Ugly animal preservation

From the New Scientist (on-line 6/24/13, in print 6/22/13 with a different headline), “Forget pandas – ugly animals should be protected too” by Tiffany O’Callaghan”:

It’s time the gob-faced squid and taildropper slug got the attention they deserve, argues Simon Watt, creator of the Ugly Animal Preservation Society [a comedy night touring in the UK]

[Watt] In London [the mascot is] the proboscis monkey. In Edinburgh, the branch’s mascot is now the gob-faced squid… Its real name is Promachoteuthis sulcus. Until very recently it didn’t have a common name. We unofficially named it and it caught on. It looks like it has a human mouth in the middle of its body. It’s really creepy, freaky and a bit lopsided.

… [For a favourite ugly animal,] I champion the Canadian blue-grey taildropper slug. It’s the colour of a Smurf, and if you scare it, its bum drops off. That’s its survival tactic.

The three animals Watt names are in fact threatened or endangered. Taking them in turn:

The proboscis monkey (Nasalis larvatus) or long-nosed monkey, known as the bekantan in Malay, is a reddish-brown arboreal Old World monkey that is endemic to the south-east Asian island of Borneo. (Wikipedia link)


Promachoteuthis sulcus is a species of promachoteuthid squid. It is distinguished from related taxa on the basis of several morphological features: nuchal fusion between the head and mantle, much larger size of arm suckers compared to club suckers, greater width of tentacle base than arm base, a recessed club base, and the presence of an aboral tentacle groove. (Wikipedia link)


Prophysaon, common name taildropper slugs, is a genus of air-breathing land slugs, terrestrial pulmonate gastropod mollusks in the family Arionidae, the roundback slugs.

These slugs can self-amputate (autotomy) a portion of their tail.

… This genus of slugs occurs in North America, including California and Oregon.

(Autotomy is a wonderful word.)

The blue-grey taildropper slug is Prophysaon coeruleum:


Taildropper slugs come in several colors, mostly shades of brown. But then there’s this rare blue beauty.

Elsewhere on the web, there are several sites featuring ugly animals, but this one specializes in ugly animals in need of protection, and it uses humor to gain public attention.

In contrast, here’s the list of “13 of the ugliest animals on the planet: The ugly stick of evolution” on Mother Nature Network:

California condor, blobfish, naked mole rat, proboscis monkey, warthog, star-nosed mole, aye-aye, monkfish, marabou stork, elephant seal, horseshoe bat, red-lipped batfish, hyena

The California condor went exinct in the wild in 1987, was later reintroduced from captive breeding, and is still a very rare bird;  the proboscis monkey is endangered on Borneo; but I think that the others on this list are holding their own.


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