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Fangtastic
July 30, 2015|Additional info

Fangtastic

Fangtastic

They’re like the gangster of the spider world, big, brutish, hairy and downright scary. The kind of spider you wouldn’t want to bump into in a dark alley. Mess with the Sydney Funnel Web Spider and you could find yourself going home in body bag.

Admittedly this spider has a bad reputation and we’re really not helping here. So, appearances and gangster reputation aside, they pretty impressive creatures. Their signature is a set of thick fangs, which would make Dracula blush.

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Male venom more toxic
July 28, 2015|Animal Facts

Male venom more toxic

Male venom more toxic

It seems males and females are not created equal, especially when it comes to venom. Enter the Sydney Funnel Web spider, a hairy and scary looking spider that can be found in the moist cool forest areas of ….you guessed it, Sydney Australia.

Life starts off as an equal playing field (apart from the obvious differences in girl and boy bits) with the venom profiles being the same. They spend the first few years of their lives hanging around close to their burrows, which are usually found under rocks, rotting logs and in leaf litter.

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Poisonous Cure
July 27, 2015|Videos

Poisonous Cure

It turns out that a hairy and scary looking spider with fangs to rival Dracula has venom that can kill humans but also has the potential to cure cancer. When researchers exposed components of the venom to breast cancer cells, they died.

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A venom to kill or cure?
July 26, 2015|Teaser

A venom to kill or cure?

A venom to kill or cure?

Video teaser

Q. What deadly animal has a venom that can kill and also has the potential to cure cancer?

Here’s a clue: Males are wanderers, females are home bodies, they have fangs Dracula would be proud of but no teeth, they suck up their prey like a milkshake and lay tripwires to catch prey.

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Big Mouth
July 25, 2015|Additional info

Big Mouth

Big Mouth

At first glance the stonefish doesn’t look like a speedster. They’re bulky and just sit there like a… stone. Well their body does anyway. Their mouth is another story. It’s designed to move independently of the rest of the body, which is all a part of its plan.

 

Due to its awesome camouflage and tendency to sit statue still, fish don’t see the stonefish when they swim past until it’s too late. What looks like a harmless rock or a cluster of marine algae can turn into a gaping mouth that comes out of nowhere and sucks them in whole.

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Off the scales
July 23, 2015|How It Works

Off the scales

Off the scales

One of the defining characteristics of a fish is scales, right? That’s what most people think. Someone forgot to tell that to the stonefish. They’re a very un-fish-like fish.

They look like a stone, they waddle rather than swim and they can live out of the water for over 2 hours. They also have skin not scales, layers of keratinised skin (same stuff as our fingernails).

As we know from our previous post, stonefish attract marine plants to grow on them by lathering themselves in a chemical they produce, which acts like a fertiliser. It’s all a part of their strategy to blend into their environment and let their prey come to them.

But all gardens need maintenance and the deadly one this fish grows is no different.

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Growing a killer garden
July 21, 2015|Additional info

Growing a killer garden

Growing a killer garden

It has the bragging rights as the deadliest fish in the sea, with venomous spines that are lethal. The upside for any fish is that it doesn’t use these spines for hunting. The downside, it’s a master of camouflage.

As the name suggests it looks like…well a rock or stone that blends perfectly into its surroundings. So even if you swam or crawled past the stonefish you wouldn’t see it.

One of the keys to their success are pimple-like glands, called tubercles that cover their bodies. These glands produce and secrete a white milky substance called crynotoxin (meaning toxic skin) that oozes over the body of the stonefish.

This acts like a fertiliser attracting marine plants to grow on it BUT acts as an anti-foullant discouraging animals from settling on their skin.

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World’s Deadliest Garden
July 20, 2015|Videos

World’s Deadliest Garden

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Self fertilising animal
July 19, 2015|Videos

Self fertilising animal

Self fertilising animal

Video teaser

Q. What animal lathers itself in fertiliser to attract plants?

Here’s a clue: It’s the king of camouflage, has an expandable mouth, swallows prey alive, has gills but no scales and sheds its skin, but it’s not a snake.

 

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How TTX Does Its Thang
July 18, 2015|How It Works

How TTX Does Its Thang

How TTX Does Its Thang

Here’s the lowdown on TTX. If you’ve been following our blogs you would have heard about Tetradotoxin (TTX). If not, it’s a kick-ass toxin that is manufactured by bacteria in a range of animals, giving them super powers. Powers that make it super toxic to taste or powers that helps them to dish out death. The tiny Blue-ringed Octopus, uses it to paralyse its prey.

So how does it work?

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The Nature of Science (TNOS) showcases scientific research using our warped sense of humour, brains trust and creativity. See behind the microscopes, beakers and re-breathers as we dig a little deeper into the research and discovery of the natural world. If you want to take a walk on the wild side dust off your lab coats and jump on board as our talented team of scientists and world-class cinematographers use time-lapse and high-speed footage sequences to showcase science and nature like never before.
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Apparently the venom of the male Sydney Funnel Web Spider is more toxic than the females and it's all got to with the type of lifestyle the sexes lead. Find out why and read more on our blog
www.thenatureofscience.com.au/additional-info/male-venom-more-powerful/
...

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It turns out that a hairy and scary looking spider with fangs to rival Dracula has venom that can kill humans but also has the potential to cure cancer. When researches exposed components of the venom to breast cancer cells they died. Find our more in our video. www.youtube.com/watch?v=0UUrHN2vSZ4 ...

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