Every year, scientists discover tens of thousands of new creatures, most of which are cuddly and/or wuddly. However, every once in a while we uncover a species so vile and so contrary to all that we consider precious and good that it makes us seriously wonder if all this exploration nonsense is worth the hassle. Horrors such as ...
#5. A Hot-Pink Millipede That Oozes Cyanide
Most millipedes are not particularly adorable. They're a little disgusting, but they're not terribly threatening. They're just kinda ... there, waiting to gross out schoolgirls or be eaten by birds. Except, of course, for the shocking pink dragon millipede. Woe be to the bird that comes near one of these bastards. Woe be to any animal, honestly. The thing isn't hot pink because it likes doing K in a dark warehouse while wearing fur boots -- the bright color is a warning that this son of a bitch secretes cyanide.
When you secrete poison, then you can decide what color to associate that with. For now: Barbie pink.
It was first discovered in 2007, and scientists quickly learned that the shocking pink dragon millipede, while looking like a half-chewed piece of Laffy Taffy, was anything but sweet and tasty. It does have a pleasant, almond-like smell to it, but that's just because it has a series of defensive glands that ironically spew almond-scented cyanide. You might remember cyanide as one of the deadliest poisons on Earth, and one of the last things you should ever let near your skin.
Greater Mekong Programme/WWF International
In entomology, much like in dealing with passengers on a city bus, spiky pink hair pretty much means "Keep your distance."
This is a creature so potent and dangerous that, although it does have a Latin name (Desmoxytes purpurosea), even the man who discovered it uses the casual name. As Henrik Enghoff explained, "We think that such an unusually colored, conspicuous millipede deserves more than a Latin name and suggest calling it 'the shocking pink dragon millipede.'" Man, even Tyrannosaurus rex couldn't swing "giant roaring sharp-toothed death lizard." That's some serious science street cred right there.
#4. The Bat With the World's Longest Tongue
There's a good reason Bruce Wayne dresses like a bat when he wants to scare the bejesus out of some bad guys: Bats are friggin' scary. And back in 2005, science added one more to the creepy pile: Anoura fistulata, the Ecuadorian tube-lipped nectar bat. And with a name like "fistulata," you know it ain't gonna be pretty.
Hey there, ladies.
Now, compared to some of the other horror shows we've displayed in the past, this little guy isn't so bad at first glance. Kinda stupid and inbred-looking, for sure, like Larry the Cable Bat, but not terrifying. But then it opens its mouth:
On the plus side, he can snake a drain like that.
Why yes, that is its tongue. And yes, it is longer than its entire body. In fact, this guy has the longest tongue (in relation to body size) of any mammal on Earth. It's 3.5 inches, while the rest of the body is only 2. That means its tongue is one and a half times the total length of its whole body. That's like a human being sporting a 9-foot tongue -- even Gene Simmons has to admit that's a bit unattractive.
Not ready to run off screaming just yet? Well, get this: Like many bats, these guys have the ability to hover like a hummingbird, which means that if you wake up in the middle of the night to a wet tickle on your forehead, you'll find that good ol' fisty here is able to maintain unceasing, disconcerting eye contact while deep-tonguing your business.
#3. A Lobster With One Super-Sized Sword Claw
Discovered a thousand feet beneath the sea off the coast of the Philippines, this is Dinochelus ausubeli. "Dinochelus" translates to "terrible claw," which, if anything, is an understatement.
© WoRMS for SMEBD
"Got your nose" just became a sinister carnival of horrors.
That monstrous claw is designed for exactly what it looks like it's designed for -- cold-blooded murder. Because this lobster is totally blind, it uses its elongated claw to reach out and grab prey, using its teeth almost like a wheat thresher before happily feasting away. This begs the question: Why only one huge claw? Clearly, the small claw is redundant and useless, since the gigantic claw could catch prey both near and far. Using the small claw is like the Power Rangers using their Zords solo. Come on, guys ... you resort to Megazord in, like, 100 percent of your successful battles -- just skip the middleman already.
Oh, and the ocean's not done unveiling its horrifying secrets to us. Just a couple years before the arm-wrestling lobster up there came to light, scientists discovered the Kiwa hirsuta, or Yeti crab. It is literally impossible for a more accurate name to exist.
2005 Ifremer / A. Fifis
Except possibly the "under your bed tonight crab." You're welcome.
The Yeti crab may look huggable, but it turns out all that fur is actually a natural filtering system used to collect the swirling filth all around it. Once collected, it filters out the bacteria, raises it to whatever the bacterial version of maturity is, and then eats it when ready. In short, that hair is a landfill, a farm, and a dinner table at the same time.
And that's what the deep sea thinks "snuggly" is? We'd hate to see its version of terrifying.
Which is coming up next, obviously ...