Enjoy the video below!
(Credit Seanna Cronin)
Sea spiders are a class of marine arthropods called Pycnogonida that are found nearly everywhere in oceans from deep to shallow ranges. They are not arachnids, but considered chelicerates even though this fact may be debated. They feed on ocean invertebrates using a proboscis and suction feeding.
Sea spiders use external fertilization and interestingly the male provides care to the young.
Watch the sea spider video below!
To learn more check out this 2009 article in Science Magazine complete with a slideshow of deep sea spiders feeding!
The name “sea pig” conjures up many images, but probably not that of a deep-sea holothurian echinoderm. There are three species of sea pigs all in the genus Scotoplanes. They inhabit deep sea floors often high densities and are thus sensitive to deep sea trawling.
Check out these videos to see the sea pig in action! (Canadian Scientific Submersible Facility)
Finally, to learn more click here for a link to the Echinoblog.
Springtails (Collembola) are hexapods but not insects, being members of the insects’ sister class Entognatha (which also includes proturans and diplurans). They are tiny (<6mm), and numerous, occurring at densities up to around 100,000 per square meter of topsoil. They are important components of forest floor ecosystems, and some species can also be found floating on the surface of stagnant water.
Their name comes from the tail-like furcula folded beneath their body which is used for jumping (see video below).
Here is another video from Preston Guerra of some springtails:
Female fiddler crabs (Uca mjoebergi) are polyandrous and usually mate with at least 2 males during a breeding season. They mate either on mudflats or in a burrow. In a recent paper (R.A. Slatyer et al., 2012 LINK HERE) the authors investigated the possible benefits from the multiple male mating. They found that females mate initially with their male neighbors early in the season seemingly just to get it over and out-of-the-way. There is no romance in the way of courtship and they do it right on the surface for anyone to see. These neighbors with benefits guys then provide help in defending the female’s burrows. Finally, later in the breeding season she chooses a male based on his claw size and how fast he can wave it. This pair then enters his burrow to mate like respectable crabs.
Polyandry occurs because it offers benefits to the female and in this case the two types of mating situations (surface, burrow) offer different benefits. Mating on the surface provides protection by her neighbor-sex partner and in the burrow the superfine male of her choice will sire fitter offspring.
For more information check out the link to the paper above and if you want to learn more about the fiddle crab click here.
This pimped-out stomatopod (Odontodactylus scyllarus) is found in the Indo-Pacific Ocean. They are mad strong and some large adults can actually break or chip glass.
The video below is from the Discovery Channel.
Dryoceocelus australis lives solely on an island group in Australia. They were thought to be extinct after 1930 until two dozen were spotted again in 2001. The IUCN lists them as critically endangered currently.
Read more here about the conservation efforts by zoos in Australia to ensure the species survival.
Pair bonding between the male and females has been reported, but is not definitive. Anecdotal evidence suggests the Lord Howe stick insects are gregarious and thus finding a male and female together may just be the expression of this trait. Research from Patrick Honan in 2008, examined 9 pairs from the Melbourne Zoo found that the behavior was consistent for each pair daily, but varied depending on the pair. Some pairs were always found together, but in some cases the female would be found in the nesting box and the male outside the nesting box.
Finally, here is an amazing video of hatching Lord Howe island stick insects from Zoos Victoria if you haven’t seen it already.