Posts from the ‘Soft body’ Category

How are seashells formed?

The protecting shells of clams and other shell forming mollusks are built by a special part of the mollusk’s body called the mantle.  This skin-like organ surrounds the animal’s soft body like an envelope.

Glands inside the mantle produce the substances that make the shell, in the form of a liquid.  The mantle squeezes out the liquid shell materials and adds them to the shell as the mollusks grows.

The lines of growth are usually clearly marked by ridges on the outer surface of the shell.  The food eaten by a mollusk provides the minerals that form the shell and give it color.–Dick Rogers

Do insects have bones?

Insect

If you could look inside an insect’s body, you wouldn’t see any bones. But insects do have skeletons!  Insects differ from creatures with back-bones, such as humans, horses, dogs and fishes.  These animals have hard skeletons inside their bodies. Your skeleton is made of bone, and the rest of your body is shaped around it.

An insect’s skeleton though, is a tough outer shell.  It provides support and protection for the insect’s soft insides.  Some insects, especially beetles have hard, heavy skeletons.  Others, such as butterflies have light, thin skeleton. – Dick Rogers

How does coral grow?

Coral

Beneath the surface of the sea lie coral formations of many shapes and colors.  The formations may look like branching trees tinted green or lavender, lacy sea fans, or even like tiny organ pipes.  Coral is formed by millions of tiny sea animals called “coral polyps.”  Coral polyps look much like little flowers.

They wave food into their mouths with a circle of tiny tentacles.  Young coral polyps attach themselves to older ones and build limy, cup-like skeletons around their soft bodies.  When the polyps die, their hard skeletons remain as part of the growing coral formations. – Dick Rogers

How does an octopus eat?

Octopus

The octopus has a powerful parrot-like beak in its mouth that it uses to crack the hard shells or crass and oysters.

The octopus is a sea animal with a soft, bag-shaped body.  It gets its name from two Greek words that mean “eight feet.”  We call its eight feet “arms.”

The octopus dwells on the ocean bottom where it crawls about on its arms, searching in every crack and crevice for its favorite food of shrimp, crab, and mussels.

On each of the eight arms there are two rows of cup-like suckers which help the octopus grab and hold very tightly to anything it catches.

The arms do not squeeze and prey, but pull it toward the creature’s mouth.

An octopus has two very strong jaws that look like the beak of parrot.  It uses its jaws to crush crab shells and to tear apart the food it eats.

The long, snakelike arms and large, unwinking, strangely human eyes give it a frightening look.  Most kinds of octopus are only about as big as a man’s fist, and do not attack people.

Some however, have poisoned jaws and bites from even a small octopus. – Dick Rogers

What is a sting ray?

Sting Ray

Sting rays are flat, diamond-shaped fish having long ship like tails armed with poisonous stingers.

Sting rays live  in warm, shallow coastal waters and often lie of the bottom buried in the sand with only their eyes and breathing holes showing.

When swimming, the sting ray looks much like a bat flapping through the water.

The sting ray’s  stinger is really a sharp, bony spine near the base of its tail.

Many bathers have stepped sting ray whips its long tail about and the sharp spine is driven into the victim’s flesh, inflicting a painful wound.

The spine is barbed to that a victim cannot easily yank it loose after being stabbed.

Sting rays love on a diet of crabs, lobsters and other creatures of the bottom of the sea.  They crush their prey with their powerful grinder teeth.

Another name for the sting ray is “stingaree.” – Dick Rogers

 

 

 

What is a leech?

Leech

Some swamps and ponds contain leeches, worms that can cling to fishes, animals and ever to persons.  Leeches may grow from ½-inch to 4 or more inches long.

Like many worms, they have soft, flat bodies divided into segments.  On the leech’s head is a sucker like mouth equipped with three saw-shaped teeth.  A second sucker is located at the hind end of the leech.

The leech attaches itself to the host by means of its suckers.  Then, with the mouth sucker, it sucks up the blood through three little holes which it makes in the skin with its sharp teeth.

