CLOSE
Original image

Lamb Spared the Axe Because of Ridiculous Proportions

Original image

I recently moved to England, and animal husbandry is big news in this country "“ literally, in the case of this story.


Despite the fact that he looks like he could keep a family of four in lamb chops for a week, Bruno, a 21-pound lamb born at a Worcestershire farm last Monday, will not become an Easter roast. Instead, the farm where he was born is planning on keeping him around, as a pet and future stud ram, and to see just how big this massive lamb is going to get.

To put Bruno's birth weight in perspective, the average lamb is born at just 7 pounds and takes only a few minutes to deliver "“ Bruno, on the other hand, heaved his fluffy black-and-white 21-pound bulk into the world after about 20 minutes of labor.

Farmer Mark Meredith, who delivered the colossal "wooly lamboth," told the Daily Mail later, "He was born at midnight on Monday "“ and it was immediately obvious he was no ordinary lamb."

Meredith, referring to the lamb's poor mother, "You couldn't tell when she was pregnant that she was going to have such a big lamb, she wasn't exceptionally large at all"¦. But when she was giving birth I put my hand on his little toe I knew straight away this was going to be a colossal lamb. We decided to call him Bruno "“ because he's a bit of a bruiser." Thankfully, the ewe survived the ordeal without any bruising "“ the birthing of large lambs has been known to cause severe injury to the mother, including cracked ribs and broken pelvises.

Whether or not Bruno is the largest lamb ever born is still up in the air, although he far outweighs another recent 17-pound Lambzilla born in North Wales (where sheep outnumber people almost four to one, incidentally). The Guinness Book of World Records is on the scene, so hopefully we'll know for sure soon.

Original image
FRED TANNEAU/AFP/Getty Images
arrow
Animals
Fisherman Catches Rare Blue Lobster, Donates It to Science
Original image
FRED TANNEAU/AFP/Getty Images

Live lobsters caught off the New England coast are typically brown, olive-green, or gray—which is why one New Hampshire fisherman was stunned when he snagged a blue one in mid-July.

As The Independent reports, Greg Ward, from Rye, New Hampshire, discovered the unusual lobster while examining his catch near the New Hampshire-Maine border. Ward initially thought the pale crustacean was an albino lobster, which some experts estimate to be a one-in-100-million discovery. However, a closer inspection revealed that the lobster's hard shell was blue and cream.

"This one was not all the way white and not all the way blue," Ward told The Portsmouth Herald. "I've never seen anything like it."

While not as rare as an albino lobster, blue lobsters are still a famously elusive catch: It's said that the odds of their occurrence are an estimated one in two million, although nobody knows the exact numbers.

Instead of eating the blue lobster, Ward decided to donate it to the Seacoast Science Center in Rye. There, it will be studied and displayed in a lobster tank with other unusually colored critters, including a second blue lobster, a bright orange lobster, and a calico-spotted lobster.

[h/t The Telegraph]

Original image
Courtesy Murdoch University
arrow
Animals
Australian Scientists Discover First New Species of Sunfish in 125 Years
Original image
Courtesy Murdoch University

Scientists have pinpointed a whole new species of the largest bony fish in the world, the massive sunfish, as we learned from Smithsonian magazine. It's the first new species of sunfish proposed in more than 125 years.

As the researchers report in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, the genetic differences between the newly named hoodwinker sunfish (Mola tecta) and its other sunfish brethren was confirmed by data on 27 different samples of the species collected over the course of three years. Since sunfish are so massive—the biggest can weigh as much as 5000 pounds—they pose a challenge to preserve and store, even for museums with large research collections. Lead author Marianne Nyegaard of Murdoch University in Australia traveled thousands of miles to find and collected genetic data on sunfish stranded on beaches. At one point, she was asked if she would be bringing her own crane to collect one.

Nyegaard also went back through scientific literature dating back to the 1500s, sorting through descriptions of sea monsters and mermen to see if any of the documentation sounded like observations of the hoodwinker. "We retraced the steps of early naturalists and taxonomists to understand how such a large fish could have evaded discovery all this time," she said in a press statement. "Overall, we felt science had been repeatedly tricked by this cheeky species, which is why we named it the 'hoodwinker.'"

Japanese researchers first detected genetic differences between previously known sunfish and a new, unknown species 10 years ago, and this confirms the existence of a whole different type from species like the Mola mola or Mola ramsayi.

Mola tecta looks a little different from other sunfish, with a more slender body. As it grows, it doesn't develop the protruding snout or bumps that other sunfish exhibit. Similarly to the others, though, it can reach a length of 8 feet or more. 

Based on the stomach contents of some of the specimens studied, the hoodwinker likely feeds on salps, a jellyfish-like creature that it probably chomps on (yes, sunfish have teeth) during deep dives. The species has been found near New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, and southern Chile.

[h/t Smithsonian]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios