(The following is excerpted from the post “10 Beautiful Things Created By Animals” that originally appeared in its entirety on buzzfeed.com, September 2012.)
Very small creatures are sometimes responsible for works of great beauty …
Puffer Fish Circle
Seasoned underwater photographer Yoji Ookata recently discovered something strange 80 feet below sea level off the coast of Japan: a geometric pattern roughly six and a half feet in diameter. No, aliens aren’t landing underwater. Ookata discovered a tiny puffer fish laboring day and night to make the darn thing. Why? To attract females, who apparently have a thing for wandering giant, gorgeous sand labyrinths before mating. Conveniently, the structure also protects any eggs laid.
Typical caddisfly larvae build themselves protective pouches of silk adorned with river sediment: pebbles, twigs, and sand. Hubert Duprat’s caddisfly larvae have more lavish tastes. Duprat provides them with gold flakes and jewels, including pearls, turquoise, rubies, and sapphires. When the larvae become full-fledged caddisflies, Duprat turns their abandoned tubes into wearable art.
In 2010, flooding in Pakinstan forced millions of spiders and silk-producing insects to seek refuge in trees, yielding the web-laden branches pictured above. A similar phenomenon was observed in Wagga Wagga, Australia in 2012.
Bowerbirds build elaborate structures (called bowers, unsurprisingly) to attract mates. The bower depicted above was created by an avenue-type bowerbird. It consists of upright sticks that create the “avenue,” and is surrounded by brightly-colored objects. Lady bowerbirds apparently like guys with a sense of design.