The farthest-south living animal is a pink mite. It measures around 1/100 of an inch in length. Looking very similar to a spider, it dines on algae and fungi. The tiny mite was found near the South Pole, only 309 miles from it, by a Hawaiian entomologist recently. This same scientist also found lichens only 266 miles from the Pole. That’s as close to the Pole as life has ever been found.
Antarctica is so hostile that only insects and insect-like creatures can inhabit the continent year-round, according to published reports. To find the over 56 species of arthropods that live on Antarctica, you?ll need some kind of magnification.
One insect you could easily see is about the size of a common horsefly. It’s a wingless fly. When the temperature finally warms enough to melt water, thirty-two degrees Fahrenheit, they become awakened, and no longer hibernate.
In stark contrast to the barren land, Antarctic waters are filled with a variety of animal life forms. They range in size from tiny, microscopic animals to the great blue whale. Scientist, in the search for more knowledge of sea life, put a six by four foot capsule under the water. There were six windows available to look into the surrounding waters. The scientists took turns in the water. They could even hear the life beneath the waters because they installed a hydrophone.
A giant jelly fish passed by, with 30 foot tentacles. Not many other fish were seen. Curious and graceful seals frequented the waters around the capsule, using the hole to breathe and checking out the scientists. Scientists could hear them chirp, beep, buzz and whistle through the hydrophone. This was a din that hadn?t ever been heard, according to one scientist.
These noises help the Weddell seals to navigate and communicate. The navigation theory helps scientist understand how the seals could find food and sources of air in the dark waters. Recordings of the various seal sounds can be investigated. Due to the high frequency and range of some of the seal sounds, humans can?t even hear them.
Just how the sounds are created is still a mystery. Underwater finds the seals with sealed nostrils and mouths. Weddell seals have dived deeper than any other mammals.
They have been officially recorded as diving up to 1500 feet. Another seal stayed underwater for over 28 minutes before it needed to breathe. One zoologist was lucky enough to get a sample of a mother seal’s milk. This milk is extremely high in fat, and allows baby seals to gain weight very rapidly. Newborn seals can multiply their weight five times in just six weeks.
Frogman suits enabled scientists to explore the waters surrounding Antarctica. Red seaweed, in addition to lots of other colored seaweed, grew on the bottom of the sea. They also found red and white species of starfish, five foot long worms and sponges that measured four feet in diameter. BOLA TANGKAS
Foxes – Let Go for Tonight
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Music video by Foxes performing Let Go for Tonight. (C) 2014 Sign Of The Times Limited under exclusive licence to Sony Music Entertainment UK Limited