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Science2 - 00099

Science2 - 00099 - Untitled minute after it escapes from...

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Untitled minute after it escapes from the egg. Very beautiful is the way in which many birds, like our common chaffinch, disguise the outside of their nest with moss and lichen and other trifles felted together, so that the cradle is as inconspicuous as possible. There seems to be a touch of art in fastening pieces of spider's web on the outside of a nest! How curious is the case of the tree-sloth of South American forests, that walks slowly, back downwards, along the undersides of the branches, hanging on by its long, curved fingers and toes. It is a nocturnal animal, and therefore not in special danger, but when resting during the day it is almost invisible because its shaggy hair is so like certain lichens and other growths on the branches. But the protective resemblance is enhanced by the presence of a green alga, which actually lives on the surface of the sloth's hairs--an alga like the one that makes tree-stems and gate-posts green in damp weather.
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