Atlas Moth – Master of Deception

atlasLooking at the above picture, you might see a moth with a unique wing pattern. You may not see the cobra heads on each side, at the tips, and you may not notice how much they look like the poisonous snake. You may have missed all that and just seen a moth. But, now you should be able to see the design.

Many people see that design and say God designed it like that to ward off predators. Others would look at it and say that the moth evolved that pattern because he had seen a predator back away from a cobra. You could say his story went something like this:

How the Atlas moth got its cobra heads

Not by Rudyard Kipling

One day, a long time ago, the plain moth was flying along when he saw a cobra. The cobra was up and fighting against a lion. Whenever the cobra rose up and flattened his hood, the lion would move back. The plain moth, seeing this, said, “I will be like the cobra.”

So, he hired a famous caterpillar painter and asked him to paint cobra heads on the tips of his wings. The caterpillar did an amazing job and the moth was very pleased, although he couldn’t even see the heads. He figured he would be safe now.

Sure enough, the wings scared off predators and the plain moth, now called an Atlas moth, had children and they all had the same cobra heads. And that is how the Atlas moth got his cobra heads.

Pretty ridiculous, right? Well, unless evolutionists can account for a moth seeing a cobra, knowing the defense would help him and then getting the defense without being able to even see if he had done it right . . . that is the only real way they could say it happened (although they’d never admit it). No, the Atlas moth shows me that there must be a Creator God. How else could the moth have gotten the cobra heads? That is stretching “blind” chance to its limits.

Bigger and Warmer

sealNote: In our Animal Defense series, we have looked at how animals defend themselves from other predators. This time, though, I want to highlight how God made animals with the ability to protect themselves from non-living forces.

During the Ice Age, millions of creatures had to survive temperatures that would make our winters feel like a day in the beach (it is called the “Ice Age” for a reason). But, even in this, animals had to survive.

In order to survive, these animals had to have a built in defense that went past fur and blubber. They needed size. Believe it or not, big size is one of the biggest advantages to any animal living in frigid temperatures. Why?

Imagine a cube of ice. You place it out in the one-hundred degree yard and go back in the house. You then come out with a block of ice two feet thick and two feet wide. You place this piece of ice outside as well. Now, which piece melts first?

Without knowing from experience, one might, just might say the big piece melts because it is bigger, therefore it is exposed to more heat. However, experience shows us that the little piece will melt first. Why?

Because the smaller piece had little volume (the amount of room the ice cube takes up), it was exposed to more heat by ratio. For example, you could say, for every 1 of surface area exposed, the cube had 1 of volume. This, although not figured to scale, equals out to the piece having equal amount of surface area and volume, thus making it melt fast.

But, when you get to the big cube, we see something different. For, hypothetically, every 1 of surface area we have 5 of volume. So, when the surface area is exposed, more of the ice is kept safe from harm. When that 1 melts, there are 4 behind it, whereas the little piece melted the volume away right away.

So, how does this transfer over to animals?

During the Ice Age, many of the animals were quite large or, at least, quite stocky. This extra volume outweighed (literally and figuratively) the amount of surface area and made the animal more resistant to the cold.

For example, a house cat would freeze long before a mammoth would all because of the volume to surface area ratio.

Although often overlooked as a defense mechanism, mammoth proportions equals better when your foe is the cold!

The Adam Newt

adam_newtIn Genesis, we read that Adam lost one of his ribs so God could make Eve. Although many arguments can be raged about this one fact remains: Adam lost a rib and gained a wife. Quite a worthy swap no matter what some people think. Actually, I can’t resist so I’ll share a very funny joke I heard awhile back from Ray Comfort, “where would we be without women . . . still in the Garden of Eden!”

Anyway, in the case of the Iberian ribbed newt he shows his ribs and he saves his life. Nothing swapped but a life saved. How does he do it?

When the Iberian ribbed newt (or the Adam newt as I like to call him) is threatened by a predator he uses his ribs as a defense mechanism. In order to do this he must have, aligned with his ribs, things called tubercles. In the case of this newt, these tubercles are warts.

