Friday 20 September 2019

Zoo honours ‘obscure and mysterious’ wildlife in festive light display

Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without a tardigrade, would it?

A tardigrade swimming in water (dottedhippo/Getty)
A tardigrade swimming in water (dottedhippo/Getty)

By Alistair Mason, Press Association

A sea cucumber and a blobfish might not be the embodiment of festive cheer, but that hasn’t stopped an American zoo from featuring them in its Christmas light display.

Oregon Zoo’s annual ZooLights display includes plenty of fairy lights and shooting stars, as well as appropriately wintry animals like penguins.

But nestled away amid the more conventional items are a few you might not expect, all designed in-house by “ZooLights artisans”.

The zoo highlighted a few of the more unusual stars of the lightshow in a Twitter thread.

Tardigrade

The tardigrade, also known as a water bear, is a microscopic, eight-legged animal which is around 0.5mm when fully grown.

MacFarland’s chromodorid

This sea slug is seldom featured in Christmas displays, despite its colourful exterior.

Blobfish

The notoriously ugly blobfish at last gets the starring role in Oregon Zoo’s Christmas display.

Scotoplanes

It’s a deep-sea sea cucumber of course – what could possibly be more festive?

Axlotl

What more could you ask for at the most wonderful time of the year than a bright and shining axlotl?

Caecilian

And finally, as green as a Christmas tree, it’s the caecilian.

Merry Christmas!

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