokyo in the Pacific Ocean. First giant squid captured: seven juveniles caught off the coast of New Zealand in Mar Atlantic horseshoe crab: length 60 cm Ash-black slug: length 30 cm Giant centipede: length 26 cm Atlantic giant squid: length up to This was later revised to Alas, the clam was killed in dating.

There are 70 million pet dogs and The breed standard specifies a weight of 39 kg 86 lb and a height of 51 cm 20 in. The Clumber is loyal but a little demanding: its white coat sheds throughout the year, and the breed tends to slobber and snore. Smallest breed of poodle Poodles can be found in standard, miniature and - the smallest - toy categories.

More amazing animals: pp. They were primarily raised for their meat and quills, but were also kept as pets, as several different species are today. Top dogs understand a vocabulary of words - as many as a two-year-old human child. Bottom of the class are the bulldog, the Basenji and, last of all, the Afghan hound. During his eight-year stint at the White House, Socks was said to have received 75, letters and parcels a week. Most travelled: In Feb , Hamlet escaped from his cage on a flight from Toronto in Canada and became caught behind aeroplane panelling for over seven weeks, accidentally travelling nearly , km.

Tallest horse: 2. It included Nero, a lion so docile that he refused to fight dogs when his owner arranged a bout. Largest pony breed: 1. Bearded dragons generally live to about eight years in the wild in Australia and typically a maximum of 14 years in captivity. The two dogs met for the first time in Oct Shortest cat Lilieput, a nine-year-old female Munchkin cat, measured Gone but not fur-gotten is Colonel Meow inset , the characterful cat with the longest fur, who passed away on 30 Jan His fur measured Smallest breed of horse Originally developed in Argentina in , the smallest recognized breed of horse is the Falabella miniature horse, which has an average height at the withers of 8 hands While miniature horses are shorter, they are also smaller -their limbs and body grow in proportion.

Largest breed of horse The English Shire horse is a type of draught horse. Stallions stand 17 hands cm; 5 ft 8 in or even taller at maturity. It was one of these working animals that was the tallest and heaviest horse ever to be documented. Sampson later renamed Mammoth was a Shire gelding born in By , he measured Mammoth was And finally First pets: domestic bliss As our ancestors formed settlements, animals became domesticated for practical uses.

They were used for food and clothing or would help us work. Dogs became the first domestic animals, around 13, bc in the Middle East. The bones of the oldest known domestic cat date back 9, years, and were discovered in a neolithic village on Cyprus next to its presumed owner.

Records of the first domestic elephants tell of their use as beasts of burden at least 4, years ago in the present-day area covering Pakistan and India. Tallest donkey Romulus is an American Mammoth Jackstock who measured 17 hands 1. His brother, Remus, was measured at over 16 hands 1. The minimum height for the big breed is Dwarf ponies have a genetic mutation that may make them smaller, but the Shetland pony is the smallest of the pure breeds. As a puppy, she was fed using an eyedropper and was small enough to fit on a teaspoon.

The smallest breed of pony is the Shetland pony. The talented bird also set the record for the most slam dunks by a parrot in one minute, with 22 dunks into a specially designed net on 30 Dec Longest jump by a cat Flying feline Alley cat-apulted himself to a record with a 1. Largest working rodent The Gambian giant pouched rat Cricetomys gambianus measures 90 cm 3 ft long and is used to sniff out landmines in Mozambique.

The rats are trained to associate the scent of explosives with a food reward and identify the presence of explosives by grooming and scratching at the earth. Nifty Norman also rides bicycles with stabilizers, of course , skateboards and surfboards.

The current incumbent became Colonel-in-Chief on 18 Aug Fastest 10 m on hind legs by a dog Jiff the Pomeranian covered 10 m 32 ft in 6. The plucky Pom, who performs various tricks, can also walk on his front paws inset , covering 5 m 16 ft in a record 7.