When the newt needs to send out his ribs he actually rotates them all so they are facing forward. How he does this has scientists completely speechless but why he does it makes perfect sense. If his ribs are in the position they normally are then they would protrude from the skin upside down and not be worth much against a predator.

However, if the ribs are pointing the other way they can come out of the tubercles, pierce the predator and harm or kill them with a poisonous liquid they squeeze out of their bodies.

Another thing that has scientists’ jaws dropping is that the newt has to puncture and heal his skin back each and every time he defends himself with his ribs. It has also been noted that the newt must be immune to his own poison as the poison could easily get into the bloodstream as soon as the newt used his ribs.

The overall defense mechanisms of this creature have scientists in complete awe. A animal immune to its own deadly poison, can rotate its ribs, pierce them through his skin, retract them and have the skin re-heal in no time. Amazing! Simply amazing!

Stunning Animal Defenses

Horned_lizard_032507_kdhI really do love how some animals defend themselves. There are obvious animals one would think of when approached with the subject of animal defenses. Some of these obvious ones include skunks, porcupines, poisonous snakes, etc. Those famous creatures that we all know about . . . but what about some of the other amazing animals that have some great ways of defending themselves?

Following are the top five creatures that defend themselves by using some sort of liquid or spraying action. Be ready to be blown away, in more way than one.

Number 5: Sea Cucumber

A sea cucumber is, whether or not the name says so, a marine animal that is somewhat like an eel. When threatened, this creature turns his insides into his outsides by squirting out his very sticky intestines at an enemy.

The intestines entangle the enemy long enough for the sea cucumber to get away and grow back the supplies within six weeks.

Number 4: Spitting Cobra

Even though it would seem no animal would want to mess with a cobra, many do. In order to combat this, a certain species of cobra has been designed with an amazing defense mechanism that can ward off or blind predators.

When threatened, a spitting cobra will rise up its head and spread out its neck in the popular “cobra hood”. If that does not scare off the predator, this cobra will contract muscles in his mouth and shoot out venom at high-speed and distances covering up to six feet. If poison gets in the eye, and without medical treatment, the predator will go blind, permanently.

Number 3: Bombardier Beetle

On many shows, a scientific laboratory is a place filled with bottles of chemicals that, if mixed together, explode. Although the laboratory view of it may be fictionalized, the effects of two unstable chemicals combining can be disastrous, as can be seen in the bombardier beetle.

When threatened, the bombardier beetle will bend its abdomen under its body, aim and squeeze. The squeezing sends out separate chemicals stored in two different glands in the beetle’s abdomen. When combined these chemicals explode and form a horrible concoction that can be fatal for predatory insects and painful to humans.

Number 2: Carpenter Ant

American history has been marked with the deaths of heroic soldiers in order to secure our freedom. For the ant kingdom, a few special ants can make those same sacrifices in order to secure their colony’s very existence.

When a carpenter ant’s colony is threatened by a particularly nasty predator, a few may go out and commit suicide for the sake of their colony. How (and why) do they do it?

On the carpenter ant’s body are two lines of glands filled with a glue-like substance. When the time for heroic sacrifice is needed, the ant will blow itself up and the substance will be sprayed all over their enemies. This explosion is caused by simply contracting muscles surrounding the gland and rupturing the skin. A heroic act that saves the colony . . . this time.

Number 1: Horned Lizard

Now we come to the number 1 spot. Here we have the horned lizard. Although the horned lizard has an excellent defense on his skeleton (multiple spikes), that will not always protect him. So, in order to protect himself efficiently, he must give some of his life-giving blood away.

When close to an enemy that is threatening him, the horned lizard will restrict blood flowing away from the head. This creates some massive blood pressure and the blood exits through blood vessels right by the eyes. This blood can fly almost five feet, tastes extremely bad to canine and feline predators and confuses predators.

Although all these creatures were designed with some amazing defenses, the horned lizard takes the prize for “Best Liquid Sprayer”. I mean, can you shoot blood out of your eyes?