Endangered Ugly Things
Highlighting organisms that are too strange, boring, or just plain ugly to get wider attention.


Brookesia micra, the world’s smallest species of chameleon

It’s really weird to look at a vertebrate that could easily be picked off by a dragonfly or spider.


Large Flying Fox - Pteropus vampyrus

Pteropus vampyrus (Chiroptera - Pteropodidae) is one of the largest bats in the world. Forearm length ranges from 18 to 22 cm, and mean wingspan is 1.5 m. It has long pointed ears and a dog-like or fox-like face and head.

Large flying foxes inhabit tropical forests and swamps from Madagascar to Australia and in most of continental and insular Southeast Asia.

Flying foxes (genus Pteropus) are among the few wide-ranging frugivores still found in many parts of Southeast Asia and play important seed-dispersion and pollination roles in their ecosystems. However, besides their ecological services to humans, flying foxes also carry a number of zoonotic diseases such as the Hendra virus and the Nipah virus.

In some places throughout its geographic range P. vampyrus is hunted for sport, and there is a significant international market, both legal and illegal, for its meat and the various by-products that are used in traditional medicines. This species is currently considered to be globally Near-threatened by the IUCN. 

References: [1] - [2] - [3]

Photo credit: ©Douglas Janson (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0) | Locality: not indicated (2011) - Photo unframed

This animal is absolutely adorable.

tags » EUT · mammals · near threatened ·

This is one of two things:

A) A new sitcom on network TV, coming this Fall

B) A darker, more radioactive remake of My Neighbor Totoro


My greatest experience with condors was during a Grand Canyon camping trip on the North Rim with friends. As we stood near the edge and looked down, we saw a pair of condors gradually rising on a thermal. As they rose to where we stood we could hear the force of their massive wings cut through the air with a powerful “Whoosh!”  It was absolutely exhilarating! It’s one unforgettable site to see. —Rachel Tueller, BLM Arizona Strip District Public Affairs Officer

In celebration of National Public Lands Day today, the BLM, The Peregrine Fund and partners released three California condors in the BLM-managed Vermillion Cliffs National Monument in Arizona.  Watch a short clip from a previous NPLD release event to see the condor fly.

The video is well worth the watch. It’s always so exciting to see that yes, we can do something to help these species.

tags » birds · EUT · North America ·

"On that day, Skeleton-kind received a grim reminder…"

One of my students mentioned how much my anatomical model reminded them of the Colossal Titan, and I couldn’t get this image out of my head until I took the picture.


A Life Spent Chasing Down How Whales Evolved

by Bob Holmes

The intriguing story of how whale evolution was unpicked is told in The Walking Whales, revealing what it’s like to be a globe-trotting palaeontologist

WHALES evolved from cat-sized terrestrial hoofed mammals, evolutionary biologists tell us. How could a tiny, deer-like creature morph into such a radically different leviathan? The notion has often provoked gleeful ridicule from creationists, especially because, until the 1990s, so few intermediate fossils had been discovered.

Little more than a decade later, spectacular finds had bridged that gap so convincingly that whales now stand as one of the best-documented fossil transitions – literally a textbook case of evolution in action.

Much of that change is thanks to Hans Thewissen, a palaeontologist at Northeast Ohio Medical University in Rootstown, who has made many of the key discoveries. The Walking Whales is his account of his research…

(read more: New Scientist)

image of Pakicetus, via: NHM/SPL

I have met this man. He was the advisor of my Vertebrate Biology teacher, and he taught us all about cetacean ear bones. It’s very cool.

The Ambulocetus skeleton hanging up at NEOMED is pretty cool to look at too.

They did make the Walking Whale the mascot of the university, but I feel like something was lost in translation…

My wife (who just started working there) thinks he looks like Charlie the Tuna after working out too much.


A young Pig-Nosed Turtle (Carettochelys insculpta), from New Guinea and Australia, at a government facility just outside Bangkok, Thailand.

The illegal trade in this species has grown exponentially in recent years, with Traffics new report estimating 1.5 to 2 million eggs being illegally collected annually. Without further protection and enforcement of current laws these captivating creatures could be in trouble.

I am really at a loss at what to say about this turtle.

I think I want to see an alien designed with that face.


The Featured Creature: Darwin’s Frog: Incredible Parenting Skills and Still Going Extinct

Charles Darwin was lucky enough to discover this incredible frog during his world voyage on the HMS Beagle. For that reason, it has his name. This is Darwin’s Frog (Rhinoderma darwinii), a bizarre creature that only reaches a size of  2.5–3.5 cm. These frogs can be either brown or green but all of the males possess a peculiar parenting trait that makes it one of the coolest amphibians in the world.

Take a look at the animation above. The alien-like motion in the frog’s chin is due to tadpoles moving about in the male’s vocal pouch!

What happens is, it’s the female’s job to lay around 30 eggs. The male then stands guard for about two weeks until they hatch. Once they do, he scoops the tads’ into his mouth where they finish developing into froglets inside his vocal pouch. The tadpoles are able to grow within the baggy chin skin by eating their egg yolk – yum! When the tiny tadpoles are big enough (about half an inch) their father spits them out and then they’re on their own. Talk about living a sheltered life!

This makes me think of the frog that raised babies in its stomach.

Alas, they went extinct in the ’80s. There are way too many weird frogs going extinct. It really makes me sad.

tags » EUT · frogs · amphibians · vulnerable · extinct ·



Ad for Travelers insurance.

August, 1952.

Illustration by Andre Durenceau.

Cutest insurance ad ever. (Today in sentences I never expected to type.)

"Worried about accidents? Form yourself into a ball of scales! It works for the Pangolin!"

tags » EUT · Pangolin · Threatened · endangered ·


Nolid Moth Caterpillars

Nolidae is a family of moths with about 1,400 described species worldwide. Their caterpillars developed a very unique way of hiding from enemies. This species of caterpillar grows an enlarged, green coloured, section of abdomen which overlaps its actual head. It is thought this acts as a deterrent to birds by resembling unripe berries.

"You know what I could really go for? Some delicious berries!"

"Hey, I saw some crawling around on a leaf over there. Too bad they’re not ripe yet."

"Oh well. Too bad. Caterpillars might be a nice alternative."

"Sorry, haven’t seen any of those around."

The thought of a bird food item mimicking another bird food item (just not ready) seems very strange to me…

tags » not EUTs · not endangered · insects ·
viwan themes