Getty Images
Getty Images

10 Fun Facts About The New Breeds Appearing in the 2015 Westminster Dog Show

Getty Images
Getty Images

In a press conference yesterday, the Westminster Kennel Club showed off two new breeds—Coton de Tulears and Wirehaired Vizslas—that will compete in its 139th annual dog show. Here are a few things you might not have known about these adorable pooches.

Falko, a 17-month-old Wirehaired Vizsla from Montreal. Photo by Erin McCarthy.

1. The Wirehaired Vizsla is a hunting dog that hails from Hungary. Vizsla means “quick” or “pointer” in Hungarian.

2. In the 1920s and ‘30s, breeders wanted a dog similar in personality and looks to the smooth-haired Magyar Vizsla, but wanted it to be better able to withstand conditions in the field. That meant a thicker coat. To create the new breed, Vasas Jozsef, owner of the Csaba vizsla kennel in Hejocsaba, bred two of his female Vizslas with a brown German Wirehaired Pointer owned by de Salle Kennel’s Gresznarik Lazslo. The first Wirehaired Vizsla was shown in 1943. Other breeds that may have been incorporated include the wirehaired pointing griffon, pudelpointer, Irish setter and maybe even a bloodhound.

3. In addition to helping it be more comfortable in all kinds of terrible weather, the Wirehaired Vizsla’s rust-colored coat acts as camouflage, helping it blend in with dried grasses.

4. Both the Maygar and Wirehaired Vizsla breeds were nearly wiped out during World War II.

5. Wirehaired Vizslas are calm and gentle and will doggedly stay on scent, making them good in the home and in the field. And they love to swim!

Coton de Tulears Chanel (right) and Burberry (left) from New Jersey. Photo by Erin McCarthy. 

6. Coton de Tulear—pronounced KO-Tone Dih TOO-Lay-ARE—includes the French word for “cotton,” which perfectly describes the soft, silky coats of these pups.

7. The exact origins of the Coton de Tulear is a mystery, but it’s believed that they date back to the 15th century, and popped up in Madagascar in the 17th century. They’re named after the island’s Port of Tulear.

8. The dog was sometimes brought aboard ships to take care of rodents.

9. The Coton de Tulear is the Official Dog of Madagascar, and is sometimes called the Royal Dog of Madagascar (for a long time, only Malagasy royalty and noblemen could own the dog).

10. The dog was honored with a postage stamp in Madagascar in 1974—the same year that it arrived in North America.

Sources: The American Kennel Club (1, 2); Wirehaired Vizsla Club of America; The United States of America Coton de Tulear Club; Canadian Coton du Tulear Club

Scientists Capture the First Footage of an Anglerfish’s Parasitic Mating Ritual

The deep sea is full of alien-looking creatures, and the fanfin anglerfish is no exception. The toothy Caulophryne jordani, with its expandable stomach and glowing lure and fin rays, is notable not just for its weird looks, but also its odd mating method, which has been captured in the wild on video for the first time, as CNET and Science report.

If you saw a male anglerfish and a female anglerfish together, you would probably not recognize them as the same species. In fact, in the video below, you might not be able to find the male at all. The male anglerfish is lure-less and teeny-tiny (as much as 60 times smaller in length) compared to his lady love.

And he's kind of a deadbeat boyfriend. The male anglerfish attaches to the female's belly in a parasitic mating ritual that involves biting into her and latching on, fusing with her so that he can get his nutrients straight from her blood. He stays there for the rest of his fishy life, fertilizing her eggs and eventually becoming part of her body completely.

Observing an anglerfish in action, or really at all, is extremely difficult. There are only 14 dead specimens from this particular anglerfish species held at natural history museums throughout the world, and they are all female. Since anglerfish can't live in the lab, seeing them in their natural habitat is the only way to observe them. This video, shot in 2016 off the coast of Portugal by researchers with the Rebikoff-Niggeler Foundation, is only the third time we've been able to record deep-sea anglerfish behavior.

Take a look for yourself, and be grateful that your own relationship isn't quite so codependent.

[h/t CNET]

Cockroach DNA Shows Why They're Basically Indestructible

Most people are all too aware that cockroaches are horrifyingly resilient beings. Yes, they can and have survived nuclear blasts, and surely stand to inherit the Earth after we all succumb to the apocalypse. Why is this creature able to thrive in the face of pesticides, the loss of limbs, disgusting conditions, a range of climates, and even nuclear fallout, in urban kitchens across the world? As Inside Science reports, a new study on the genome of the American cockroach shows that certain genes are key to its wild evolutionary success.

In an article published in Nature Communications, researchers from South China Normal University in Guangzhou, China report that they sequenced and analyzed the genome of Periplaneta americana, and in the process they discovered just how indestructible this scourge is. They found that the cockroach (native to Africa, despite its American moniker) has more DNA than any other insect whose DNA has been sequenced except the migratory locust. The size of its genome—3.3 billion base pairs—is comparable to that of humans.

They have a huge number of gene families (several times the number other insects have) related to sensory reception, with 154 smell receptors and 522 taste receptors, including 329 taste receptors specifically related to bitter tastes. These extra smell and taste receptors may help cockroaches avoid toxic food (say, your household pesticide) and give them the ability to adapt to a multitude of different diets in different environments.

They also have killer immune systems able to withstand pathogens they might pick up from the rotting food they eat and the filth they like to live in. They have many more genes related to immunity compared to other insects.

The genome analysis might give us more than just a newfound respect for this revolting pest. The researchers hope to find a way to harness this new knowledge of cockroach immunity to control vermin populations—and create an eradication method slightly more effective than just stomping on them.

[h/t Inside Science]


More from mental floss studios