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Top 10 Weirdest Animal Stories of 2015 - Editors’ Picks
By Christine Dell'Amore,
National Geographic News, 14 December 2015.

From real-life sea monsters to vampire crabs, 2015 was legendary for odd science.

For our biggest fans of the bizarre, we've selected the year's weirdest animal stories, which you can explore in this gallery. (See the weirdest animal stories of 2014.)

Number ten on our list is Geosesarma dennerle and Geosesarma hagen, two new species of vampire crab found on the Indonesian island of Java (map).

So named because of their glowing yellow eyes, vampire crabs have become popular pets, but the origin of some of these spooky-looking crustaceans had previously been cloaked in mystery, according to a March study. (Also see "Pictures: New Purple Crab Species Found.")

Read on for more of Mother Nature's odd phenomena.

10. New Vampire Crabs


A newfound species of vampire crab, Geosesarma dennerle, is an aquarium pet. In March, researchers announced they'd traced the freshwater crab, as well as a related species, back to its wild source in Southeast Asia.

9. Snake Escapes Snake


A snake remarkably escaped from a larger snake that swallowed it whole on the Greek island of Corfu, revealed by photographs published in January but taken in 2011. Such a getaway is rare - herpetologist Andrew Gray knows of only one other example.

8. Real-Life "Sea Monster"


A mysterious deep-sea creature called an oarfish washed ashore on Catalina Island, California, on June 1. Although oarfish were likely the source of many historic tales of sea serpents and monsters, they are not dangerous to people.

7. Dancing Peacock Spiders


In March, scientists identified three new species of peacock spiders in eastern Australia, two of which got amusing nicknames of Skeletorus and Sparklemuffin (pictured). Peacock spider males are known for their bright colours and a rolling-shaking mating dance.

6. Lizard Grows a Third Tail


Spotted in June in Kosovo, this blue-throated keeled lizard has three tails, likely a glitch in its regeneration process. The freak individual, besides being a first in the species, is among only a handful of triple-tailed lizards recorded worldwide.

5. Rare Moonfish Sighting


A photographer got a lucky shot of an opah, or moonfish, off southern California in 2014, we reported in February. The manhole-size fish is little known and rarely seen, though more have been mysteriously appearing recently in California, experts say.

4. "Kermit" Frog Found


A new species of see-through glass frog found in Costa Rica looks just like Kermit, scientists announced in February. Dubbed Diane's Bare-hearted glass frog, the amphibian has an insect-like whistle, which may be why it went unnoticed for so long.

3. "Corpse Bride" Lizard


A scientist stumbled upon a male black-and-white tegu trying to mate with a dead female in Brazil, we reported in February. Necrophilia occurs in other lizard species, but it's the first recorded instance in this common South American lizard.

2. Sea Bunnies


No, this isn't a tiny ocean-dwelling rabbit. The creature that elicited "awwws" on the Internet in July is a type of sea slug called Jorunna parva. Less than an inch (2.5 centimeters) long, they live in the Indo-Pacific Ocean.

1. "Teddy Bear" Rediscovered


For more than 20 years, the Ili pika, a type of tiny, mountain-dwelling mammal with a teddy bear face, had eluded scientists in China's Tianshan Mountains. In 2014 a team rediscovered the unbelievably cute critter, we reported in March.

Photo gallery by Yodith Dammlash.

[Source: National Geographic News. Edited.]

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