“What a wonderful world!” sang Louis Armstrong in his famous song – and indeed it is a stunningly beautiful planet that we live on – but is it all wall-to-wall loveliness?
I must confess that I’m not really an insect lover and ‘creepy crawlies’ to me are, indeed just that; but there is definitely one that is stranger than most – the rather odd-looking Scorpion fly.
This bizarre insect has a scorpion like tail, large bulging eyes and a long nose. Despite its scary appearance, it’s totally harmless; although males have to convince the females that looks are only skin deep, because they can run the risk of becoming her late night snack if they don’t win her over! To appease her, they offer her some of their salvia, which seems to do the trick…think I’d prefer flowers myself!
If you’re having one of those days where you feel you don’t perhaps look your best – believe me, it could always be worse…just take a look at the Blob fish! This aptly named marine dweller indeed looks most blob like – with a rather surly expression on its face – perhaps understandably! What its lost out on in looks, it makes up for in design, because the gelatinous body of this deep sea dweller means that it can hover over the sea bed, allowing the current to propel it along, saving on energy, as it hoovers up any meals that float its way.
Now you may picture birds as majestic and graceful – but there are a few that might not quite fit that bill!!! Enter the Muscovy duck. These fellas are some of the oldest domesticated fowl, originally being kept by Peruvian peoples back in the 1500s, when they were discovered by explorers and brought to Europe. It’s thought they are named after the Muscovy company that imported many of them and while they might not be lookers, they’re definitely not quackers, because they only make a low hissing sound.
Mammals too can come in all kinds of guises and one that has a face that only a mother could love, is the star nosed mole. These critters have large star shaped proboscis, which isn’t a lovely look; although there is method in the design, because their noses are incredibly sensitive, making them able to detect and pick up even the smallest prey in super quick time – so perhaps a case of practical rather than pretty!
Some of our domesticated pets also have their challenges when it comes to appearance: The Sphinx cat isn’t one of the most fetching felines you might come across – it’s lack of fur, wrinkly skin and gaunt face all give it a rather quirky look; but it has its fans and has found fame by starring in several movies and being adopted by some well-known celebs.
When it comes to canines, the Chinese Crested dog not being exactly what you’d call cuddly. These hairless pooches, which have a different kind of look about them, were originally taken on voyages by the Chinese in the 14th century to help keep down vermin on their ships. What they might lack in prettiness, they more than make up for with their happy personalities.
When all’s said and done, beauty is really only skin deep – the way creatures look is often as a consequence of some clever evolutionary design, enabling them to thrive in their habitat. Loveliness can be found in lots of different guises and many cultures cleverly celebrate imperfections and differences as something to be proud of.
After all, beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder – so, like Mr Armstrong sings, there really are some wonderful things out there, whatever shape or form they might be.