Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Weekly Dose of Cute

These little tykes were only discovered last year. They're so cute, they made The International Institute for Species Exploration's Top 10 Newly Discovered Species for 2008.

Standing a whoppin' 1/2" tall, these little Satomi's Pygmy Seahorses, Hippocampus satomiae, are the smallest known species of seahorse (just edging under the previusly smallest Hippocampus denise by about 2 mm). With its tail stretched out straight, one of these seahorses would only measure about 1/2 the width of a penny. The previously unknown specimens were found off the coast of Indonesia and were named after the diver who collected them, Satomi Onishi. Like the other 35 species of seahorse, these pint-sized versions live in sheltered areas where they eat small fish, tiny shrimp, and plankton. The males carry the babies after mating, which, for such a small species, number less than 10 per brood and, when born, are roughly the size of a comma in this paragraph. Now those little guys - the baby pygmies - those have got to be unbelievably cute.

Not to be outdone by the fish, snakes found their way into the cute files with this ridiculously minature version of one (on R). Also in the Top 10, this new species, Leptotyphlops carlae or The Barbados Threadsnake, is the smallest snake species in the world. It grows to only about 4" long, and likely feeds on termites and ant larvae. Because it's so small, the threadsnake can only produce one egg at a time, and the baby that hatches is 1/2 the size of its mother. In other, larger species, many eggs are produced, and hatchlings are only 1/10 the size of mom. So for its size, these little momma snakes have one big baby!

These two just go to show that you don't have to be a baby to be adorable. Though, perhaps, you do have to be really, really small...


Aimee "Roo" said...

Too cute! That little snake is adorable, I can't imagine what it would be like to see it in person.

liliannattel said...

Those def win a cute prize.