Friday, April 14, 2006

Everest Expedition

Uncovers Exotic Species

Mount Everest and the Himalaya mountain range conjure images of yaks and Sherpas loaded with heavy packs. But tucked into the cold shadows of the world's tallest mountain are biologically diverse hotspots filled with poorly known plants and animals found nowhere else on the globe.

Look at the size of that Yak Killer!! The giant Asian hornet (Vespa mandarinia) has earned the nickname “yak killer” from local villagers. At nearly 2 inches long, they’re the world’s largest hornets. Victims describe their quarter-inch-long stingers as feeling like a hot nail. The stinger delivers a lethal venom that dissolves human tissue, and, as the name implies, can kill a yak. Click to enlarge

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