In a single meal a leech may eat three times its own weight in blood.  One meal may fast several months.

Not all leeches suck blood.  Some feed instead on worms and other small animals that live in the water.  During medieval times bloodsucking leeches were used by physicians to draw blood from patients in attempts to cure them. – Dick Rogers

What is an abalone?

Abalone

An abalone is a kind of sea snail useful for its meat and colorful shell.  It is a kind of sea snail that can be found living in most mild seas.

In many places abalones are known as “ear shells” because their single flattened shell somewhat resembles a human ear.

The abalone spends most of its life clinging to submerged rocks with its flat muscular foot.  It can fasten itself to a rock so tightly that only a knife can pry it loose.

It feeds on the plants that it can scrape off the rocks with its rasp-like tongue.  Its hard shell, which may grow from a few inches to nearly a foot long, protects the abalone’s soft body.

Abalone steak, the snail’s large foot, is a popular seafood dish in many countries.  The pearly inner lining of the shell, called “mother-of-pearl,” is used in making buttons and other ornaments.

The abalone builds its shell out of lime from the water.  The shell grows as the abalone grows. – Dick Rogers

What is a crayfish?

Crayfish

Crayfish are small fresh-water shell fish that look like miniature lobsters.

If you have ever played by the bank of stream or pond, you may have seen a small animal that looked like a miniature lobster living at the bottom of the water near the shore.

What you saw was a fresh water shell like known as a crayfish. It is easy to see that the crayfish, sometimes called crawfish or crawdad, and the saltwater lobster are close relatives.

Both have 10 legs.  The front legs end in large pincers. These pincers are used to catch any prey that comes near,  as well as for defense.  The four other pairs of legs are used for walking.

The crayfish escapes from danger by swimming backward through the water with quick flips of its fan-like tail.  Like the lobster, the crayfish hatches from an egg.  A hard shell covers its soft body like a suit of armor.

Several times before it is fully grown, the crayfish must shed its outgrown shell and grow a new and larger one. – Dick Rogers

How does a snail grow its shell?

Snail

The shell grows in an ever-widening spiral as the snail continues to add new shell material to its shell during its lifetime.

You’ve probably seen a common garden snail peeking out of its shell as it slowly creeps along on a slick pathway of ooze.

Where did the snail get its shell?  It was born with a tiny shell just the right size for its body.  The shell serves as a suit of armor to protect the snail’s soft body.

As the snail grows, it oozes a slimy shell liquid that hardens into shell, and so the shell grows with the snail. The snail gets its shell-building materials from its food.

There are many kinds of snails, in almost every part of the world.  Some live only on land, some live in lakes and ponds, and others live deep in the ocean. The most snails are hatched from tiny eggs and look very much like their parents when they are born.

Most snail shells are shaped like coiled spirals.  Some are brightly colored with gay stripes.  Some snails grow shells that are no bigger than a pinhead.

But the biggest shells belong to the sea snails called conchs.  Their shell grow to be more than a foot long. – Dick Rogers

What are jellyfish?

Jellyfish

Jellyfish are unusual sea animals that have jellylike bodies and stinging tentacles, with which they capture their food.  The jellyfish is among the strangest of sea creatures.

It is not even a fish, but a very simple kind of sea animal that has no skeleton.  The main pair of the jellyfish’s body looks like an umbrella, and it is made up of two thin layers of tissue with jellylike materials between them.

Around the rim of the umbrella are usually a number of simple eyes, and in the center of the body underneath is the mouth.

Hanging down from the edge are string like tentacles, armed with batteries of stinging cells filled with paralyzing poison.

If a small bumps into the jellyfish’s tentacles, it gets stung and captured for food. If you touch these tentacles, you may get stung, too!

A jellyfish swims by folding and unfolding its body—much like closing an umbrella.  Mostly, it floats along with the current.  Some jellyfish are no larger than a pea.  Other may be two feet or more in diameter. – Dick Rogers