Stickiest Situation

The first rain after a long, hot dry season pours down on the Australian grasslands. It soaks into the ground. Within minutes, the mud starts to move. Insects hatch and erupt out of the wet ground and scatter looking for food. A Ping-Pong-ball-shaped frog wakes from a long sleep and digs her way to the surface. The crucifix frog’s cross-shaped pattern on her body makes her stand out. To blood-eating flies, she looks like an easy meal. It doesn’t take long for them to attack her.

Luckily for the crucifix frog, she has an interesting adaptation that turns this sticky situation into a meal. She releases goo from her skin. The goo is like super glue and hardens in seconds. Every single insect on her body is now stuck fast. Eventually, she will shed her skin. When she does, she’ll gobble it upglue, insects, and all.

Deadliest Drool

A yellow ribbon flicks in the air of a lush Indonesian forest. It is a forked tongue attached to the drooling mouth of a 3-meter- (10-foot-) long lizard. It’s a Komodo dragon.

A Komodo dragon’s drool is nothing to trifle with. It’s chock-full of bacteria that can easily kill.

Komodos have developed some pretty extreme adaptations for hunting. A Komodo dragon’s tongue helps it taste the air and find prey. Its strong and jagged teeth can tear through larger animals like deer and water buffalo. But it’s the drool, oozing over the tongue and teeth of the dragon’s mouth, that is its secret weapon.

The lizard senses a deer nearby. It launches itself at the deer and bites it. The deer leaps off into the forest. It won’t get far. Though the deer was only bitten once, it will not survive. The teeth are not the most dangerous part of a Komodo dragon. The drool is what really kills.

Komodo dragon mouths are teeming with deadly bacteria. Rotten meat trapped between the teeth of the lizard feeds more than 50 bacterial strains. At least seven of the varieties of bacteria are deadly to most animals!

Komodos also have venom in their saliva. It prevents blood from clotting, which means bite wounds won’t heal. So, a single Komodo bite delivers a deadly soup of poisonous spittle into a wound that won’t heal. The Komodo will wait for the deer to die. Then it will eat.

Speediest Sucker

A worm wiggles over a coral reef. A passing fish breezes up to swallow it and WOOMP! The fish is gone. In one-sixth of a secondfaster than the blink of an eyethe fish is sucked into the gaping mouth of a frogfish.


Frogfish have a triple-edged approach to hunting. First, they are masters of disguise. Some look like rocks or sponges. Others look like clumps of seaweed. They blend in so well they are simply unseen by passing fish.

Second, frogfish have built-in fishing poles. Stretching out from a fin on their backs is a long spine. It reaches up and over the head with a lure at the end. To prey, the lure can look like a worm, a fly, or a floating insect. Frogfish hide in plain sight with their mouths open. They wiggle the lures and draw unsuspecting fish.

Third, frogfish can really suck. When prey is close, frogfish strike. Their bodies balloon up to 12 times their normal volume. This creates pressure that sucks prey in like a vacuum cleaner. It happens so fast that a single fish can be sucked out of a school without the other fish noticing. 

Stand back from the frogfish! Its vacuum-like mouth can suck in prey faster than you can blink.