The largest is that of the talipot palm Corypha umbraculifera , which consists of up to several million creamy-white flowers. The palm is native to parts of India and Sri Lanka. This is the highest reported light reflectivity of any biological material. First use of spices in cooking Garlic mustard plant seeds were used between 6, and 5, years ago around bc.

In , archaeologists announced that the spice had been found in European pottery shards. Some estimate the tree to be up to 1. The largest is produced by the titan arum [Amor pho phallus titanum and commonly weighs around 50 kg lb. The heaviest specimen weighed kg lb 15 oz and was recorded in in the Botanical Garden of Bonn University in Germany.

The titan arum is also the smelliest plant when it blooms - which is fortunately relatively rarely. It releases an odour, comparable to that of rotten flesh, that can be smelled at a great distance to attract the carrion beetles and flesh flies that pollinate it. Largest horsetail One of the oldest plant genera to survive, horsetail is a living fossil.

It is the only surviving member of the FACT If evenly distributed, a mature giant water lily leaf can support up to 45 kg of weight. Largest water lily Native to freshwater lakes and bayous in the Amazon basin, the giant water lily Victoria amazonica has floating leaves measuring up to 3 m 10 ft across and is held in place on an underwater stalk m ft long. The leaves are supported by rib-like crossridges that are said to have inspired the metal girders of Crystal Palace in London, UK, built in Trees of the Amazon The Amazon basin and Guiana Shield area of South America has an estimated 16, tree species, of which just species 1.

The rarest 11, species account for just 0. The study from which this data is extracted, published in Nature in , suggests that there is a total of billion trees alive today in the Amazon rainforest. Back then, it was called Victoria regina before the name Victoria amazonica became widely used. Its common name is the royal water lily. Equisetopsida class, which once featured strongly in late Mesozoic period forests for up to million years.

It can be found in southern California, USA, and northern Mexico and its bold display of flowers makes it a popular ornamental plant. Raffia palm: leaf length 20 m stalk length 4 m Puya raimondii : height Opened on 26 Feb , it is the largest seed vault. The goal of the project is to store a total of 4.

And there is a lot of flower to sniff - it measures up to 91 cm 3 ft across and weighs up to 11 kg 24 lb , with petals that are 1. The rare flower is native to south-east Asia and grows as a parasite inside and upon jungle vines. Largest living flower Most massive plant by area A network of quaking aspen trees Populus tremuloides grows in the Wasatch mountains, Utah, USA, covering 43 ha acres and weighing an estimated 6, tonnes 13,, lb , making it also the heaviest organism.

The clonal system is genetically uniform and as a single organism, with all the component trees changing colour or shedding leaves in unison. The network looks like a forest, but it is made up of plants that have grown from the root system of a single tree dating back at least 80, years. Smallest bromeliad While the best-known member of the bromeliad clan is the pineapple, its unlikely relation is Spanish moss Tillandsia usneoides.

Neither a moss nor Spanish, the beard-like growth is made up of the smallest bromeliads, with slender stems bearing tiny flowers and a series of leaves that cling together. It produces hanging thread- like chains that stretch up to 6 m 19 ft 8 in long. Tallest banksia Banksias are Australian wildflowers of the genus Banksia, some of which are so large that they grow as tall as trees.

The tallest species are the coast banksia Banksia integrifolia and the river banksia B. Tallest cycad Cycads can look like palm trees and are sometimes grouped with them, but they are coning plants like pine trees. Largest prey of carnivorous plants Of all the carnivorous plants, the ones that digest the largest prey belong to the Nepenthaceae family genus Nepenthes. Both N. These species are commonly found in the rainforests of Asia, in particular Borneo, Indonesia and Malaysia.

By using their colour, smell and nectar to attract prey, the plants then trap, kill and digest enzymes, before absorbing what is needed for nutrition. Niagara - Falcao [FTD] Kerri Chandler - Three [Large] Pablo Mateo - Track 1 [Lack] Tambien - Ondule [Kitjen] Invincible Scum - Princess [Zodiac 44] Helm - Strawberry Chapstick M - Two Days With Inor Roy Davis - Under Tha Sun Sundiata O.

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